Now this brings me on to Mr. Sprats,
who - in a similar vein - could be described as a 'half-man, half-ladder' sort
of person on a bicycle, if you follow me. Mr. Sprats (now there's a name to
conjure up images of rustic simplicity from a by-gone era) was the man who
mended the many windows we broke playing football in the garden. We seemed to
break them on a regular basis, you see, so this must have been before toughened
glass was invented. "A superb pass from George Best, a cracking shot from Pele,
tipped over the bar by Banks and bang goes the bathroom window." (Parents can
be very understanding, can't they? "Was it an accident?......well accidents
will happen......try not to do it again.") Mr. Sprats would be telephoned and,
if available, would come cycling recklessly up the High Street with a 14 foot
extendible ladder balanced precariously on his shoulder and a pot of putty
dangling from the handlebars.
Now occasionally Mr. Sprats and Mr. Slayter would be in the garden together, one mending the windows, the other hoeing the flower beds, and both possibly muttering good-naturedly to each other about football, kids, weeds and the meaning of life. But at half-past three everything stopped for biscuits, tea and a cigarette. Not much change there. The Council Workers have been digging up a nearby road recently and, at prescribed times, times known universally to Council Workers, Carpenters, Brickies, Gardeners and JCB Drivers to mention but a few, everything still grinds to a halt for tea. And quite right too. Some traditions should last forever, shouldn't they? The only difference these days is the transport employed. Instead of bicycles, it's vans.
(Copyright: Patrick Vickery)
A Critter Blether - August, 2003
Patrick Vickery is a garden writer who lives in the Scottish Highlands. He runs a small perennial plant nursery and has one book published to date: 'In Pursuit Of Perennial Profit - The Pot Of Gold At The Bottom Of The Garden' (Capall Bann Publishers. ISBN: 186163 1480), a 'How To' book about the propagation of hardy perennial plants in an environmentally friendly way, and how to make your garden productive in a variety of ways for both expert and gardening enthusiasts alike - at minimum cost and in an innovative and exciting way. And - of course - how to sell the plants you grow (should you wish to) to raise money (not a fortune) for yourself or a particular charity or cause.
Patrick is married with three children, lives in a two acre wood in a wonderful part of the world, uses a raised bed system of propagation and has two dogs, a cat and two goats. His second book - 'Gardening Tales - Blethers and Grunts' - a collection of anecdotal tales concentrating on the more humorous side of gardening (particularly the things that go wrong!) has recently been completed.
Patrick's book can be bought from an absolutely fascinating website full of gardening, herbal, mystical, and magical books that one would never find anywhere else. The address is www.capallbann.co.uk.
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