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Scrubber's Journal

Scrubber's Journal August 2012

Last Post 1968 days 10 hours ago

The morning after the .....

30 August 2012 19:52:39

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There it was. Brilliant sunshine this morning. 'Now why couldnt we have had that yesterday?' Scrubber was so chuffed by all the nice things said about his garden by Hazel that he went out determined to make it even more beautiful! Now having learned all about the beauty of edging from Bill's garden-a real eye opener-he started on the border near the wall on the lower lawn. He had given it a quick scurry over in preparation for the visit but this time he took it slowly and edged with the spade and uncovered at least half of a step that grass had encroached on and then he took out all the weeds and all the plants of forget me nots that had spread there. The clay was lovely and crumbly, the weeds came up easily and he planted loads of forget me nots down by the pwincesses seat and around the base of statue scrubber and back in the border but this time spaced more distantly. A promise of blue beauty next april and all for nothing.

While he was weeding the scent of the roses was all around him and he felt he was really having a good day. He had to give up after an hour and a half as there were other things on the agenda but what he had done was so soul satisfying that he is going out early tomorrow morning to finish it. Only regret 'That he hadn't it done before Hazel and Elizabeth came!' but this happens after every visit!

He'll try to get pictures of the edging tomorrow- Then Bill will be very proud of him!

'Mr. Scrubber looks quite chuffed with himself'

29 August 2012 16:45:20

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'Sure and why wouldn't he?'. 'Did you not see the lwo ladies going around his garden with him this morning?' ' Yes were they garden.iers?' 'Yeah'. 'Cherub Cymbals the word is 'yes'. 'OK then, yessss'.

Mr Scrubber gets a very classy sort of lady visitor doesnt he?'. 'Yeah! I mean yes, and they all seem very knowledgeable as well'. 'These two today though were very kind' .'Why do you say that?' 'Well for one thing they never commented on the amount of weeds that are around'. 'True, and had he not done a Blitz on the grass and some borders yesterday the place would have been even worse!' 'Not that its for us to say so Cherub Lute' We are after all only ornamentals!' 'Yes but we do add a certain something to the garden dont you think?'.'Yes without us I think Mr Scrubber wouldnt find it so easy to impress visitors'. Scrubber Statue (very quietly as is his wont): 'Well I was there long before either of you and people were impressed with Mr. Scrubber's garden. Both in chorus: WHO ASKED YEZ?' .'Its not yez it's 'you', or in dublin 'youz' came the voice of cherub.

Long pause.'Very knowledgeable ladies though' ''Yeah', 'yes' ,'Yes', and they really liked the garden'. 'And said so'. 'They liked the moss a lot', 'Have you noticed lately? ' this to Statue Scrubber.   'Theres a bit of moss beginning to grow on our pedestals?'. A small thin voice from way down in the scrub, very precise and pointed , from the direction of Micilin Dee's cave, 'That it may grow up both your a...'-- 'Thats quite enough comment for today I think', interjected Cherub, saving both Cherub Lute and Cymbals from Micilin Dee's pointed comment.

'Isnt it nice that Mr. Scrubber was pleased. He did work so hard yesterday.' ' And  didnt they bring him a beoootiful Hellebore?!'  On this appreciative note the garden went quiet again.

Oh what a heavenly day!

27 August 2012 20:01:26

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Bruno many many thanks for arranging it all and Scrubber apologises for crashing into your conversations with Jimi Blake and later when you were charming slips from Helen!

We had such a great visit, welcomed by Val Dillon and the two tiny dogs. The sun shone, the garden bloomed, the company was frolicksome, the planting was astounding, the colour amazing. I think we hit it at its height and the OOOhs and Aaahs could be heard all over the place. Bruno I think went into a dreamworld of his own! Clare was thrilled to renew her aqaintence with the Aralias-big thorny ones they were too! Michele Mary got on like a house on fire with all the members. Hazel and Elizabeth were in their sunniest element and gave me one of my nicest photographs of the day! cf Album! Jemo very bravely sported a rose on his manly chest and Jurga got a slip from Helen herself. The same Helen was very generous with her time and comments and if one admired something there was every chance of a slip. Scrubber didnt dare as he knew he would have killed it by the time he got home. Mary and Margaret must have done the garden three times to other's one or else they have the gift of trilocation. The two non garden.ie spouses fitted in so well that I am sure we will yet convert them! Joan I think the most punctual of us all had arrived much earlier but had parked and shopped and then joined us just before we went in.

There were also some lovely people from the North there with Jimi Blake and Adrian sends regards to Conrad! The same mr. Blake seems a really nice gentle easy man and scrubber is determined to get up to Baltinglass before year's end.

As I say the Sun shone to the very end of our visit. Then on cue it rained and we dashed for the house. Myrtle had a big surprise for Scrubber, yes the planter and luckily Clare and Greg kindly drove him to the Luas station. There he was looked after by Margaret and mary who ensured he got a seat and deposited him safely on Stephen's green. Luckily he was not arrested as a bomb suspect walking down grafton street with his big black sack!

Then clambering on to the train and collected by Anna at the station . A day to remember. Thank you all who made it so and especially Bruno!

And if i have omitted anybody please forgive me, there were so many of us, so much to see, so much to wonder at that at times poor Scrubber became quite twitterpated!



Thats a nasty rumour and there

26 August 2012 23:24:01

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is no truth in it AT ALL!

Word was going round in the lower reaches of the Scrub -what can you expect?- that Scrubber was gettin' above hisself!  'Mr Scrubber was in Mrs Dillon's garden in Dublin yesterday and he called Mrs Dillon, Helen, no less and Mr. Blake, 'Jimmi'!!! And he had never even met Mr. Blake before! 'Shocking!'. 'I blame it on the Planter'. 'I think that Planter has given Mr Scrubber notions above his station-to quote Sr Josephine!'. Do you mean that planter that he is always now  talking and even boasting about?' 'Yes, the hand -crafted, hand- oiled, wondrously-shaped, eucalyptus-wood planter that he got yesterday from Mr. Fran!'.

'Well it is a lovely planter but why would it make Mr. Scrubber get 'above hisself?'. 'Well Cherub Lute says its very original and can't be bought anywhere else in ireland so no one else can have one' and Cherub Cymballs said 'Its the exact shape for where he wanted it' and they both say 'its made ,of course by Mr. Fran so that makes it an art object as well as a planter' 'So its no wonder poor Mr. Scrubber's head got a little turned then'

'Pity though, cos basically Mr. Scrubber's a nice normal man'. At this stage Cherub intervened quite forcibly and told them all they didnt know what they were talking about and had best be quiet before Mr. Scrubber got wind of what was up and he would be 'very hurt'. Scrubber Statue agreed. And Cherub added quietly 'but you are quite right of course in one thing, It is a lovely planter!'

Mothers blanched and fathers held on tightly

24 August 2012 23:26:26

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 to their children as the  deep hollow voice boomed out over the lake at Altamount. --‘Frrrraaaaahnnn’ ‘Raaaaacheeelllll’ , ‘Claaaaarrre’, Marrrriiiiiiaaa!’. Someone, or something, was hunting for people! Fear pervaded the afternoon still air. People were waiting, watching. Then a silver bell-like female voice trilled out ‘Its Scrubbberrr!’ and there was a scampering through the undergrowth and a swishing back of low hanging branches and the pounding of well shod feet-and then suddenly  in front of his four friends a grinning Scrubber materialized!

He was to have met them in Altamount but stupidly left the mobile in the car so the only way he could make contact was the banshee wail across the lake! They were very kind and pretended not to be at all ‘murtified’ even though all the other people were looking at them and off they went down the ice age path with lots of jokes about rocks and sculpture bits and stuff. Then there was a lovely broad path along the river and as you see from the photographs Fran dived in and swam across (that last bit is a little exaggerated!) and we climbed the 100 steps back up to the gardens.

Rachel would not allow us to go on up by the temple as she refused to carry Scrubber and Fran.So we turned back into the main garden. Clare was in top form recognizing aralias left right and centre. Maria became an honorary garden.ier for the day and oohed and aaahed with the best of us when we reached the herbaceous border. There’s a Phlox Blue Bird that is worth selling your nearest and dearest animal friends for-NOT that we EVER would sell Shoosh or Dooley. The borders were so splendid ,everyone resolved to be even better gardeners and we trooped into Robert Miller’s wonderful nursery and looked and were smitten and bought and ordered and helped one another carry plants to the car. Clare discovered a Tatting fern that Scrubber coveted and graciously gave it to him-let him buy it! Fran got a very nice frondy thing whose name eludes me. Rachel found a Hydrangea with unpronounceable leaves and lovely flowers. I think Clare may have chosen the same.

And then after a lovely afternoon of walking and talking and plantidentifying and speculating and giggling and laughing out loud it was suddenly evening and we each went our own way in the dusk and behind us the evening settled down and over the lake were still to be heard the soft echoes of --‘Frrrraaaaahnnn’ ‘Raaaaacheeelllll’ , ‘Claaaaarrre’, Marrrriiiiiiaaa!’ as the little moths came out and the bats flickered among the branches of Clare’s aralia…

Scrubber note: I put up a photo album to go with this but it was displaced very quickly. It was meant to be with the journal-sorry! Altamount 2012 if interested.

I know you are all a very patient lot

20 August 2012 22:43:16

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but i do think if i put another rock up you will collectively scream! Short day today as had only the morning . It was to be a cutting grass day. So naturally Scrubber started by pulling out the old mange tout plants and planting cabbages instead.

Then began to mow near boulder. Then had a thought and ran for spade and exposed more of boulder and found this very satisfying and wondered how to explain it. So ran in for camera being sure a snapshot is better than words!

Then potted on two hebe looking plants and put them in matching wooden tubs at bottom of steps. Replaced a lawn edge by reversing sod and infilling. Used debris from around boulder to fill little dents in lawn. Prepared hole for rose with compost and blood and bone and planted the tesco rose evelyn fisson. Found root of a herbaceous something and replanted that. Swept up all the grass bits from yesterdays strimming and Anna went around the edges and ledges and took out all the debris lurking along kerbs and steps etc. I collected this and got back to cutting grass but remembered very expensive dahlias which hadnt come up this year. Dug for them and found fine fat solid tubers but every shoot had been razored off by slugs. Have found two and theres a third and i am going to do them in pots next year to ensure they survive.

That was todays and um, er Ive included pictures to show how effective a rock becomes if one clears around it a bit. Humour poor Scrubber, he is rock mad!

One thing you can never be sure of....

18 August 2012 20:42:26

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 is where the garden will take you on any given day! Scrubber had his list for today. Three phone calls, then gather up all the brushwood under the beech trees- a good lot especially after the stormy night lately. Then plant out some remaining carrots-He knows it’s chancey but hey! Then strim as much as possible especially the big banks. Then cut grass again to keep it low.He even had worked planned for the study if rain came.

Well he started well. Great bundles of brushwood were dispatched to the bottoms. Then Scrubber thought it would be a good idea to rake the twigs etc off the paths beneath the trees on the slope. While doing so he thought it might be good to continue one of those paths a bit more in the other direction so there would be continuity of line (hope you appreciate Scrubber’s designer idiom Bill!) So did that and when making the new path he dug out a nice sized rock so of course that had to be planted down beside Scrubber stature where a rock was exactly what was needed.

After  lunch Scrubber went back to clearing up and raking and the rake struck what seemed to be a substantial rock! Well he had to try it, hadn’t he-with Cherub whispering in his ear ‘Go get the CROWBAR!) He did and by dint of the same a big rock came to the surface.

Now Scrubber had been looking for a big rock because he had a lovely old stone horse- trough, semicircle, that was attached to the back wall of the rose bed but had fallen off after many years. He had thought if he could find a suitable rock he could use it as a base for the trough. The boulder was man and cherubhandled into the wheel barrow and trundelled down to the rose bed. A hole was dug and it was put in and the Trough-weighing a ton! -was tried. Cement was decided upon so back to garage  and  Scrubber mixed it, aware that Cherub Lute and Cymbals were casting aspersions on the very simple horsetrough which would stand on the wall behind them. Cherub suddenly did a very good impersonation of Sr. Josephine and that shut them up!

After much lifting and hauling and settling and resettling and banging in stones to correct imbalances the stone was ‘planted’ and the trough was set in positon and cement was lashed on with a few prayers that it would eventually all hold together! When finished and all the planks and buckets and tools were taken away Scrubber and Cherub were quite pleased and the pair acknowledged it as quite acceptable, if a ‘little rustic’!

Cherub as is his wont when not required then disappeared. Scrubber planted lots of whatever it was that Ladygardener kindly gave him on her last visit-Periwinkle??? on the main slope. Then he strimmed in earnest for another hour until he became tired and went in to watch the horse show. The carrots alas  must wait another day and the grass will not be cut until next week.

Oh. and with the remaining cement he patched the side of an old quern which will now be termed a bird bath. There was a bit out of the side where I think the threshed (or thrashed! As I saw recently on a sign) corn used flow out. Maybe it’s a desecration but as it now has that new function,(Birdbath), Scrubber excused hisself! And hopes ye will do likewise.

Hope to get up a new album that might clarify what went where!


Computer acting up something maddening!

15 August 2012 12:37:53

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Until i get it fixed I will be off line for a while. It took me two hours to get a journal done last night and then couldnt load it. ill be back as soon as i can!

And even as I write it may have rectified itself-it nearly wrecked Scrubber! Spent whole day cutting grass, lopping Walnut branches dumping them in bottoms and trimming some from the 'cantankerous' hazel

Hum drum but glad i got it done yesterday before todays deluge. Well it seems my farewell above was a bit premature. If this prints out to journal Im back in business!

I could've but I didn't!

14 August 2012 00:17:47

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I was lucky enough to have a little helper with me today and we took down the shuttering and lo and behold Jacinta, there were no holes or gaps and the cement stayed there! Then we brushed proper sand into the tiny spaces between the bricks and along the path.

Then Granddad decided to change a rock slightly and grandaughter agreed it would look much better so-its always lovely to be aided and abetted. Well we dug out a bit and then swivelled the rock a bit and THEN! Grandad's leg went right down into a deep tunnel! And as my lovely granddaughter said 'You could've broken your leg grandad!' Indeed I could've, but luckily I didn't!

What happened was that many years ago before a lot of garden.iers were even born, Scrubber got a man and a bulldozer to pile very very big rocks beside the house where the bank fell steeply away and then  they were covered with clay. Today however the spade found the very edge of a space between the boulders thus the sudden descent into the abyss. We pushed a whole lot of rubble into the hole and finally and upturned white plastic tub and covered that with a 'plank' of iron-a small plate that I had used years ago in a burning place and then filled in the top with clay and sods. It just goes to show that you never can tell what will happen next.

Anyway Grandad is safe, the rock is shifted to a nicer situation, the other rock (Now that I realise how HUGE it is has been exposed a bit more and the path is looking well even if some very heavy excess water from a blocked drain did lodge there in one place-once unblocked, the water went very fast.

Then back to gardening and finished last Walnut and have done most of the cleaning up and circle looks lovely and light. My granddaughter suggested i photograph the Hole fo r'all your garden.ie friends' but i was so determined to get it safely filled I hadnt time! 

Got a nice red rose Evelyn Fisson in Tesco's for a tenner and got two pots of lillies in the Arboretum for the price of one as they have a sale on tomorrow-yes i know i got it today- friends in high places! They are going over-the lillies not the friends! and the perfume is overpowering but i feel ,out in the garden it will waft around rather than perfumepowerhose one.

War on walnuts!

12 August 2012 18:53:41

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Spent most of saturday morning on the walnut circle and the walnut trees that border the lawn. I keep them to about ten feet high and they need to be trimmed twice in the season as otherwise there is huge lax growth and branches break off. It was interesting that this year i was able to trip  inside the canopy of the circle as the branches had just met in the middle. I was also able to take out some branches in there and raise it a little bit inside. This was the first year I could do this so was chuffed. Did the others as well. It meant cutting of about two feet off every branch but they do not look too shorn. I do of course have to forfeit any chance of walnuts which is a pity! The place was like a battlefield but couldnt tidy up. Thats for tomorrow when I shall also be taking away the shuttering from my concrete steps to reveal...? Hope theres no gaping gaps in it!!

Ouch and ouch and ouch again!

08 August 2012 22:24:04

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Scrubber is feeling the sense of having used muscles he had not used in a while today! A different sort of gardening! Having bought a small sack of sand and a small sack of cement he set about edging a step made of  those small blocks, The thinking was if he put a brder of cement around them it would contain them. But blocks had to be cut to fit into the scheme so with hammer and chisel and saftey goggles he managed to split three of the blocks. Then mixed cement and sand in small container and poured, pushed and fingered the cement into the sides. Emboldened by this he dug out between two concrete slabs in the path and filled in with stones-not elegant but functional. Then cemented a big stone firmly into place in the front border. It had come loose and was a danger when little people like to walk on the low wall edging. Finally down to scrub and  cemented in the latest Urn, onto the rock and left a drainage hole underneath which works!

Had about twenty minutes left as we had to go to Kilkenny so trimmed a good deal of the Walnut circle and was really pleased to see that the canopy has really developed. Walnut branches grow very fast and when wet they break off easily so I need to get them all trimmed soon. But was very pleased that the cement worked so well even if I have twinges tonight!




Up to his old antics!

06 August 2012 21:01:03

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Computer is unbelievably slow tonight. Scrubber is back to his old tricks and the muscles are reminding him but thankfully back held out very well. Was out early and began to tidy up the rose bed. It doesn’t seem long since I last did it but fings were going out of control and I had taken out the old gallica roses and it still looked far too crowded. Not too difficult as had made a start yesterday.

Then I found a small rock and that had to go into the steps I was working on yesterday.

Back again. More weeding. Got it clear and ready for new stuff. There’s a path at the side of the house that is inclined to lodge water when it rains. Scrubber thought it would be a good idea to take up the slabs (BIG CONCRETE SLABS!) and reset them with the slope going the other way. All he had to do was leeeeveer them up one by one ,then ‘walk’ them a little bit back. Then rake the clay underneath so that the camber went the other way. Then walk them back and sloooowly lower them into position-and raise them again and put in a pebble or two and lower them again until he got it right. He hadn’t a spirit level so he just poured water on each on as it went down to see if it flowed off! He was glad he didn’t put his back out but  was extremely careful! He was very pleased with the result-‘not perfect but quite satisfactory’ as Sr Josephine never ever said.

Then He put in Shasta daisies (Shaggy) in the rose bed and tied up the roses and the echinops which had gone ‘frahtfully floppy!’ and also the two new Clematis (along with a good fist of  blood fish and bone mixture). Then washed the sitting room windows on the outside and finally planted ,yes planted carrots, Kale and lettuces. He thought it was a bit late to sow the carrots and the Arboretum had lovely trays of them so he sowed them singly in four straight lines. He put in Nine kale and nine lettuces. I think for duffers like Scrubber this might be a better way to go about veg!

So tired but happy. Oh and I found a prominent place Anne, for my dear friend’s goose! Im going to put a fern into the  basket behind her-the goose not my friend! Its near Marian’s bed and I think Marian would have laughed  with delight to see her!

Will try to upload pictures to explain today's stuff.

Very briefly

05 August 2012 14:08:50
Surprise! Surprise!

Surprise! Surprise!

Driving out the gate today I was stopped in my tracks by a big orange blob in the midst of green. As orange is not one of my usual colours I wondered then realised it was a rose from Aldi that had decided to bloom in among the pinks and purples. It will have to be moved but i will find a special place for it. Lovely if somewhat unusual surprise. How did it manage to sneak into bud and then bloom unnoticed?

I distinctly saw Noah floating by today

04 August 2012 21:02:13

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and it was only with great difficulty that I persuaded Shoosh and Dooley to have patience and that the flood would subside. Anyway I told them 'Yer not a pair!' It was delugious!

Anna and I went over to the Arboretum and dermot O Neill, one of natures gentlemen gave a very good talk which unfortunately I missed coming so late. I met the man hisself  for a brief moment. Thought he was looking very very tired. But after all hes ben through im not surprised. He's on tonight with miriam and is in the middle of a new series on his garden.

We got a nice orchid and I got two lovely fuzzy petalled Shasta daisies-unfortunately they stink to high heaven but you cant have everything! . Also got Kale plants lettuces and carrots . I wont have time to sow and plant out so am trying this. In Aldi on the way home i got two lovely Clematis for about 7 euro each. Elsewhere they are 14-17!

So Ill be busy bank holiday monday. By the way Dermot told them there's a granular thing that you can put in when you take out roses and it stops rose disease from affecting new roses-I had my Shastas bought by then so didnt purchase. Something called growmore???

And  now the floods have abated and there are two would be deserters looking for their tea! Soft thats what I am!



'Twas dem darn Suckers that did for dem!'

03 August 2012 20:28:07

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Funny how some days youre wrestlin’, some days youre Waltzin’. I was wrestling yesterday and got an amount of grass cutting and heavy strimming done and carting weeds down to bottoms and cleaning up all around. Then today I was out most of the time but the sum total of the work= two stone steps reset about ten inches to their left! They do look better. Two roses up- rooted and consigned to the rubbish/compost heap. Some of rose bed  weeded. Anna kindly snipped the heads off the Stachys lanata as they are just gone over. Oh and I transplanted a standard Kilmarnock willow from marian’s bed to a  better vantage part. It was taking over the bed and I took a good rootball with it to ensure it travelled. That’s it. Roses, Steps, Tree. Oh and a bit of the rockery but only a little bit. And a bit of edging and reshaping.

The roses had been in trouble for the past few years as  lots of leaves and no flowers. They were gallica and the other pair of gallica in the same bed are always a delight. So I rang Robert Miller (Altamount) who is so helpful. H.L. was on hols so it wouldn’t have been fair. Robert advised Potash but when I said all the other roses are fine he suggested it might be that unknownst to me the suckers had taken over!!! That was enough. They came up easily enough considering they had been there about twenty five years but it was a bit of a wrench. And when I got in to the others , any kind thoughts I might have had about Sally Bindweed-c.f. earlier journals-quickly evaporated. It had got a devilish grip on them and took a lot of work to untangle the mess. Next year!!!

I see Bruno is organizing a trip to Helen Dillons on the 25th. That should be fun!

Am getting to grips with my ipod at last. A Christmas present from two years ago! Slowly does it…Also I put up 18 new photos in August 2012 colllection-most of them are like previous ones im afraid.

Very glad to report that

02 August 2012 22:59:12

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 relations between Scrubber Statue and Cherubs Cymbals and Lute are continuing warm and  friendly. Incidentally Scrubber went to a certain garden centre yesterday and saw three identical Cherub Cymbals! And the label on each of them said Cherub Thimble!  He thinks there’s a mix up somewhere- maybe the labeler has a lisp, Scrubber just cant put his finger on it!

Oh and also Scrubber went into the gents and nearly creased  hisself  laffin’ at the sight of another gentleman p**ing into a Canna Lily. Scrubber had to go into a cubicle lest his giggles be overheared and the dear man think Scrubber was laughing at him rather than the funny situation.  One is just not used to seeing calla lilies being used in such a fashion and Scrubber is afraid he can never look  on those flowers in quite the same manner again. Rachel Doyle (Owner) has a wicked sense of humour!

I mentioned the good relations between the three as evidenced by this scrap overheard today. ‘Scrubber statue, have you seen Mr. Scrubber’s face this morning?’ ‘Yes Cherub Lute, very determined, I thought, a man on a mission!’

Cherub Cymbals ‘I knew Mr. Scrubber was up to sumptin’ serious when he brought out the green canvas sheet. That’s always the sign!’ ‘Yes either that or the Crowbar!’ ‘Well that stayed in so it wasn’t to do with rocks’. ‘I noticed he had been lookin’ very determinedly at the veg yesterday’ ‘What Veg?’ ‘You may well ask!’ Most things bolted like mad this year!’ ‘Like Usain Bolt maybe???’ ‘Tee hee ,Cherub Lute ,!’’ Well it is the Olympics!’ ‘But did you ever see anyone clear a patch as determinedly?’ ‘Heads lopped, Stalks yanked, Scutch whipped, Stakes snatched, Nets folded, Pots removed’ ‘I was getting dizzy just watchin’!’. ‘Wonder what he’ll do tomorrow if its not raining?’

'Dunno, but he has a very determined look in that good eye of his and Shoosh says he has been reading that vegetable book he got from Fran. She sees everything through the windows. And he has been getting advice from Moya and Michelle and other veg experts so maybe, just maybe he’ll start again!’ ‘Deturmined, that’s Mr. Scrubber for ye!’ 'Yeah! Deturmined!'. Sigh from all three.


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