iPods, Walrus and Grovelling in the Dirt.

Happy New Year to you all.

May your lums always reek and the slugs choose your neighbours’ Hostas over yours.

I have eaten far more than is good for me over the past couple of weeks and, as a result, feel like a slightly lethargic walrus flapping around on a pebbly beach somewhere. I also have a cold and am finding it quite tricky to stop procrastinating and actually do some proper work. This blog is a way to ease myself gently into other things that probably involve going outside into the filthy weather.

On a couple of occasions I managed to stagger away from a plate and do a bit of gardening over Christmas. The big project was cajoling my sons to help me dismantle the pergola in preparation for a bit of a remodelling: I am thinking trees. This went remarkably smoothly with only minor grumbling from the workforce. At the moment it looks a bit ghastly but I will show you pictures soon.

The other garden forays were to begin the annual process of cutting everything down and ferretting out large weeds that have remained hidden all year. This is one of my favourite occupations as I get to crawl around amongst plants and there are few things better that looking back upon a newly weeded and gently turned piece of ground. It helped that the weather is so mild. It is quite a solitary pastime so I find an iPod an invaluable companion. Before iPods I usually carted a radio around with me but it always got rained on or mud got into the sub-woofers or something. I tend to listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks rather than music unless I am doing something unnecessarily energetic that requires rhythm and bounce rather than just distraction.

My Top Five “Things to Listen to While Gardening” at the moment are:

Gardeners Question Time: The Podcast version. A classic, comfortable format that does not tend to change much but you are sure to pick up something useful (and rather more information than is comfortable about Bob Flowerdew’s peeing habits.)

The History of Rome: We are currently on the declining years but the back episodes are available. Fascinating stuff with lots of mad emperors, military campaigns, persecuted Christians (and Pagans) all neatly packaged and well read by the author.

Audible: the place to go for Audiobooks.I have been listening to The House of Silk, a new Sherlock Holmes book written by Anthony Horowitz. Sounds like a really bad idea but in fact it is brilliantly done: feels as if Conan Doyle is leaning over his shoulder.

Anything by Johnny Cash : excellent for wheelbarrowing (especially At Folsom Prison or early stuff with June Carter: the later American Recordings, while brilliant, lack sufficient razzle to keep you going)

Some Classical Stuff: in particular Mozart’s Requiem, Verdi’s La Traviata, Handel’s Messiah or Bach’s Trumpet music. Given a bit of volume this is good for digging or vigorous hoeing.



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2 Responses to iPods, Walrus and Grovelling in the Dirt.

  1. byrnesunit says:

    Happy New Year, James.

    Hope the Patron Saint of Slugs is listening. I’d never be without my solar-powered radio at the allotment – it also takes batteries and is wind-up so every eventuality is covered. It’s very robust too, as I often step on it and/or kick it over. I often take the iPod too so may be I’ll try a podcast or audiobook this year. A do-able resolution at last.

    The House of Silk was excellent, wasn’t it. I “Kindled” it over the holiday.

  2. Ben Lannoy says:

    Hi James,

    It’s so good to hear someone else who is using their time wisely! I LOVE listening to podcasts and audiobooks while gardening and have learnt so much to help myself and my business online. I’ve consumed all of the historic London books by Peter Ackroyd along with thousands of hours of podcasts on green living, online marketing and much much more! There’s never been an easier time to do 2 things at once and with podcasts often being free it’s just getting better.

    Great post and hopefully others will catch onto the audio revolution!

    Happy New Year!

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