Still busy but had to note the return of Mummylonglegs with a sensible and logical post.
Today was unusually sunny. The greenhouse had exceeded 40C (104F for any rebel colonists reading) before I went out there and the blast of heat from the door nearly knocked me over. The plants seem happy enough, in fact I had to put some of the triffids in the garden just to space them out. If the slugs waste them, no matter, I have more. I still can't believe these came from seeds that look like dust, and in just a matter of weeks.
I mentioned grow-bags to a friend who is an experienced greenhouse keeper. He scoffed. Why buy a bag of dirt when your greenhouse floor is made of it? He has a point, I will plant most of the plants in the ground inside the greenhouse. Most baccy plants will have to be outside, it's only a little greenhouse and it has to support peppers, tomatoes and chillis too. Although I plan to experiment with outdoor chillis this year because I have grown enough plants to blow my arse to Pluto. Some are Scotch Bonnet. Enough of those and I'll be blogging from the heliopause. If that happens, all I'll be writing is 'Send cream. Cold, cold cream'.
The soil here is crap, mostly heavy clay, so heavy that the worms wear hard hats and carry pickaxes - but right next to the greenhouse is the compost box. Leachate from that will help, as will digging in some decent bought compost and sharp sand. When I put this greenhouse in I had to include a drain beneath it because the garden is a swamp when it rains. All good things if you want to grow plants under cover, of course.
I won't undermine the greenhouse. It's screwed down onto a frame of six-inch fence planks, three deep and fitted together with six-inch-square mortice and tenon joints at the corners. That's attached to posts set into concrete lumps. This thing is going nowhere.
Greenhouse expert is a smoky-drinker and I'll be visiting tomorrow night. Some news for Don Shenker - Tesco are selling Glenfiddich 12-year-old and Glenmorangie 10-year-old at £10 off at the moment. News for the Dreadful Arnott and the tightly puckered anuses of the antismoker movement - I'll be taking spare tobacco plants to the Smoky-drinky too. Soon they'll be growing wild on railway embankments, waste ground and in the middle of motorways. Especially when our local winds catch the seeds. Then they'll be growing in cucumber greenhouses in Spain.
This far north we are fast approaching the time of no darkness. We are already in the time of blue-sky-all-night. All the vampires and other undead creatures have fled to their second coffins in Holyrood for the duration. We don't get midnight sun, but for the next month we get a wonderful effect where the red sky of the sunset just moves around the horizon until the sun pops back up. It really confuses the shepherds.
And so, in a roundabout way, we get back to the subject of sunshine. Once, labourers worked the fields all day, every day, as long as the sun was up and they wore no shirts. Once, people on holiday just flobbed out on beaches and let the sun toast them to a lurid pink.
British beaches, not so long ago, resembled a mass lobster stranding every summer. The stench of roasting flesh reached miles inland, as did the screams of the raw and blistered as they enjoyed their holiday by immersing themselves in unimaginable pain. It was a place where Satan sent his new devils for work experience. The Old British were not scared of Hell. It's one long holiday.
There was sun cream in the old days. When I was a kid, the highest was factor 12, I think, and it was like emulsion paint. Now it goes up to at least factor 30 which I suspect is chrome plating. I don't use any. I have inherited my grandfather's attitude to beaches. If forced to go there I will wear my jacket, a flat cap and a deep scowl. No joke, I have seen photos. He once, I hear, rolled up his trousers almost to the knee in a fit of reckless abandon but mostly the only thing he rolled was tobacco. Franklin's. I haven't seen any in a long time. I bet it's horrible with sand in it.
My grandfather had no fear of skin cancer. He was a coal miner so he spent most of his life as far from the sun as it is possible to get. Pneumoconiosis got him instead, ironic because sunlight grew all those plants that eventually turned into coal. Looks like the sun will kill us all, one way or another. If you hide, it's set traps.
Yet now, with anti-UV creams that are so powerful they actually bend light around you and make you invisible, it seems skin cancers are rising like mad. What about all those shirtless muscle-laden sweaty labourers (calm down ladies and in the interests of equality, if you're gay, put that away) and the beach full of screaming blistered lobsters? Surely with the new paste-on sunproofing there must be a decline in the dangers of the tan?
Not so, apparently. Even with all the modern anti-sun measures like Xbox and Playstation and TV and internet and Gary Glitter, parents worry that their children are getting too much sun (in the UK!) so they have to wear a little gadget to tell them when to return to the underworld. Too much sun? Modern children? What is this, a question of surface area perhaps?
It's interesting, isn't it, to note that when nobody gave a stuff about sunburn, hardly anyone got skin cancer. Now that everyone is dipped in Dulux before venturing outside, there's loads of it.
Like the massive decline in smoking in the last fifty years that has led to a massive increase in lung cancer, heart attacks, asthma, silly little people who can be scared shitless with a few words, and all other smoking related illnesses.
As drinking declines, the problems it causes vastly increase. These same scientists scoff at homeopathy, you know.
Children are apparently getting fatter because they never play outside and parents are worried that they are exposed to too much sun (again - in the UK!). Well if they played outside they'd be less fat and there would be less of them for the sun to hit and they'd have less skin to get cancer in. When they are slim and speedy they'll be better able to dodge sunbeams. Thin enough and the light will pass right through and think how much the NHS would then save on X-rays. How about that for logic, parents? It makes as much sense as anything else these days.
We used to play in the sun as kids. If it became uncomfortably hot we used to head for the shade until we'd cooled down. It was a thing called 'common sense'.
I think most kids still have it, you know.
The adults don't.