Kevin Smith's Blog

Day 320 - split lip

Friday, 15 July 2011

Right then, it's time for a bit of a catch up. I honestly can't believe we're half way through July - the month has flashed by in a haze of gardening, photo shoots, Take That, fleas, grazes and split lips. It's been all go here in sunny Westcliff.

Let's have a little chat about gardening first - after all, it's what I spend a great deal of my time doing and gardens up and down the country look pretty stonking right now. So, here's a shot of my garden I took a couple of evenings ago:

Pretty good, huh? (even if I do say myself). I must admit that for the first time since its creation, I'm happy with my garden. It's really benefited from me being at home full time, and I've been able to tinker, potter and keep on top of things on a daily basis – what an absolute joy. I've also stuck to the gardening resolutions I made in the autumn (see here), which have made a real impact – it's amazing what early staking, repeat sowing and regular feeding can do. It seems practicing what I've preached in magazines over the years really does work – funny that. I had the lovely Sarah Cuttle here last week, photographing for Gardeners' World Magazine. The garden stood up to the challenge and we were able to find all the locations and settings we needed, making all my hard work worthwhile. Here's Sarah in action:

Of course, I haven't just been keeping an eye on my own garden. My local Parks Department have been bedding out in force, and their displays are beginning to look pretty good (you'll have to take my word for it):

Interestingly, they've also just planted a newly developed stretch of the seafront with herbaceous, more drought-tolerant plants. Here it is:

Sadly pedestrians hadn't any respect for the new plants, trampling right across them before they had a chance to get established. It made me so mad – why can't people look where they're going and have a bit of understanding? I guess that might be a bit much to ask the pleasure-seeking, beer-fueled tourists that descend on the seafront at any sunny moment.

Anyway, that's enough of gardening – let me tell you about Take That. I joined 185,000 people (most of them screaming women) to watch the every-popular man-band take a turn at Wembley. I know it's not a very butch thing to do, although there's not very much butch about me, but thankfully  I wasn't the only man in the crowd. Here's a general overview of the excitement:

The show was jaw-droppingly good, although Gemma and me really aren't used to late nights anymore and the next day was a painfully tiring ordeal. The Pet Shop Boys supported which, in my opinion, was even better than the main event (I'm not even sure half the people in the crowd knew who they were though).

So then, let me get you up to speed on the split-lip situation. No, I haven't been in a fight, but little Ida has been in the wars. She's taken to running at an alarming speed in the last few weeks and keeps going head over heals. She took a spectacular tumble a couple of days ago and ended up with a very bloody split lip and grazed knees. What do you do in these situations? They made me sign a form when I took her to nursery  to say I take reponsibility for the injury. It's the second time I've had to do that – what if they expect me of cruelty and are compiling a file to use against me. Eek. Anyway, here she is (pre tumble) so you can see she's still alive and no cruelty's going on. She's eating an enormous marsh-mallow sweet (it's not all River Cottage fodder 'round these parts), just in case you were wondering. Oh, and check out her fringe. I cut it in one lightning snip of the scissors. It is crooked if you look closely, but I don't think it's half bad. Just call me Vidal:

Okay, that's it for now. I think I've covered the best bits.

Until next time...

Ooh, I didn't tell you about the fleas. On second thoughts, I'm not going to. Feeling itchy?

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Kevin Smith | Garden Media Writer and Editor

On 31 August 2010 I quit my full-time job as the Commissioning Editor at Gardeners' World Magazine to be a stay-at-home dad  and to try and scratch a living as a freelance garden journalist. It's often said that a 'life change' is good, but can I cut it with the yummy mummys? Will I manage to get a single shred of work done? Will Ida (she's the gorgeous little girl who's the cause of all this) like gardening as much as me? Who knows, we're going to find out...