Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

In Or Out Of The EU Garden?

Posted: 04/03/2016 at 21:21

I have to correct the misapprehension that we were EVER given the vote to decide whether or not to JOIN the then Common Market.  We were signed up for it, like it or lump it, by one E. Heath Esq.  It was Wilson who called the plebiscite for the population to decide if we wanted to remain part of the "club".

At that time, I was an active campaigner for us to remain, believing in better trade (in comparison with EFTA) and a better long term future.

I rather regret my youthful enthusiasm - although I have yet completely to make up my mind on the forthcoming vote.

The problems are well documented - there is endemic corruption (just think of all the subsidies paid for more olives groves than actually exist, for example.)  The accounts have not been signed off for two decades (and if a private company was run like that, the directors would get short shrift - assuming that they weren't behind bars).

 The project has morphed from a trading agreement to "ever more closer political union" - and that has never been offered to the population as an option.  From the Common Market we have had the European Economic Community, The European  Community and now The European Union.  We have never voted for these evolved manifestations, and our influence is diminished the more we are subsumed by other countries that wish to join.

The Gallic Shrug epitomises the way in which some countries actually implement the European diktats.  Sign up for anything and obey it if they feel like it.  And we, goody two-shoes, adopt and obey every rule and regulation that comes our way.

Remember the BSE crisis?  When our national herd was declared safe, the Germans and French still refused to allow us to send our beef to them.  Germany backed down when faced with legal action.  France did not, and was due to pay hefty fines as a result.

Guess how much they ever paid for preventing us from trading legally in our quality beef?  Nothing.  Ever.  Gallic shrug again.

They have interfered with all levels of society, and we gardeners have felt the effects in many ways.  There have been products withdrawn because they are unsafe, and has been pointed out upthread, they almost certainly would have been banned in any case.

But there are other products that are "banned" because, even though they are safe to use, they are produced by companies that do not have the resources to put them through long and very expensive testing/validation procedures.

And many of the banned products are less to do with inherent dangers per se, but are far too often the result of national lobbying on the grand scale.

I would like to see the whole project re-configured to bring about more simple trading positions, with more local influence restored to national parliaments. I would like to see the whole Schengen experiment consigned to history - a madcap scheme that is reaping mayhem at the moment.  I await positive proposals to bring this about from anyone entering the debating arena.



Buying a new shed...nightmare

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 21:10

aym280 - I took your advice and posted on Facebook:  I have had a response from Argos.  Yes - you did read that right!  I actually got a response!  Now that in itself is something of a result.  They have asked for the order number so they can follow it up.  We'll see what tomorrow brings - I live in hope.

Buying a new shed...nightmare

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 17:07

Actually I am awaiting a response from Argos (I chased it by phone and they have promised to contact me this week - their  correspondence department being "a bit behind").  In my letter I gave them ten working days to sort it our or we would take the sofabed to the shop from whence it was ordered and leave it there and bill them for the van, on top of existing claim for compensation. 

to be continued . . . . . . .


Buying a new shed...nightmare

Posted: 25/02/2016 at 14:12

I have recent experiences with Argos (sofabed) and Homebase (shed) and both show the poor service that we are meant to accept!

Argos: sofabed ordered and paid for October.  Delivered beginning of December - broken.  Date for replacement given - they failed to deliver.  New date set for end of January,  subsequently changed to mid February.  They failed to turn up (again).  The contract has been cancelled.  Letters sent to CEO (recorded delivery) elicited no response.  We await collection of defective item and refund + compensation.

Homebase: Shed: ordered beginning of January.  Delivered with a broken side panel. 

Three deliveries attempted to replace the broken panel - except they sent the wrong one each time.  Finally they delivered the right one.  And then tried to deliver another one the following day!

Persistence is required to get things satisfactorily sorted out (and believe me, I'm being very persistent with Argos).  But what an indictment of our "Customer Service".

If all else fails, the Small Claims Court beckons.  Trading Standards can exert pressure, but they deal with the criminal law rather than consumer law per se.

Verbena bonariensis

Posted: 21/02/2016 at 16:05


This is my Verbena Bonariensis last year, used as a loose screen to mask an unlovely fence. 

We have moved since then - but the seedlings that I potted up have survived, and I shall look forward to the flowers later this year.


New fence

Posted: 24/01/2016 at 21:16

Boundaries can cause such problems it seems.  A couple of fence panels blew down in the wind between neighbour and us.  We've only been here since November, but she is a widow, so we propped the panels up, and asked her to get new panels in place and we would meet her half way on the cost (which we have done).  It's her fence - but why should we stand on legalities when there is someone who doesn't need the financial hassle?

I like to think I'm a good neighbour - and I would do all that I could to help someone out.  But it seems there are lots of people for whom the word "neighbourliness" never entered their dictionary.  Their loss.  The world is a better place if you can get along with others.  And when you can't - well that suggestion of wire to mark the boundary and a fence that is truly your own seems the only logical way to go. 

Hope it all works out for you.

Begonia tubers

Posted: 23/01/2016 at 20:08

I wonder if you have planted them upside-down Rosie?  It seems counter-intuitive, but the depression in the tuber is actually the top of it, and the rounded side is the base.  They also don't like being planted too deeply, so worth trying again.  The tubers can be dried off and used each year, but they are a bit on the tender side, so planting them out in April may not help,  I would suggest planting them in the early spring either indoors or under glass in a greenhouse (which I have done successfully) and then, as they come into growth harden them off before placing them outside.

I haven't grown them for a few years tbh so maybe someone else has different experiences/ideas. 

3 new garden progs this week.......

Posted: 23/01/2016 at 17:50

Oh - is she the Sultry One with sidelong glances at the camera?  Coo - I didn't know there were famous people on this board!  I feel touched by greatness (and a desire to eat whatever yumminess is being cooked up  ).

3 new garden progs this week.......

Posted: 23/01/2016 at 17:42

Verdun - are you sure you don't mean cookery progs?  As soon as you blink, there's another one or three in the schedules.  How to Cook.  Do You Want to Cook.  Can you Cook?  Can you-look-sultry-at-the-camera and Cook?  Is there Life After Cooking? etc etc etc etc etc etc etc  

Anyone done any gardening today?

Posted: 23/01/2016 at 14:36

Verdun - I've done that successfully in the past.  Trouble is, these pots are (because of the move) multi-planted with spring bulbs.  So I've taken the obviously damaged bits away for destruction, picked out the grubs I could see and drenched the rest - but put the affected pots in quarantine until I can deal with them! 

Thank goodness I did plant some daffs, crocus and tulips in pots - this garden is a desert so far as spring bulbs are concerned!  (But all the more of a blank canvas for me to do with as I please).

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