Archie Hume of A Hume Country Clothing on falling for gardening in your middle years.
It would be true to say that in my case, the apple has not fallen far from the tree. It was never my plan for it to be like that – it wasn’t like I was conscious of falling and thought, ‘Oh there’s a prime spot beneath the boughs. I’ll just plop myself down there by the tree’.
It just turns out that way when you go into the family business. And I’ve always loved Kelso, so there’s never been a temptation to move.
I should probably admit up front, that being the apple that didn’t fall far has turned out pretty well for me. For one thing, it means I’ve had the good fortune to have been part of a closeknit group of friends for as long as I can remember.
Lifelong friends with whom I’ve shared lifelong interests, such as cricket, golf and rugby – which, being from the Borders, is pretty much compulsory. We’ve shared decades together watching cricket, playing golf and as Scotland and Lions fans. We’ve travelled to matches, celebrating the highs and drowning the disappointments.
But whilst there are aspects of life that have followed a welltrodden path, there are aspects of this well-trodden path that have snuck up on me. That perhaps I should’ve seen coming – but who does?
Those predictably middle-aged interests and hobbies that youth immunises against but that in hindsight I was destined for from the start.
There you go, it’s that apple falling unconsciously from the tree again. It seems likely that throughout my whole life I was moving towards the point where shaking a pack of tomato seeds into my hand, whilst anticipating their rampant summer growth and the waft of peppery spice that smacks me in the chops as I open the greenhouse door, would be the highlight of my year.
The point at which I would cherish the annual highs and rewards of veg growing infi nitely more than the comparable pleasures (or not) of being a Scottish rugby fan.
At least I know I’ll get a couple of fruits/bit of a yield before the blight sets in…if only the same could be said of the Six Nations…
I’m certain my younger self would’ve been mortified at the far from teenage kick I get from my yellow courgettes. Or the toecurling spectacle I make as I plant out my expertly chitted seed potatoes – singing ‘Going Underground,’ as I heap crumbly loam hopefully over the spuds in perfect time to the rebel anthem.
To be fair, the prospect of mortification isn’t restricted to teenage Archie. I often look up from my veg tending to see Karen staring at me from a window wearing a confused – almost-frown. It’s not quite disapproval – and she happily scoffs the produce from my patch. But I’d say she doesn’t get it. The joy and near obsessive level of engagement that those who do get it associate with growing veg.
The sort of obsession that can lead to late night sessions alone in front of the blue glow of a computer screen furtively watching Beechgrove and Gardener’s World on iPlayer. Slightly ashamed.
But only slightly… because those hours I spend pottering around the greenhouse and the satisfaction and pleasure I gain from them are worth every craic about going to seed and spading away.