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Adventures of a vegie amateur

  • 05 April 2011

I have a special pair of gardening trousers. They are so old that they don't have belt loops, so I have to use galluses for the sake of the neighbours.

I tie these in the cross-over style like the dragoons. By right there should be two buttons at the back and two on each side at the front, but if you had all of those and you used them all, the effect would lack character. As it happens, I am missing a few buttons and I always leave one free; the effect is a mixture of rakish and medieval, with a dominance of the latter.

When I put on the trousers, I am required to put newspaper on the ground to catch the material that lodges in the turn-ups. This material is called loam and is supposed to be good for potting on — I hope you are impressed by my familiarity with these technical terms, even if I am not sure about them myself.

Thus duly dressed, I go out to the garden and spit on my hands. You never see the people on television gardening programs spitting on their hands, which is a dead giveaway that they are picked solely for their good looks or quaint accents.

Next I have to find my gardening shoes, which may be under the house or in the shed or maybe in the garage. All these places are locked at night, a sad sign of our suspicious society, but in our case also a precaution lest the shoes walk out on their own.

One of them is missing a lace and I keep promising myself I will buy a pair the next time I am in the gardening centre, but they hide them away somewhere and because I am a man, I couldn't possibly ask where.

Thus shoed and trousered, I find the garden fork and stand in the vegetable plot. I spit on my hands again and look around me. We grow quite a few vegetables but my favourites are rhubarb and broad beans because you can see those over the weeds. At this time of the year, however, it is 520 for 2 in favour of the weeds. And I doubt if the beans will take any more wickets this season.

I hate weeds. I understand that they are part of God's creation and so I should not hate them. But my back is unrepentant. They are