Two Mrs Strachans & A Garden Centre

Tuesday 17th April (Part 2) – Spent the afternoon in a local garden centre. A newly constructed, contemporary building with an up-market café/restaurant, state of the art horticultural equipment, a stock of shrubs that would usurp the Garden of Eden’s and more scented candles than you can shake a stick at……. If required, this impressive garden emporium can even sell you the stick to shake at the scented candles.

My garden centre companions were spouse Karen, along with my mater Maggie. An idiosyncratic pair who exhibit overt giddiness in the presence of perennial flora/fauna, cheesecloth & banana scented wax lights and organic tea grown locally in the tap room of the Garforth Working Mens Club.

Consequently my last few hours have been spent listening to two Mrs Strachans (senior and junior) making inane observations which included:-

Maggie “I see magnolias are the plant of the month…… I love magnolias.

Maggie – “Our Ian’s magnolia died after he fed it with cheese on toast.”,

Karen – “My mum once had magnolia. It wasn’t keen on dairy products either. She killed it by feeding it milk instead of water.”

Karen – “My sister Sue’s dog loves chasing the stick she waves at scented candles……. Unless she uses a magnolia twig, which for some reason he turns his nose up at.

Maggie – “Actually it isn’t magnolias I like!….. I was mistaking them for the magenta plant….. I am allergic to magnolia’s; they bring me out in hives.”

I always opine that I’m as fond of gardening as the next man……. Having said that, I’m standing adjacent to a bloke wearing a ‘I Chuffing Hate Gardening’ t-shirt, so it appears I’m wide of the mark with that particular adage.

Yours truly spends hours in my front and back gardens during the spring, summer and autumn seasons. Time spent heartily scarifying, hoeing, aerating, weeding, mowing and avoiding chatting to Karen about the topic of magnolias.

It’s cathartic work that from April until the conclusion of fall bestows a horticultural exhibition of chromatic beauty. A display of colour that when I sit gawping at it from my top patio I never fail to think to myself “Bloody hell, that neighbourhood cat is cr**ing in my garden again!!!”


This is the second narrative I’ve written today. A parody of my wife and mother’s quirky interactions during a garden centres sojourn – A monologue I felt moved to write as the alternative was watching EastEnders and Holby City with the old lady. A situation I’d find even less agreeable than the inane magnolia chatter of Mrs Strachan senior and junior.

As is my want for over 90% of my blogs, this offering is a literary flight by the seat of my pants. Ad-libs which generally turn up uninvited, but if they make me laugh or I find them thought-provoking are most welcome visitors.

Not everything I convey either raises a self chuckle or could be described as remotely profound – Like this paragraph it’s generally included as literary padding. Additional prose to take me past my goal of five hundred words minimum.

When I started this tome I was sweating from mowing the front and back lawn at my mother’s Wakefield residence. I’d perched my backside in an armchair, mulling over what the heck I could possibly relay to the reader from a highly uneventful afternoon.

It’s now just gone 9pm British Summer Time (BST), the perspiring has abated and I’m drawing close to concluding this monologue. Sitting in an armchair at the opposite side of the room, Maggie is watching a recording which documents a nature project being fronted by the Queen. Our monarch’s green legacy to the planet.

Thankfully, the show hasn’t yet included any magnolias, so mater remains hive free. She instead sits quietly in reverence of Her Majesty – Her only verbal offering so far being “I wish that David Attenborough would tuck his bleeding shirt in!

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