Thursday, June 21, 2007

How to grow your own drugs...

If the title of this passage and its labels doesn't get me arrested then I don't know what will, well actually as my friend is a serving police officer, I do, but still...

Once upon a time, a long long time ago, about 1982 actually, I was living in a small flat in a small village in the far north east of this dear country of ours, when I say it was a small flat I mean that I had a double bed that left only one inch of clearance in which to move down the room, and when I erected a christmas tree in the living room at christmas (of course, I am not that stupid), then I couldn't see the tv set around it, I spent the christmas season watching tv through a tree.

Anyhoo, my only ornament in the flat was a big green bottle garden.

Of course you remember bottle gardens, they were de riguer in the 1970's, so de riguer that my mother had bought this one and then passed it on to me when she bored of it, it sat on my fire hearth and grew foreign plants inside its green glass encave until one day they all died, watering may have been the cause, a lack of it of course, and I couldn't be arsed to buy new plants to put in it.

I was being courted by the woman who later tells me that she legally attached herself to my bank account by means of marriage (I remember nought) and as usual she was around at my flat pestering the life out of me one day (twas always thus) when she spotted the empty bottle garden and claimed it for her own mothers house.

Her family lived in the same small mining village, so small was it that everyone knew everyone else, everyone spaketh to each other, everyone was dirt poor in the pit village and proud of it so a bottle green bottle garden was somewhat burgeois and a thing to show off and if I wouldn't plant it then she and her sister would and they'd show it off in their front window.

And they did.

And then their plants died too, well, dandelions will die inside a bottle garden inside a front window, the heat inside the bottle garden must have touched egg-frying proportions some days.

And it was on one day when the bottle garden stood in their mothers bay window, empty and bereft of plants when their uncle walked in the front door - that was another thing about their village, everyone just walked in your house, knocking on the door was snobbish and unheard of,they just walked in, talked endlessly all afternoon, ate your home cooking and then left, such is life in a small pit village.

So Uncle Jon-ner walks in, why they called him Jon-ner I do not know, it was the name that he answered to is the most likely answer, an old uncle who had been invalided out of the pit at a young age and now suffered from dodgy legs and completely knackered lungs, knackered by fumes from an underground fire one day at the pit when one of their machines had gone up in flames and nearly taken him with it.

So he'd been retired for ever, lived alone in a pit cottage that was his rent paid for life as part of his pay-off, he spent his days wandering the village talking to anyone, tending his allotment (his onions and leaks were things of wonder), and as is the want of all pitmen, keeping caged bords (or as the rest of country say, birds).

As he wandered in the house he spotted the empty bottle garden and, as I was also sat in the mother-in-law's living room I actually saw him do this, he dipped his hand in his scruffy jacket pocket, drew forth a handfull of bord seed and threw it in the bottle garden, nothing more was said, he looked not at me and simply wandered off again.

A few weeks later we spotted green shoots emerging from the compost in the bottle garden, the wife-to-be and her sister were delighted, it was their precious tending of the bottle garden they explained, their green fingers that had coaxed life out of the barren bottle garden and they continued to water the fledgling plants until some of them were large and hairy and starting to poke out of the top of the bottle garden and showing no signs of stopping.

That weekend the family were gathered in the mother-in-laws living room gossiping, for that is what everyone in the village was good at, and the gathered throng included Jon-ner who, like myself, sat there and said nought for our opinions were worthless in the room full of women.

Until the wife-to-be and her sister happened to mention their beautiful bottle garden and its collection of wierd plants that even now were thrusting through the bottle lid towards the ceiling, spreading a strange musty smell around the room as they did so - everyone in the room admired them.

Except Jon-ner, he just laughed.

The women folk turned on him and asked of why he was laughing so heartily and challenged him to produce such beautiful and strange plants on his allotment with the same level of success that the wife-to-be and her sister had.

He admitted that he wouldn't be able to acheive the same level of success on his allotment as hemp plants needed heat and light to grow to such good proportions - I started laughing then.

Still the womenfolk were bemused and requested of me why my laughter.

"Cannabis" I answered, "you and your sister are growing cannabis in your mothers living room"

Jon-ner confirmed that indeed it was a well known fact that his bord seed contained hemp and in the corner of the room grew a wonderful example of the plant, the mother-in-law-to-be, the wife-to-be and her sister went absolutely ape-shit and somewhow I got to take some of the flak, maybe because I couldn't stop laughing at their panic especially when they tried to burn one of the plants on the open coal fire and Jon-ner pulled up his seat and asked if he could have a roll-up from the debris.

And it was Jon-ner who got me into trouble again on another occasion.

We purchased, for the better elegance of my flat, a large and old chinese bamboo bird, sorry, bord cage from a junk shop, hung it in my living room and stuck a plant inside it, very Jasper Conran.

As it was soon my birthday (or borthday) and as Jon-ner was permenantly skint for the National Coal Board were not reknown for generous pensions, he walked into my flat one day, unannounced as usual, walked over to the bordcage, put something inside it then walked out again, wishing me a happy borthday on the way out.

I took a look inside the bordcage, and found the pitmans friend - a canary.

It drove us fucking mental for months.

It was a beautiful canary its true, pure yellow, a vivid, brilliant yellow and as it was a cock bord it sang for a mate.

It sang from sun-up to sun-down.

It sang with the shrill-est voice you have ever heard, shrill enough to hurt your ears, up and down the scales it trilled for hour after hour, singing, singing, singing until you started to hallucinate, the singing was so loud that we couldn't talk in the flat and had to stand out on the balcony to converse until we realised that the balcony was the best place for the canary and I took to hanging his cage out there at 6am every morning bringing it back in around midnight - it just made the situation worse because now the canary could see other bords in the trees and just sung harder for their future affections.

We threw things at the cage and he'd stop for 30 seconds then when he thought the coast was clear he'd start again, neighbours came around to complain and I had to stop leaving him on the balcony, we'd cover the cage up with a blanket to fool him into thinking it was night-time but he'd always find a crack of light creeping through a creas somewhere and he'd stick his beak through that and sing again, we stopped feeding him but he wouldn't die, I didn't think that something so small and insignificant as a tiny little songbird could set your nerves so close to the edge that you considered suicide, but believe me, it can.

Jon-ner was consulted at length and he decided that a female canary would stop the singing and so one day and without prior arrangement Jon-ner arrived, walked in the flat, opened the cage, took something from his pocket , placed it in the cage and walked out without sayong anything this time.

The singing stopped.

The two bords spent the next two weeks staring at each other from opposite ends of the cage, just staring.

And then one evening as we sat watching The Rockford Files on tv world war three broke out in our antique chinese bamboo cage.

It lasted but a few seconds, a few seconds of fury and yellow feathers galore and when it went silent again two dead canaries lay in the bottom of the cage.

We later consulted Jon-ner who removed the bodies for a post mortem at his allotment with his pitman friends and he returned and confirmed that the second canary was also a cock bord and if theres one thing that cock bord canaries hate more than anything its another fooking cock bord canary trying to mount them one night.

We told him that we required no more canaries thank you so in future he only brought onions and leaks around to the flat.


Lisa said...

That was fookin' AWESOME. Greatest story I've read in a long time!!!

Island Girl said...

I have tried for awhile to think of something adequate to say, but failed. So I just thought I'd say that this was one of the best-er posts ev-er! Why do I call it that? Because it's the name it answers to is the most likely answer!

Gary said...

Aw gee shucks thanks.

Its all true though, I've never looked bird seed in the face in quite the same way again.

Anonymous said...

I nominated you for POST OFTHE WEEK
sadly it didn't win!
Shame as I thought it brilliant.

kath said...

I nominated you for Blog of the Week, sadly it didn't win.

Gary said...

Kath ... Why thank you, I never knew.
Now I know - I'm sad :(

kath said...

I'm still laughing at "Three Big Poos" Tell it as it was on here Please!

Gary said...

OK - three big poos - the raw version - tomorrow

kath said...