Nature, the ultimate accessory

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I don’t even need to wait for Monday to do this, this is ongoing.

I was weeding the garden today – hard as a bone – when I heard someone say ‘excuse me?’ Often I’ll have a chat with the neighbours whose garden is next to mine, but the other side has a gap, a big fence and then flats. Although I see the various occupants sometimes, we’ve never talked. Anyway, a head was poking over the top of this big fence. I turned around and the guy chuckled smugly at my sweaty self, which I didn’t like.

‘Hello,’ he said, still smug, ‘do you pick your apples?’

Now our apple tree has many bright red apples on it, but most can’t be reached and those that can aren’t that nice and often have maggots. So we pick what we need and let the rest fall. I figure they serve as food for the birds and insects, and since they’re more endangered than me, I feel good about it. Occasionally visitors get uppity about it, ‘Don’t let them just fall! Why don’t you bake a pie?’ they say. But when I suggest they go collect some, they last about three minutes before giving up, complaining about inaccessibility and maggots.

‘Sometimes,’ I say.

‘Do you eat them yourself then?’ he asked, and I could hear the lecture about wasted apples desperate to get out of him. I’m aware I sound unreasonable, but he was oozing smug.

‘Sometimes,’ I said, ‘but they have a lot of maggots.’

‘Ah. Perhaps I could try some?’

‘Ok,’ I said, found a maggotless one, picked it and climbed the fence to hand it over.

‘Thanks!’ he said, with a cheeky grin. ‘I thought I should ask before just taking one.’

‘How would you take one?’ I asked looking at the high fence and the metre gap and my fence, he wouldn’t be able to reach.

‘Well, I’d climb over the fences!’ he said proudly.

‘Yeah, I’d rather you didn’t break into my garden,’ I replied, trying to not get too indignant.

‘Hmm, yes, I thought I should ask, so you didn’t turn round and see me right behind you!’ he said chirpily, as if he was doing me a favour and wasn’t acting creepy. ‘It’s good to eat things from the garden, isn’t it?’ he said. ‘More natural.’ Again, smugness abounded. Because, yes obviously it is, so saying it with a patronising tilt of the head isn’t necessary. I was making assumptions, but he struck me like the kind who’s never grown anything, but buys all his fruit and veg at the farmer’s market and thinks that makes him an expert on nature. The kind who believes because he’s watched Bear Grylls he’s a survivalist. In gardening I’ve met a few of these types, they like to stand about lecturing me while I’m working. A Nature Poseur.

Anyway, I went inside and told Hamoudi about it.

‘Oh,’ he said, ‘is he the one with the sword?’

‘Er what?’ I said.

‘The white guy who poses in the garden with the sword? He stands on his own doing stances.’ Hamoudi did a couple of sample man-with-sword poses.

‘I’ll bet that’s him!’ I said. Hamoudi showed me the garden he poses in, and since there aren’t many white guys in the neighbourhood, I’m thinking that yes! He’s the guy that poses with the fucking sword. Like I said, a survivalist!

 

Zombies again? Or something new?

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Found some writing on the pavement near where I live, written in (I hope) paint.

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Was wondering if this could tie into the zombie response vehicle and bone I came across a while ago. Is there something dangerous lurking out here on the edge of London? I tend to walk around listening to music, so if I need to hear them to find them, I’m probably missing them altogether. On the other hand, I’m not being fooled by the fake sounds.

Word of the day: Secretary – one who is privy to a secret

Health and safety concern: eating

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I’m concerned that my inspirational quote generator may be a little sexist.

At work today, Mateo had sushi for lunch and left his chopsticks on the table in our new smoking area. Mike picked them up and began to play.

‘I’ve never used these before, is it difficult?’ he said, holding them like drumsticks and trying to pick up a small stone.

‘Well it is if you hold them like that,’ explained Jessica. Then she spent a patient half hour trying to show him how to hold them. He would get it, and shriek excitedly as the stone lifted, but within a few moments he seemed to lose the knack and would wail ‘My thumb keeps getting in the way! Why is my thumb in the way? Your thumb doesn’t get in the way!’ and then Jessica would start again.

The afternoon went as normal, I’m still hedgecutting. Trying, as we all do, to sneak a few topiaried animals into the more random, natural shapes that they want us to create.

When I got back to the yard, Mike was shoving one of our eleven-hundred litre industrial bins over lumpy concrete towards his van to empty the rubbish.

‘How ya doing?’ I asked. He gave me a tormented look and stopped shoving to hold up his hand.

‘I’ve got chopstick-finger!’ he wailed.

‘What?’ I asked as he waggled a digit in my face.

‘Chopstick finger! It hurts! From using it so much over lunch. I’m not doing that again. It’s dangerous!’

Mimics

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When I walked in this morning, Mateo was holding this little guy, still wriggling in his fingers. I thought it was a wasp, but he insisted, no, it’s  fly pretending to be a wasp. He let the poor thing go eventually.

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Accidentally snapped a flowering gladiolus today. I didn’t have anywhere to throw it away to and my hands were full of curb key and hose, so I stuck the flower in my pocket.

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This gave me an eighties flashback to Morrissey (for anyone who won’t know about this, which may be most people, here’s a pic)

And I had to wail ‘You’re the one for me, fatty!’ at the sky.

This blog is just aimless rambling really.

Consider yourself at home!

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I’m not sure how long we’ve been in our new messroom now, a few weeks? I could look back, but I’m lazy. Anyway, after making a show of conforming to what the managers want (sitting inside, not messing around with the furniture etc) we have started to decorate and adapt, to bend our environment to suit what we want – after all, that’s what gardeners are good at.

I nicked a chair that was in one of the gardens, left there by a resident, and moved it inside so I don’t have to sit on one that slowly tips me off. We found two benches abandoned and put them outside in the shade. We emptied out the tin shed of bikes and unused cleaning products and turned it into a smoking room for when it’s raining. Mateo fixed a broken table and we put that between the benches. We even put a few paving slabs down, and added some plants, tinsel and an umbrella for decoration. It looks great.

The only downside is now the managers like to come and sit with us. Never more than one at a time, I don’t think they like sitting with each other.

Word of the day: labtebricole – living in holes

“Sticks and stones can break my bones and I have my Swiss Army Knife if they hit me and if I kill them it will be self defense and I won’t go to prison.”
― Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Filthy Humans

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‘I may not yet be as old as dirt, but dirt and I are starting to have an awful lot in common.’ Stephen R. Donaldso

Today I was working next to a main road today trying to reduce a hedge. The hedge was growing through the railings which meant I had to squash between plant and railing, my arm rubbing against the leaves. After a day, I looked like this.

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(note: my arms look like truly odd shapes in these photos,. I don’t think they are odd shapes, it’s just difficult to take a photo of your own arm with a phone.)

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No, that isn’t dirt exactly, it’s pollution. In central London, next to the road, the plants are covered with this. You can see it in the trees too.

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It was a good day though, every time someone walked past on the pavement, I stopped the hedgecutter and waited (for safety, mainly, but also so as not to freak people out with the noise). People passing would see this squashed gardener behind the railing, hedgecutter held aloft. I’d smile, they’d smile, and it would make me a bit happier each time.

Word of the day: Ramentum – chaffy scale on plants

 

All Seeing Eye

 

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Today Mike found a drone lying in one of the gardens at work, under an Acanthus. I’m not sure if it got out of control, flew into the garden and then the owner couldn’t get in to retrieve it (the garden is gated) or if our residents are so rich that the owner couldn’t be bothered trying to find it. And I’m not sure what they were using it for. Do people fly them for fun like they flew remote controlled planes? Or only to take photos where they shouldn’t?

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The managers in the office are trying to spread the rumour that they’re using it to spy on us. I really hope Barry doesn’t find out about this, he’ll probably assume that it’s mine and I’m watching him. If he can believe helicopters are spying on him, then being paranoid about a drone is easy.

Word of the day: Bombilate – to hum, buzz or drone

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Just to sum up what everyone has worked out about the advert since it seems that it did make some sense if you’re more knowledgeable about markets, children’s books and life than me.

Calmgrove  – the bear is Paddington who was from darkest Peru and could talk. I suspect this is an invoke sweet things trick to mask their devilish intent.

Jasper Hoogendam – Winnie the Pooh was originally from Winniepeg, hence the name. Not in the ad, but still interesting.

Colin McQueen – in rugby the Lions have a coach from New Zealand (kiwi) and the cheeky chicken refers to ‘having a cheeky Nandos’. I have no idea what either has to do with banks.

Shaily Agrawal/ – pointed out that bear is a market term for someone who takes risks. I don’t really want my bank to take risks, because that’s what caused the economic crash last time. Maybe that’s the subliminal bit, they rename recklessness as ‘open mindedness’ and then throw in the bear.

I, after a foolishly long time, worked out that being shut on bank holidays is what banks do.

So to translate

Keep an open mind because being open minded has opened doors to Paddington Bear, who’s secretly a risk-taking banker; rugby coaches from New Zealand; and a cheeky Nandos. Now is not the time to batten down the hatches, it’s time to stay open, except when we’re shut. Because we are not an island, well we are, all the surrounding water makes that clear, but people can still visit, which is nice. And the world is big, and it has bears and lions, unlike the UK which only just got bears and has no lions to speak of.