When you can’t go to the garden centre, bring the garden centre to you

It was very windy today. I kept thinking it was a shame that tomorrow starts wash days for the week. Today the washing would have been dry in minutes. Mind you, it was blowing so hard it may have turned the washing line into a helicopter rotor, causing it to rise into the sky and escape. Good job then.

As windy as it was (and rather chilly with it) the day was almost exclusively sunny with soft scatterings of the occasional unthreatening clouds. It made for a very pleasant walk into town.

Though not as pleasant for the two old ladies I often see walking their dogs. One of them looks like a pink rectangle while the other appears to have lived a life in the saddle. They were complaining about the sudden shift in temperature, claiming it was freezing.

It wasn’t freezing. It was, however, very green.

While it warmed up considerably during the day, the temperature did venture close to freezing in the night. It was bad enough for Mirinda to close the greenhouse doors and set the heater to come on. This has not been an issue for a while now.

The greenhouse came in quite handy today. For me I mean. Obviously it’s handy every day for Mirinda.

I built a raised bed out of the wood from the herb table I made years ago. For ages the herb table has been the repository for old plastic pots and dead leaves. The legs went a while ago and it’s used the conifer for stability.

The wood was a bit rotten in parts but it was otherwise fine. I set myself up with workbench, drill and various other tools and set to cutting and trimming, screwing and bashing.

It wasn’t the hardest of jobs but it kept me occupied for a few hours and allowed me the pleasure of listening to a podcast which expels myths. I’m not talking about religion. No, these myths are claims by companies regarding their products and what they will do for the consumer.

Like hand sanitiser, for instance. The host has a guest who uses the products and two experts to explain the science.

The podcast episodes I listened to today were recorded before the Lockdown and the sudden rush to buy up all the hand sanitiser in the universe by stupid hoarders already drunk on toilet paper purchases. The podcast was strangely relevant, however. Almost prescient.

The thing is, using hand sanitiser all the time is not good for your external microbiome. This is what keeps us healthy on the outside. It works in a very similar way to the gut microbiome in that a lot of what’s on your hands will protect you from other things on your hands. Like viruses, for instance.

The good bacteria and the bad bacteria are constantly at war on the surface of our skin and regularly drenching them in sanitiser kills them both. This leaves us susceptible to all manner of disease. It’s like removing your hilltop fort palisade in order to see the enemy coming.

We tend to worship the gut microbiome in our house so I was rather pleased to hear that there’s an external one as well. It’s a cycle. And I do like a cycle. One helps the other. In the overall scheme of things, our bodies evolved to grow and adapt with natural weapons hidden deep in our systems. Killing them does not help.

Needless to say, the podcast (The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread? hosted by Greg Foot) was very interesting and the time just sped by. By 6pm, I’d finished the raised bed.

Tomorrow I shall put it in place in The Garden of One Thousand Yaps, ready for filling.

Quite handily, we had a delivery of ‘filling’ today.

Mirinda has been bemoaning the fact that garden centres have been closed. The last time we visited one was the day before Lockdown back in March. She has found a few things here and there (farm shops basically) but really needed to feed her Squires bulk purchasing addiction.

Then, last week, I noticed a Squires delivery van in our street. I went onto their web site and they’d set up a system for purchasing things for delivery. It was a bit old school to be fair but it worked. Mirinda rang through her order and this morning, it turned up.

The delivery was made while I was riding the bike so, afterwards, I used the bags of compost in place of weight lifting as I carried them from the front door to the terrace.

I do wonder why the general purpose compost (in 40 litre bags) is so much lighter than the John Innes stuff (35 litre bags). I mean what’s in it to make it so much heavier?

Not satisfied with hefting great bags of fancy dirt and building a raised bed, I also moved the steps in Carmen’s Sweet Escape to make them more usable. With the growth of the bush and the addition of the raised bed for the hydrangeas, the steps were not working very well. They needed a bit of rearranging.

The bark chippings need replenishing now.

It generally takes me a while to get going but when I do, I rather enjoy a day working in the garden.

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