The North-South Divide

Posted by @ 8:27 pm on Saturday 23rd July, 2011.
Categories: In the garden, LMAO!

My neighbour Brian's a great bloke. He's from The Smoke and despite living in The Midlands for the last 30 or so years he's not lost his accent, his relaxed approach to life or his liking for the watered-down beer that they serve down there.

He likes to grow stuff in his greenhouse and he has a friend who does likewise with other crops. Each year one will start, say, the beans and the tomatoes, the other will start strawberries and peas or something like that - you get the gist of it. When the plants are ready to grow on, Brian and his mate do swaps so that they both have a fuller range to plant out later in the season. Often, Brian gives us some of his surplus plants, and for the last few years we've had some potted house-plants and some fine runner-bean plants from him.

For some time now we've been considering getting a greenhouse of our own and I've been accumulating materials to make a suitable base for said structure. When we told Brian of our plans he was ready with advice about how to build and what to plant, and he offered us some lentils that his friend had, telling me that they'd be perfect for a greenhouse. Well, I've no idea about growing those, so I declined and said that we wanted to start off with some simple crops. Tomatoes, courgettes, perhaps a melon or two. Lentils sounded like too much of a challenge for the first year.

Anyway, every time I've mentioned the greenhouse (or lack thereof) he's been banging on at me to go and get those lentils. He said that they'd cost me nowt, as his mate just wanted to get rid of them. Eventually I relented and decided that we could give them a shot. I asked him if they were red or green lentils, he said they were grey so I assumed that they were some sort of Puy lentil variety. He said that they'd be good up by the fence where the soil was banked up against the gravel-boards . When I asked him how big they are, he said "about five foot".



Yesterday we were out in his van collecting some slabs that I'd bought over eBay. On the way back he suggested that we should swing by his mate's house and have a look at those lentils, I agreed and so the detour was made.

He led me to the side of the house where there was a mound of surplus building materials. "There you are", he said, "take what you need, we can put them in the van right now if you want them."

I stood there confused, bemused and amused. There were six of them. They were grey and five foot just as he'd said.

Problem is, they aren't lentils...

they're lintels...

grey, five-foot-long, 8" x 10" cross-section steel-reinforced concrete lintels.

I had to explain the difference. The ordeal was not unlike this. If he offers me any peas next year, I'll be wary.

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2 Responses to “The North-South Divide”

  1. That had me laughing out loud when drinking my coffee this... I'd forgotten how good that sketch was too!

    Cheered up my morning that did!

  2. Andy Howell says:

    I bought a greenhouse in the January Sales and am currently reaping the benefits of its first season.

    In all kinds of ways this has been a great buy. All of my plants have been grown from seed. They are ahead of schedule and are also far healthier than plants I have bought from garden centres.

    The tomato is a good case in point. In previous years they have always suffered from blight. this year I've gown them all from seed with some taken outdoors and some left inside for a comparison. The greenhouse plants are amazing — many about 5 feet tall. But the ones going outside are doing well and cropping well too. I'm just beginning to be able to eat them.

    You'll find it makes a big difference!

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