We visited a new garden centre today.

That’s my life now. I get excited about new garden centres.

I used to hate garden centres. Plants are not my thing. And yet I was there. Willingly.

I have changed.

I’m not sure I like it.

The garden centre we went to is reasonably close, just past the National Coal Mining Museum. It has a lovely friendly feel to it – it seems to be one of those where everyone in there knows everyone else.

We were the youngest people in there.

By some way.

It was like strolling into a care home, but one with an outdoor area you could pick up plants in. Or one where the residents would barge at you with strange barrow-esque trolleys. Or just push you out of the way to get at the plants they wanted to see.

But it was a nice place. In keeping with our new tradition, of spending money wherever we go, we managed to drop sixty quid on things. And only ten pounds of that was on a metal windmill shaped like a dog.


We only went for a couple of clematis. And came back with all sorts of stuff. And we looked at a hell of a lot more. But when you’ve spent about half an hour in the baking morning sun trying to untie a clematis from another one without doing too much damage to either of them, you’ve had enough of garden centres for the day. There’s only so much cheer a novelty dog windmill can bring you.

Once you’re in there, though, you’re very much in there. The car park is not conducive to leaving. We were blocked in, of sorts, by someone who parked in a place where there are no bays to park. They just chucked their car in between two shelved trolleys full of plants. And while you’re trying to guide your beloved out of the space, avoiding this car, pensioners are just strolling past the back of your car with gay abandon. And, in one particular case, grinning weirdly. And then there’s everyone in the café watching through the massive window. And you know that one of the fogies in there is responsible for the dubious parking job you’re currently trying to negotiate.

We’ll probably be back there next week.

This is my life now.