Where there’s muck there’s Z

It’ll be something new tomorrow.  I’ve often been part of an interviewing panel, but next week, for the first time, I’ll be observing applicants teach before the interviews.  They always do take a class and are observed as part of the process, it’s just that I haven’t been involved before.  It will make for a busy week as, if I’m doing it with one, I’ll have to do it with all, but it’s all more fun than housework, hey.

I nearly sowed seeds in the greenhouse today.  The Sage said he’d bought some compost last week so I went and opened a bag – and it didn’t look as I’d expected it to look.  He’d bought manure instead.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to, we buy that from the farm not in bags, but I haven’t been able to ask him because he’s been out visiting various friends and clients all day and on the phone all evening, so we’ve hardly had an opportunity to speak to each other.  And in the short half hour we were having dinner and did, a bag of muck wasn’t the most interesting subject matter.  Well, that is, I think it’s quite reasonably interesting if you’re discussing the finer points of manure, but simply a query whether its purchase was intentional is not so much.

When I was a child and we had a full-time gardener who took his job very seriously, the matter of manure was certainly important.  I remember very little about it, just that different flowers and vegetables did better with different animals’ ordure.  Sheep droppings used to be steeped in water, the liquid diluted and used to feed/water begonias, that I do remember.

My parents and their gardener were very keen on horticultural shows and competed at local level and at the Norfolk and Suffolk shows.  My father’s name was on any trophies won, with the gardener, Mr Weavers, being given the prize money and his name mentioned on the card.  It took endless hours to make preparations and we were only allowed the most misshapen vegetables in the week before the show.  It was not unusual for a whole row of potatoes to be dug up to find six perfectly matched ones.  That they matched was quite as important as them being perfect specimens.  As for flowers, Mr Weavers would sit for hours dipping delphinium stems in hot water then in cold to encourage the top flowers to open whilst the bottom ones were still perfect.  I remember my father holding a dinner plate in front of a begonia bloom and the flower being visible all the way round.

Somehow, I didn’t inherit the competitive impulse at all.  I’ve supported a WI Area competition a few times with jam and lemonade and so on (I was particularly pleased with 19/20 for my lemonade as it was the first time I’d ever made it) and the village competitions, making a scarecrow with Ro one year (we won with the Reverend Paul Pitt) but otherwise I’m not really interested.  I enjoy judging though – as most of you know, I’ve been asked for several years to judge the home economics classes at Denton show and I take that on very conscientiously.

I turn ‘judge not lest ye be judged’ on its head, rather.

8 comments on “Where there’s muck there’s Z

  1. Pat

    The only thing I remember judging was a ‘bonny baby’ competition – not to be recommended; you make one friend for life and 50 or so enemies.

  2. Z

    Oh blimey. Yes, fair point, Tim. Slightly worryingly, I’m seen, between me and the Sage, as the clear and concise one. He reduces people to complete bewilderment when he tries to explain anything.

    Whatever possessed you to agree to that, Pat? Even I’m not that daft!

  3. Roses

    I keep looking at my garden longingly….but it’s a bit further down my To Do List and will take some getting to.

    Yeah, men do that. Go off to the shops and bring back something completely different and un-asked for. Boy does that regularly.

    I’ve learnt to bite my tongue and be grateful he went without grumbling.

  4. Z

    I see what you did there, Chris!

    Only if you like the smell of pig muck, John. Cow is fine and horse is positively delightful.

    Well, apparently he stopped to ask directions and felt he should buy something. I hadn’t actually asked him but was quite pleased by the initiative. And it’s the thought that counts. Except when I ask him to buy onions and he comes back with a bunch of spring onions, that’s pretty useless.


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