Boomers’ Bloomers [again]

Baby boomer:    a person born during a baby boom, especially the one in the US or UK between approximately 1945 and 1965: Ageing baby boomers are creating a greater need for healthcare. baby-boomer. adjective [before noun] › The baby-boomer generation is now hitting retirement age.18 May 2016

We ‘boomers’ are in trouble again. Not content with having had free university education, ‘good’ pensions, having the gall to buy properties and now living long enough to be using up all the healthcare budget we have transgressed further. The offence? We have failed to teach our progeny horticultural skills. There! How appalling! We should have been outside in the garden with our new-borns teaching them the difference between bindweed and broccoli instead of idly dandling them on our knees. We should have set our toddlers to weeding, hoeing and tying in the runner beans rather than reading them stories and letting them splash around in paddling pools.

Having been born and raised in the countryside I did actually learn a great deal about gardening at an early age; though not grand or modernised the properties we inhabited were always surrounded by large pieces of garden which my father tended with gusto-perhaps because he came from a family of market gardeners. The fruit and vegetables he grew were more than a supplement to our diet; together with the hens we kept they almost were our diet. Yet we were not coerced into digging and weeding and were left to our own devices, excavating our own plot behind the shed to find buried treasure and taking stray worms down to the hens’ enclosure or trawling the small stream with jam jars on strings. I do remember being interrogated as to why I’d pulled up a cabbage and explaining that it was to see if it was growing, a reply not received with indulgent approval-nevertheless it had been growing.

But I knew about gardening. I knew that you could graft one type of apple tree on to another, that potatoes needed to be earthed up, that you could make compost from garden and vegetable waste. I knew the names of things-vegetables, fruits, flowers and weeds. I also knew the names of trees and wild flowers. At school, with no danger of a ‘national curriculum’ we went on nature walks-a long crocodile of hand-holding pairs strolling the lanes and scrutinising the banks and hedgerows so that we knew which tree conkers grew on [not a conker tree!] and bringing back specimens for the ‘nature table’. I grew up able to identify common birds from plumage and song and to know a number of wild flowers, plants and trees.

Just as a garden itself cannot be made instantly you can’t ‘teach’ gardening. The skills and knowledge develop over time with trial and error and a little research now and again. The best gardens evolve-like the twenty year old patch I’ve grappled with and am about to leave. How will the next garden grow? I look forward to finding out…

 

 

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The Best Possible Taste?

                During periods at home it is a rare week that passes without our moseying along to see and hear some live music, and most weeks we’ll go at least twice. Out and about travelling of course it is a different story, with the tiny music player and speakers having to fill in the gap. [This is when some slight differences in musical taste kick in between myself and Husband-usually addressed by me listening to Coldplay during snatched moments while he showers].

                It is a mark of how much I’ve altered, I suppose, that I no longer listen to music radio in my car, preferring the diversions of talk radio these days. Years ago I’d have listened to music during most of my spare hours, but now I often prefer silence, or birdsong, or any of those lyrical, whimsical sounds poets bang on about.

                As a teenager of the mid to late sixties [we babyboomers always like to boast this is the best, the only era for music]-I got my fix in regular doses of essential listening like ‘Pick of the Pops’ on Sunday evenings, when the entire chart would be played to exceedingly naff presentation of Alan Freeman, who called us ‘pop pickers’ [as opposed to pickpockets, perhaps]. In the beginning, one of my brothers and myself would record it all on a reel to reel tape recorder, whilst simultaneously writing each song in a notebook with a diligence we did not apply to homework . We were banished to a cold room. Later, when I was left as the lone teenager I continued to be banished in order to listen, although I’d given up the recording by then.

                A great disappointment to my classical music loving father [he called it seeerious music], I glued myself mulishly to TV’s ‘Top of the Pops’ each Thursday evening. [Sadly its reputation is now tarnished by the grim revelations about one of its presenters]. My parents didn’t ‘get’ it, displaying all the cliché ridden behaviour of the era-‘you can’t tell whether they are boys or girls’ [of the long haired band members], or ‘what a racket!’

                Once, in a rare moment of watching, my father turned to me triumphant during the climax of the number one single and shouted, “I LIKE this one!” I remember my despair. It was the odious, banal and stubbornly popular ‘Silence is Golden’ by the hideous Tremeloes.

                Another time they returned from a weekend away proudly bearing a gift, at a time when I’d just bought ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ by new, progressive band, Cream. They’d gone to a record shop all by themselves [they boasted] and asked the salesperson what was ‘number 1’? “because she’s bound to like that one” What was it? It was ‘This is the Captain of Your Ship’ by Reperata and the Delrons. If you’ve ever heard this you will understand my teenage emotions. I may have managed to play it once, to satisfy their proud smiles. It all demonstrates how parents misunderstand teenagers.

                Now I realise how lucky I am to live within a cycle or a short bus ride away from a whole range of music venues showcasing a broad spectrum of local, talented musicians and I could probably enjoy a different act and genre every night of the week-if I had the energy. Better still, our local music festival takes place next month-about which, more anon!