The world is insane. I am insane. If anyone had told me, a few years back, that I would spend a day driving around garden centres looking for a spare part so I could hoover my garden, then I’d have suggested locking them away in a room with all the sharp edges removed.
But yes, I am sad and shallow and I want to hoover my garden. There are leaves. Many leaves. And because I am idle I have a Flymo GardenVac, and the shredder thingy has snapped, (see photo) so I need to buy a new one. It is a standard consumable, just a bit of plastic wire, and they tend to snap and need to be replaced from time to time. I could buy one from Amazon but I could really do with it now and the mini-helicopter delivery system isn’t quite ready yet.
“We’ll have to go to a garden centre,” I said.
A reasonable thing to say. Garden centres have garden stuff, don’t they? Well, apparently not. Garden centres have nothing for gardens. They have Santa’s grottos and they have overpriced clothing and ornaments and wicker furniture and wooden plaques with motivational slogans. They have bad joke books and books with photos of the British coast from the air. They have kitchen equipment in jaunty bright colours that cost three times the price of the old kitchen equipment that used to come in perfectly acceptable stainless steel. They have bird boxes, and sacks of bird food that costs more than supermarket muesli (but probably tastes the same). Or I could buy a little basket with two jars of jam nestling in a bed of paper straw. Why? Why the hell do I need jam in a basket? What do I do with the basket afterwards? And what about the little red and white paper covers held over the vacuum-sealed lids with rubber bands: why do I need paper lids on the jam? Why? Do they make the jam taste better?
And before I’m done with my garden centre visit, as I’m striding with a purpose towards the exit, I could pause by the DVD rack and pick up a black and white WWII DVD or one about steam trains or Fred Dibnah, each carefully cropped to fit a square TV screen, to remind me about how good things used to be in the old days.
You remember the old days?