Sunday, September 12, 2004

Chris Martin Day

And waking with the clock radio, while I was still in a DIY superstore picking up cans of paint, "Yellow" played on XFM, and I screamed, ".. but Chris Martin IS A GOD!". When the dream was cut and the day coalesced around me, I declared that this would be Chris Martin Day.

I used to loathe being single, but now I'm sad to say I'm learning to be selfish (30th April)

And why else is a blog there unless it is to remind you of a time past. Unless you use it only as a pastime.

Scarcely 10 days to the equinox, and no one could still be fooling themselves into thinking that summer never dies. The lusty heat of summer was contradictory to Coldplay, and lo with its passing, the lord of English winter music surges forth like some deciduous tree's hormone! Suck the energy out of your leaves! Cast them off! Pull it all back into your roots! Cast off any limbs and branches that should waste your winter reserves. Winter is coming, and you will soon wonder if you ever see Summer again.

This year sees almost no acorns at all on the Oak trees on the Wanstead Flats. If boars still roamed free on this England they would go hungry this winter. The oaks have dropped only galls, useless, contorted galls. I wonder if it was the dry weather in late spring/early summer that caused this.

By contrast, the hawthorns are heavy with haws, which by the way are edible and are a common ingredient in some Chinese soup concoctions. And of course my hazels have given birth copiously. Shame there are none that grow wild on the Flats, for they would make useful food for the small mammals in these times of no acorns. It is peculiar that I seem to be the only person in this part of London who grows hazel, but so trite is the behaviour of gardeners, that they only follow fashion and not their own curiousity. You would think that more people would have seen cobnuts for sale at the greengrocers, as they are every year at this time, and asked themselves, "Where do cobnuts come from?". Cobnuts are just hazelnuts selected for the English climate. Buy some, stick them in a plant pot now, and hey presto, next spring you have some shrubs. In five years, you might start seeing some nuts. You don't have to wait until Monty Don flashes his BIG HANDS or Charlie Dimmock shakes her BIG BOSOM while they say, "OH! Let's all plant some cobnuts today, boys and girls!"


I was whizzing through Moorgate when I noticed that they have ripped up the entire Island of Greenery that sat in the main traffic intersection. Leaving only the crappy 40 something year old oak tree, just so that they could re arrange the road. More concrete. London so pisses me off. To think that at this time exactly a year ago I was working on that very green space, watering it to keep it all alive in what was a scorching month of drought. And what a joke that the contractors for the City of London, for whom I worked, were known as Waterers Landscapes. Of whom I think no more highly than any of the other money-grubbing megacorporations that now control all the local authority parks and gardens contracts up and down the land. Indeed, their website reminds me that they were then already in the throes of takeover by (Danish?) ISS.

Every park and garden in the country is now managed with very nearly the same ruthless monotony as a McDonald's or PizzaHut. I was reminded this today at West Ham Park, which also comes under the City of London's control. Managed for tidiness and crispness because it is cheaper to do so than to manage it for natural biodiversity. And astonishingly, a sign that says, "NO CYCLES". I took this to mean "No Cycling", but was then told that I wasn't even allowed to walk my bicycle around the park. And this is a big park, not a little prissy garden.

God help the kids nowadays who dream of wilderness and escape. They probably have to plug into the Internet or a computer games console and allow their spirit to be contained and even deadened. Mark Twain must be crying in his grave.

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