Category: A musing: odd thoughts

dandelion‘The massacre of dandelions is a peculiarly satisfying occupation, a harmless and comforting outlet for the destructive element in our natures. It should be available as a safety valve for everybody. Last May, when the dandelions were at theri height, we were visited by a friend whose father had just died; she was discordant and hurt, and life to her was unrhythmic. With visible release she dashed inot the orchard to slash at the dandelions; as she destroyed them her discords were resolved. After two days of weed slaughtering her face was calm. The garden had healed her.’

Clare Leighton 1935


double-digging-hero‘There is great healing power in digging. This is so much the case that one is tempted to wonder if any actual electrical power comes up to one from the earth. Perhaps the benefit is merely from the rhythmic movements of the body. At any rate, however sulking and rebellious one may be at the start, sesitiveness creeps up the fork into hands and body and legs. Finally the brain surrenders and one is again at peace with the garden.’

Clare Leighton 1935

“Dear Sir,
I haven’t got a computer, but I was told about Facebook and Twitter and am trying to make friends outside Facebook and Twitter while applying the same principles.

Every day, I walk down the street and tell passers-by what I have eaten, how I feel, what I have done the night before and what I will do for the rest of the day. I give them pictures of my wife, my daughter, my dog and me gardening and on holiday, spending time by the pool.

I also listen to their conversations, tell them I ‘like’ them and give them my opinion on every subject that interests me…whether it interests them or not.

And it works. I already have four people following me; two police officers, a social worker and a psychiatrist.”
Peter White,

Originally published in Readers’ letters, ‘The Oldie’, August 2015


‘The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in the way… As a man is, so he sees.’

William Blake

amazon‘A wind sways the pines,

                And below

Not a breath of wild air:

Still as the mosses that glow

On the flooring and under the lines

Of the roots here and there.

The pine-tree drops its dead;

They are quiet as under the sea.

Overhead, overhead

Rushes life in a race,

As the clouds the clouds chase;

                And we go,

And we drop like the fruits of the tree,

        Even we,

        Even so.’

George Meredith


utopia 40k on eastern electricity building norwich by rory macbeth and students of school of art and design 2006The 40,000 words of Thomas More’s ‘Utopia’ painted onto the sides of a redundant Electricity building in Norwich by Rory McBeth and students of Norwich School of Art and Design (2006).

Old School Gardener

Old School Gardener

norwich 2035

This wonderful illustration and story titled ‘Norwich AD 2035 (A Prophetic Fantasy)’ written and illustrated by Mr W. T. Watling, an art master at the City of Norwich school has been unearthed by Norfolk Record Office.

The text describes a man taking a drug and finding himself transported to Norwich 100 years in the future! If you look closely, you can spot some notable Norwich landmarks in the futuristic landscape. The story was first published in ‘The Norwich Annual’ in 1935.

Old Schoool Gardener

dramm-garden-hose‘To a gardener there is nothing more exasperating than a hose that isn’t long enough.’

Cecil Roberts

Do you agree? What is the biggest pain in YOUR garden?

Old School Gardener

Just thinking about a new phase in my life...
Just thinking about a new phase in my life…

No, you didn’t misread the title, and no it isn’t a spelling mistake! I find myself ‘celebrating’ my 60th year today, and with a ‘pension event’ happening linked to some of my earlier working life, it has given me pause for thought.

Over the last 12 years  I’ve been self-employed. As the years have wound round and some employed friends have entered that state of ‘early retirement’, I’ve been ranting against the usual view of ‘retirement’, or perhaps that should read MY expectations of what that word brings. I have the slippers, a new TV, comfortable chairs, sound and nicely located house and good sized garden. I’m reasonably healthy, have an income to get by, a loving wife (herself ending full time employment in a few months) and a cat that is talkative to the point of being annoying (almost like having small children around once more).

I’m also, as you might have noticed, into gardening, so I have something to keep me busy during the day (along with household chores, the odd trip out etc.) It could be easy to just let life happen to me and for the days to be pleasant, much the same (but with a bit of variety due to weather etc.) and little to bother me (though I do find I’m getting more frequent attacks of intolerance against various aspects of ‘the world today’, but am thankfully not yet a Daily Mail reader).

Over the past year as 60 approached, I’ve started to form an idea of what I want this new phase of my life to be. And I suppose that’s the most significant part of this reflection- I’m thinking of a new phase of my life, one which is active (health permitting), inspiring, interesting and involves continuing to contribute to life outside my own four walls (both of house and garden).

In short refiring rather than retiring.

Today I begin a part of this new phase, helping the first of three groups of students at a local High School to grow food.

I hope this post hasn’t been too self indulgent. 

Old School Gardener

P.S. I’ll tell you more of my new school gardening experiences in the coming months.

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