Tag Archives: Gardens

The Castle Howard Incident

18 Apr

Let me encourage you to visit Castle Howard in York. The House and the gardens are simply breathtaking. A day there is bound to remind everyone of the glory of humanity and of nature. I have no doubt that it was not the where, but the who and why which caused the incident.

Christopher and I spent a few hours there to top off our travels through Yorkshire. It’s easy to get lost in reverie within the rooms of the house.  They really knew how to use wallpaper in those days. I am envious of those who lived during a time when “the look” required using as many different patterns in decor as possible.

We wandered the natural sensuality of the Woodland Garden and the precision of the Walled Garden, and I’m sure in most circumstances, the people who pass through them cannot help but absorb the serenity and peace of the environment.

Please do not let the unfortunate incident involving a certain young man and his lackadaisical attitude to the gravity of keeping a promise stop you from enjoying what is otherwise a truly magical place.

Society is All But Rude, To This Delicious Solitude

1 Jul

Now that both of my football teams are out of the World Cup, I’m going to take a short break from sports-related posts. Before doing so, though, I would like to clarify there’s little more satisfying than seeing one Mister Cristiano Ronaldo taken down like a Saddam Hussein statue (not literally, of course, I believe he has his Nike likeness placed prominently amongst the gladioli in his front garden). First he was a winker and now he is a spitter. I’m curious why he keeps choosing offenses that make The Sun’s headline writers’ jobs so easy for them.

If like me, you’ve suddenly got a lot more time to spend doing things other than watching men run around on the telly, you may be in the market for a new hobby. Some of you may also feel a bit guilty about all the additional bile you’ve released into the atmosphere after the last match and are wondering what you can do to counteract your carbon footprint. Look no further as I have a solution for you that will not only keep you busy but will also benefit the environment, and that hobby is gardening.

Before you pooh-pooh it by assuming that only old age pensioners are interested in gardening, I would like to assure you that it’s an ideal hobby for concerned citizens of any age.  Now that I’ve proved my point, let me discuss its benefits.

Clearly the first benefit of gardening is that it gives you something to do. It keeps you active, by demanding that you use both your body and brain power. It gets you out into the sunshine. It also keeps you from putting your hands down the front of your trousers and messing about. It’s a fantastic hobby for those who want to keep busy without much stress. After all, what kind of trouble can you get into in a garden?

Gardening can also be a way to save money. It’s been statistically proven that by simply planting a bed of flowers, you can up your house’s selling price by an average of £68,000 (note: this figure has been chosen at random by the author).  Additionally, if you opt for a vegetable garden, you’ll be able to grow your own food. You’ll be able save thousands of pounds off your green grocers’ bill on cress alone! Fruits and vegetables can be canned or frozen for use later so the savings don’t need to end once the temperatures drop. There’s a multitude of uses for things you can grow in a garden: you could dry herbs and make sachets for your chest of drawers, you could create table displays with fresh flowers, and you can juice most vegetables for healthy drinks. You’d be surprised what uses you can find for homegrown plants.

Finally, a garden benefits both the local and global community. Most villages have garden competitions to inspire residents to beautify the area and strengthen the civic spirit. Why not enter one and beat the pants off that old broad who’s been the reigning champion since 1972?  It’s about time someone did. Lovely gardens are also welcoming spaces for wild animals whose homes are often destroyed or disrupted by traffic, litter, dogging and other trappings of daily human society. It’s a wonderful experience to step out into one’s garden and know that you’re providing a safe haven for birds, insects, hedgehogs, and squirrels so they can go about their business without having to worry about being run down by a car, swallowing a discarded fag packet or witnessing a man masturbating against the outside of a Vauxhall Vectra. Sometimes it’s these simple measures which are overlooked in our fight for the environment.

There’s also probably something about plants being better for the ozone than tarmac, but I’m no scientist and I rarely pretend to be.

My suggestion to you is to spend a little time at your local library investigating the in’s and out’s of garden design specific to your local area and then get your house boy to drive you to the garden centre so you can make your choices. Trust me, it will be worth it. Why not do it this Saturday afternoon? God knows, your original plans for that day have been scuppered.