WHAT DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THIS MONTH?
Ian continues his fight against the virulant bluebel and seeks advice on how NOT to lose a wife in Tesco!
Where do bluebells advertise? Those of you who are new readers, recently arrived in the village or readers of The Village Pump or the Northwold Times, will be unaware that, for well over 10 years, we have been discussing bluebells in these articles and this topic has produced more feedback from villagers than any other topic about which I have written. To recap, we are all agreed that bluebells look wonderful in bluebell woods and other people's gardens but I take grave exception to the bluebells which occupy valuable space in my garden. The theme of the articles has been as follows: They are thugs, who spread like wildfire, putting out new bulbs underground, producing seeds and spending the Winter restoring their energy reserves so that they can trash my garden again in the Spring. They produce an enormous amount of greenery in relation to the number of flowers and that greenery is present for about three months while it dies back. I tend to forget that, in July, there will be massive black holes where the greenery used to be and this messes up my planting plans. English bluebells are very pretty, the heads hang down and the greenery is moderate. Spanish bluebells, on the other hand, have massive amount of greenery and unpleasant, upright stalks and flowers. They tend to colonise at the expense of the English variety and will, eventually, take over the world, destroying my other arch-enemy, Bindweed, and, probably, Giant Hogweed in the process. That gives you the gist of the previous articles I have written
Initially, I was a pariah and I was roundly castigated for being so horrible about this poor defenceless little plant. Management was the worst of the lot as she loves bluebells and forbids me to damage them. Most women, when they go away, worry about what their husbands might be getting up to - Deannie worries about what I might do to the bluebells. Of course, accidents can happen late at night when spraying nettles and the bluebells do seem to move around a lot when Deannie is away. Gradually, however, people started to sidle up to me and, speaking out of the side of their mouth, would tell me their bluebell horror stories - 3 bulbs brought up from the West country a few years ago, now needing regular Roundup to achieve any control - a newcomer who planted up her entire garden after moving in during the Autumn, only to see the whole lot trashed by the indigenous bluebells in the Spring, and so on.
What set me off again? Well, this year, while weeding around and amongst the wretched things, I found both bindweed and cleaver in a bed which had previously been clear of these. I have spoken before of the bluebells' propensity to shield and protect weeds but I am now forced to the conclusion that the malevolent little XXX!s have been advertising for unpleasant perennial weeds who would like a good start in life, sheltered by bluebells. Head Office tells me to "Get a Life" so I must leave this topic while wondering where and how the little thugs advertise. A friend of mine, who lives in Essex, tells me that his garden is taken over by white bluebells which smell strongly of onions - any ideas?
The Tesco Problem: Do many of you gentlemen accompany your wife on the Tesco shopping trip? I know you do, because I have seen you! Happily for me, we only visit Tesco rarely because we have an excellent Spar store in Feltwell. However, when we do, I always have the same problem - I lose management. We write two lists before we go, one each. On arrival, we split up - she heads for the fruit and vegetables, via the clothes section, and I head for the dairy section, via the "Going cheap today because it's nearly out of date" section. You would be amazed how many products appear in that section that I have never seen in the main store. I then try to find everything else on my list and there is always one item I cannot find so I look for management. The problems start here -What was she wearing this morning? I can't remember! I walk up and down, backwards and forwards until every aisle has been covered but she is nowhere to be seen. Now, Deannie, whilst not exactly vertically challenged, has just realised that she has short arms and legs. This makes her lower than the goods in the aisles so she is very difficult to see. Those of you who know her will be of the opinion that she is infinitely compliant and accommodating - this is not always true. I bought her a large halogen balloon on a six foot piece of string and asked her to tie it around her neck as she went around the store so that I could find her when necessary - I am sorry and surprised to say that she refused point-blank! I suppose we must, in future, remember to charge our mobile 'phones, remember to take them with us and to turn them on, remember to take them into the shop and, assuming that all goes well, use them to communicate our whereabouts to each other. As we are both fairly anti mobile 'phones and cannot understand why all the kids seem welded to theirs, we would appreciate any better ideas to solve the problem.
Best wishes to you all
Ian G. Nisbet