Idea IS the format afficianados (of which there are about three, including me) will recall a golden age, back in 2007, when all I really blogged about was our garden. That, and periodically talking shit about marketing. (And then, for some inexplicable reason, writing it down.)
I even made a few short films, comprising the Hackney Garden series; an occasional digest I hope to resurrect this summer, if only to inflict some more rambling and ill-informed commentary through the uniquely unflattering prism of video.
The upside of my documentary efforts is that you can still revisit the grim patch of grassy wasteland we inherited back in March 2007. And that’s not the kind of wasteland you snare stray dogs on. I’m talking about the kind of barren moral and metaphysical wilderness unto which the Lord’s own progeny condemned himself in the act of washing away the sins of all mankind. Somewhere you could drop in on tomorrow and end up kicking your heels with the still-twitching corpse of T.S. Eliot, while Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek stole your car and burned your house down.
Indeed, a quick look back through the leafy annals bears pictorial testimony to so many long weekends spent digging up bricks, more bricks, some other bricks, and some carrier bags, containing Polish workmen’s faeces.
We don’t really talk about the faeces so much any more; the memory has been all but expunged, even if the distinctive aroma of immaculately preserved Eastern European excrement lingers on.
I’ve often reflected on the fact that these rugged and regular contractors, even in the very act of installing working water-closets into our newly re-developed domecile, must have bagged, tagged and buried their feculence knowing that the kind of person stupid enough to try and transform this barren backyard into their own arboreal Xanadu would also surely be the kind of person who deserves to end up prostrate on their hands and knees clawing their fingers through somebody else’s shit. How right they were.
Then, at some point – I don’t recall exactly when – I actually started to do some gardening. I mean real gardening, involving growing things that are green, and maybe even eating them, and the fact that they have been grown in shit not necessarily being a bad thing, but sometimes even a good thing, to the extent that I would actually go out and buy new shit, the more expensive the better, to help them grow.
The reality, as I’ve discovered first hand, is that gardening is mostly about shit.
Not just shit-shit. I mean all that other shit, the shit you go and buy at B&Q, once you realise the privately owned garden centre up the road has a price point that would loosen Prince Charles’ own pre-eminent rectum. Shit with handles, and metal bits, and plastic attachments that cost more than the thing you’re subsequently unable to attach them to.
Then there’s all the shit you have to somehow get rid of. Not shit-shit, that would be easy, you could just chuck it down the khasi. I’m talking about the shit you can’t flush, or burn, or leave in a bin-bag out front, because if you do the bin-men won’t take it – or anything else – for the next six months. The shit you end up carting all the way to the dump by the bucketload, in order to have it disposed of by trained professionals, men who know their shit from their shit, and have the coolest fucking stack system you’ve ever seen.
Which is why, when you look at the photo below, and I tell you that I spent this weekend digging out that new bed at the front, and planted two drills of peas in it, along with all the different varieties of lettuce, spinach, cabbage and broccoli I’ve got growing up the back there, you’ll probably think ‘meh, sure, fine, that’s all well and good, but it looks, well, kinda… shit.’
And you’re right. But it’s my shit. And one day my shit’s going to come out smelling of roses.
(Sorry? What’s that? You want more bricks? Oh go on then.)