Brer Z

Oh, it’s so sweet, the way people overestimate me. You know the way I assume, of appearing slightly daffy but giving the impression there are hidden depths? In fact, what’s there is almost all shallows. I tell you that honestly, but I am sure that a few of you think that I’m still hiding a Mariana Trench in there somewhere, because that’s the impression I can, on occasion, give.

Anyway, I went to a meeting this evening at the school, where I am frankly a spare part. I’m happy to go, because I simply sit and listen and marvel at how bloody good everyone else is. It’s an impressive committee, and I’m the token non-participant. I spoke twice in an hour and a half, once to make a pertinent point (my only chance) and once to make a sarcastic, but entirely sound, observation about the Local Authority. We’re rather a long way from Ipswich and mere lip-service is paid, in the form of occasional sucking-up, to the fact we’re very effective. Pity they keep forgetting to mention what we do in letters, conferences, and on their website.

At the end, when confirming the date of the next meeting, a chairman was looked around for. We take it in turns. It was adjudged to be my turn. “Fine,” I said, ” but you know I know nothing. I’ll just refer each agenda item to the person who does.” And this will be fine, it’ll work – we’ve got three headteachers there for a start, we hardly need calling to order. Anyway, ahem, I could do that.

But ‘my’ headmaster said, earnestly, that I mustn’t keep underestimating myself, that I know more than I give myself credit for. So I told him what I said to you at the top of the page. He quite got it, and told me a tale about a chairman of governors at a school where he was a mere Senior Teacher (no, really, he’s awfully good, I’d not have given him the job otherwise), who bumbled a bit but turned out to be mustard (well, it was a Norfolk school) when put to the test. I mentioned that he was doing it again, and to lower his thoughts. I like to keep something in reserve, but for no-one to be sure what that is, in the hope that they believe that it’s more than it is. But I don’t disguise that.

I’m off to London tomorrow, on the 8 o’clock train, for a highly dutiful meeting. Home again on the 4 o’clock, so that I can be at the next meeting at 7. No time to see anyone, therefore. Sorry, darlings. Next time.

Ooh, news on the garden – I’ve planted 9 cucumber plants in the greenhouse. First, I barrowed quantities of cow muck for them to grow in. Splendid stuff, well-rotted cow manure. Full of worms.

4 comments on “Brer Z

  1. Z

    Not that much – we get a load and keep it for a year and then it lasts two – but I daresay we could manage a bucketful or two for your prize marrows.

  2. Z

    Are you growing indoor ones or the outdoor ridge sort? The latter are no bother at all, plant and enjoy – though the stem mustn’t stand in water so I plant on a little mound.

    The indoor ones are a little more effort at the start. They can be growing away nicely and then suddenly collapse at root level and it may be for no apparent reason. The best precaution is not to plant them out deeper than the soil level in the pot – if they put out more roots from the stem you can cover those, but make sure there’s never any water standing around the stem. But one will sometimes just go and there’s nothing you can do.

    If they’re all-female then just pinch out tips as the packet instructs (I rarely bother and let them grow rampant but I’ve plenty of room) but don’t start pruning too early in case it discourages them.
    If it’s a variety with male flowers these must be removed before they fertilise the female or the cucumber is bitter.
    Outdoor ridge cucumbers don’t need the male flowers removed, however.

    Whatever variety, pick the first few fruits when they’re small as otherwise they hang about for ages not growing much and take all the energy, and fruit production, from the plant. I’ve tried picking off the first few baby cucumbers to encourage the plant to grow big, but it seemed to discourage it from growing more for a long time!


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