Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

My Garden the War Zone

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

My Garden the War Zone

Article excerpt


I HATE gardening. But I had to do some a week or two ago, seeing as winter had finally decided it had better get its skates on or it would be late for the southern hemisphere.

I do not know if you do gardening, but it is just like tidying up, except that complete strangers are able to judge you on how well you have done by simply walking past your house instead of coming inside and running a finger along the dusty mantelpiece.

I spent some time pushing a lawn mower over the back garden. As there had been no sun since October this should have been a fairly easy task. The grass had grown maybe one or two millimetres in that time.

But the trouble with mowing a lawn that has barely grown is that it is very difficult to see where you have done. It is like colouring in a large green piece of card with a small green felt-tip pen. While insects attack you.

Insects and I do not get on particularly well. I don't like their eyes, and believe strongly they have too many legs. They come into my house without invitation, make me paranoid about covering my food if I have to leave the room, and make loud insistent buzzing noises. If the insect kingdom were a person, it would be Gregg Wallace from Masterchef.

I see gardening as an incursion into enemy territory. I cannot help thinking insects use this to justify their invasion of my home, as I dodge clouds of tiny flies. But I know that is ridiculous because insects are as stupid as they are ugly.

At this point I expect the many entomologists among my readers to tut loudly and explain to me how insects are useful and, in many cases, beautiful.

And I say to them: "Why do the insects have to be useful in my garden? Can't they be useful in somebody else's garden? And stop showing off and pretending you like exo-skeletons, compound eyes, and creatures that vomit on their food before eating it."

With the back lawn more or less polished off, it was time to tackle the weeds at the front.

One of the previous occupants of my house was evidently a sadistic weed enthusiast and had installed cobbles from pavement to front door. …

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