On not having straight lines

Now I’m of an artistic bent, and I can do straight lines. I can write on blackboards in straight lines. I’m well used to writing on straight lines. I’m used to getting teenagers to line up, which is akin to keeping chickens in a straight line. We used to say teaching is like herding cats. It isn’t. It’s like herding chickens. A whole world more difficult. You’d think straight lines would come naturally, then, given my past.

Not so.

I’ve just planted my cauliflowers out, and it looks entirely random. It looks, in fact, as if someone had an idea of what a straight line might be and then ignored it completely. Kind of like the Inuit imagining the desert and then doing their own thing with a whole load of sand if asked to create a desert, putting it all in pots or something. It looks like I’ve tried to be random. And this is frustrating, because I didn’t. It doesn’t even look artistically random. Oh well. The cauliflowers will either grow or they won’t, and it doesn’t really matter if they’re in a straight line because I hope they’ll soon be great big things that will either look even more random, or like they’re in some semblance of a straight line.

Now I aspire to be like M. Richon, our elderly neighbour, whose straight lines are immaculate. I bet if you put a ruler by them, they’d be perfect. I bet his plants are all equidistant. Mine aren’t. This disappoints me even more.

Not only that, but despite my raking, the veg plot I’ve put them in is like a mini-version of the Alps, up and down and not at all flat. Let’s just say I’ve disappointed myself. Oh well. I’m giving a gallic shrug at this point and trying not to care, even though my pride is a bit dented. I’d love to take photos of immaculate rows of cauliflowers, but I suspect they’ll never see the ethernet out of my own shame.

But the cauliflowers have gone outside.

This is as traumatic to me as leaving Jake at school on his first day, which was very traumatic indeed. I’m worried about my cauliflowers outside of the warmth of the polytunnel, even though I’ve done everything I can to acclimatise them. It will be the first thing I’ll do in the morning – go out and check they’ve all made it through the night. I planted them out today because it’s kind of overcast and apparently, it’s going to rain later. We’ve not had much in the way of rain recently (and I’m hoping it doesn’t all appear when Jasmin is here, or my mum, though I suspect my mum cares less about sunshine than Jasmin might, and either way, neither would care very much since they’re here to see us, not our glorious blue skies. Although glorious blue skies are an added bonus.) and so I’m hoping it will rain and get them nice and moist so they can bed in. Just like leaving a child at primary school, you do all you can to make it pleasant, but you worry, probably much more than you ever need to. And what’s worse is that I know that these are just seeds, not babies. Maybe there’s a reason they call it a ‘nursery’ for plants… the place they go before the big, wide world where they’ll encounter slugs and snails, moles and rabbits, cats and dogs and the likes.

I’ve also planted some beetroot in our bumpy, lumpy, uneven veg plot. Apparently, they don’t like to be moved. They like the big wide world to start with. Now I’m really worried about that. If any of them appear, I shall be amazed.

I’ve gone back to using the dibber, which Steve hid from me on account of various threats of dibber abuse on my behalf. I used to dig out little rows and then plant stuff in but I’m also, it transpires, very bad at spacing things out. Thus my turnips aren’t in a nice, even line, but in a big clump that I’ll have to separate. So back to the dibber, which gives you real backache. Bend, dib, plant, cover, stretch. Ad infinitum. You can’t sit down and do it. You have to go along, standing and crouching. If I end up with a hump, I won’t be surprised.

I’ll be having a sleepless night tonight, partly because of the worry over my cauliflowers and partly because I’ve crippled myself. Maybe, partly, I shall be worrying over the lumps and bumps and dodgy lines. This is how nature brings you to your knees.

4 thoughts on “On not having straight lines

  1. I had to Google “dibber” LJ…I think I need one of those! My planting method is questionable…my rows are completely eyeballed, so rarely straight! As long as the stuff grows, I’m okay with crookedness…


    1. Well, I’m in good company, then! I just want my rows to be like M. Richon’s! I might ask him how he gets his so straight. He thinks I’m simple enough as it is. I’m sure he thinks the village has found a new idiot.

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