A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
You can tell I’ve had too much time on my hands lately and this has led to me thumbing through books of quotations for want of anything more creative to do.
Like make up my own descriptive sayings which I frequently do, but not so’s anyone else would want to use them as a snappy catchphrase.
Not like “Stay alert”. Now there’s one that’ll have them queuing up to copyright it for future generations.
The aforementioned garden quote comes from Victorian poet Thomas Edward Brown, who hit the nail on the head as far as current conditions dictate.
One of the greatest strokes of luck in these strange times has been having a garden.
I can even understand why it has been decreed that garden centres are so important that they should, as of this week, and certainly in Englandshire, be allowed to open before many other emporia.
It always struck me that it was daft to let all that healthy growing stuff wither on the vine, so to speak, when it could be used practically to feed people, cheer them up and give them something to do in the amazingly good weather of late, other than get out the karaoke machine, fire up the hot tub and annoy the hell out of the self-isolating neighbours.
But then that struck me about the beer brewing industry too and, as yet, there has been no public-spirited rush to get that much-missed product – not by me, it’s one of the few things I don’t drink – out to the waiting multitude, kind of like a liquid loaves and fishes.
Or maybe the Camra version of the wedding at Cana.
Having a garden is why I am reluctant to condemn those who just want to get out of the house for five minutes, beyond those four grey walls that surround them, as another lyricist – of the aptly titled if otherwise inappropriate Green, Green Grass Of Home – almost wrote.
Not those, I hasten to add, who shut the door behind them and, instead of taking a brisk walk round the block a couple of times a day, immediately feel and give in to the urge to start a conga chain, host a street party or drive hundreds of miles to look at scenery they’ve never had any interest in before.
And mass gatherings of protest? Grow up.
Freedom (man, I’m making it big with the song quotes this week) might be just another word for nothing left to lose but, in some cases, it too often seems to mean freedom for some people to do exactly what the hell they like, at the eventual expense of others.
Well, call me a naive, sentimental fool but I don’t think I’m being governmentally brain-washed when I say that I figure that the freedom not to be horribly sick or dead looms pretty large for many of us.
I suspect we will be too busy to tackle the weeding, hoeing and dibbing for a while, as we continue to try to unpick the meaning and pick the bones out of our new instructions.
Say what you like about Nicola Sturgeon. “Dae whit ye’re telt – stay in the hoose!” is at least clear, if somewhat dictatorial in tone.
From Mr Johnson, it’s not so much: “Do as I say, not as I do,” as: “Do what I might be saying – though it’s really your fault if you don’t understand it and interpret it the wrong way – and live with the result.”
Or not, as the case might be.
To draw a current analogy, it’s like all those people who felt it necessary only a few short weeks ago to corner the market in loo rolls and tinned tomatoes.
The loo roll thing is almost understandable.
It’s like the “Stay at home” slogan – you know exactly where you are with loo roll, what it’s for and how to use it.
Tinned tomatoes, however, are the “Stay alert” of the comestibles world.
People who’ve never made a pasta sauce in their nellies think they ought to have these magic tins but they’re not at all sure what to do with them or what they’ll actually end up with if they try to use them.
Perhaps, with a cynic’s eye and ear, my first response to this announcement was that there was not even an attempt to make Mr Johnson’s havering sound like a model of clarity.
Instead, it came down to muddying the ground so it actually all became about shifting responsibility and, eventually, blame, from them to us.
It reminds me of George W Bush’s defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his witterings about known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns.
Who knew? Me? Nope. But I think I’ve finally worked it out.
Thanks not to a politician but to St Andrew – the singer, not the saint – of musical Woollen Mill fame. Last lyric of the day? “Dinna ask me chief, Eh dinna ken…”