Alexander Averin

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Monty Don

Dear Diary,

The Solitary Digger Paul Henry

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This was going to be a rant.

I was going to blog  at length today about the NHS, about the daylight robbery that is the cost of parking In English hospitals (£9.50 yesterday for a stay of just over five hours). I was going to blog about the abysmal state of our NHS, the bad management, (the over-management). The waiting around without any information, the too many people walking round with bits of paper, the patronising attitude of some local practice nurses and radiographers, the groups of hospital nurses standing round talking while people are suffering…..stop me now.  I write as an ex-nurse and I know  there are many angels in the medical profession but not all are by any means. 

Of course it's not all bad.  I have so much  and so many people in the service to praise and may blog about them one day but I hear the horror stories on a regular basis now.

Rant over.

For reading a gem of a book in bed this morning has put me in a better frame of mind. Thank you Monty.

I just have to recommend this book to you if  you are even only slightly into gardening.
I mentioned it in an earlier blog ,  I was looking forward to reading it but was still only at the drooling stage.

Now I am about half way through.

I have read Monty Don’s books before because he is a lovely man and a good writer.  When someone’s writing is true and comes from the heart doesn’t it show?  I borrowed this copy of The Ivington Diaries from the library but I would love to own it and it would make a great Christmas present.

Many books can make you feel inadequate when you read them; many gardening and cookbooks often come into that category.  They are not inspiring then are they?  Monty writes with honesty and admits that there are days when he cannot garden, days when life and all its foibles gets in the way.  And he is honest about not doing all the work himself, his wife helps, his children help and he employs staff who he obviously appreciates and acknowledges their input.  So many people have fantastic magazine worthy gardens but never do a stroke of work in them themselves apart from a few cosmetic touches or the design.   But Monty works hard in the garden too and shows how it was started from absolute scratch.  I know Ivington as we toured the area when we were on my husband’s genealogy trail so that makes it even more close to home - it is not that far away.

It is not just about gardening.  It is laced with wisdom and the spirituality of  his natural surroundings shines through. And he mentions his pets and local people.   And good old common sense, useful tips and photos to drool over, Monty has an artistic eye for photography too.  I wish it was Spring because he has made me want to be out planning  and gardening myself. 

I haven’t checked if they have the same publisher but it is produced in the same format as Nigel Slater’s cookbooks (like the Kitchen Diaries and his latest one).  Nigel Slater is another man I admire so if you are looking for foody-book-type Christmas presents he is another author I would recommend. 

(I can’t believe it but I have just been guilty of mentioning the dreaded C word in October!.)

I will report back on The Ivington Diaries when I have read more as no doubt there are more treasures within its pages still to uncover.

And now for something completely different.  I have to leave you with a poem, for more distraction I read this poem this morning and will share it with you.

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as freelances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

 -- Louis MacNeice

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Mark said...

Fantastic painting. I like Monty Don too; more real than most celebrities.

Regards your comment over at the bike shed - yes I did paint the picture. And I am just about to post some pics of Strata Florida on my 'other blog'.

gaelikaa said...

It's great to get a book you really enjoy, isn't it?

All the best with the grandchild coming along! I'll be remembering you!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I do love your book suggestions! Thank you.

It's not a good day to talk to me about the problems with the NHS. I just this minute opening an envelope from my health insurance company informing me that as of January 1st they are increasing our premiums to $1150 a month. And we are just two, healthy people with no doctor bills to speak of. Is there a good system anywhere??

elizabethm said...

I have many of his other books so will have to get this one too. I didn't like The Jewel Garden as much, not enough text for me, but loved The Complete Gardener. I also admire his work rehabilitating drug addicts, not easy and no one would think any less if him if he passed it by!

Elizabeth said...

Please don't rant about the NHS until you have lived in America for a few years.
I know there are awful snafus in the NHS, of course there are.
However take a case in America where the young couple had insurance (not everyone does). Flu, horrible complications of pregnancy, baby ultimately dies.
Insurance company pays 80% of bills.
Couple left after this ordeal owing over a hundred thousand pounds sterling.
You would not believe how expensive American health care is and they send you for endless tests just to cover themselves.
Doctors and nurses probably the same all over the world. Some wonderfully caring and saintly and some with no people-skills at all.
YES, gardening is the answer!
Hope you will do something halloweeny tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about the current state of the NHS -when you get to see a consultant, treatment is excellent. It's the admin side and attitude that makes me so mad.

I'm not a fan of Monty Don but you have inspired me to get hold of the book you mention. Thanks for suggesting it.

Frances said...

Cait, the poem at the beginning of this post had words bearing thoughts that really touched me tonight. Thank you!

I share Elizabeth's sentiments re American "private ... not public, shudder, shudder, health care." Over here if you have a good job and good employer, you might just have access to good health care. Otherwise ... take your chances.

I am also hoping that you'll be posting something Halloweeny. xo

Cait O'Connor said...

I fear we are heading the American way regarding our health (sickness) care.

As I sat waiting in the hospital with M (there is a long saga which I won't bore you with but may blog it one day) I heard myself saying 'If we win the lottery we'll go private' - how sad is that? I would never have uttered those words before.

Secondly our NHS is not free - we pay National Insurance, quite a big amount comes out of my salary each month. We have lost dental treatment, how long before the rest of the NHS is partly privatised as well?

The point I was trying to make is that there is mis-management of funding and extreme waste of money in the system.

pinkfairygran said...

I finished Monty's book last weekend, and as I said on my blog when I began the book, you can really hear his voice, such a gorgeous voice too, soothing like warm caramely toffee sauce on soft sponge. I have all his books, the first I ever bought - and sorry to repeat myself for those who read my blog as well, and especially the latest one on Books - was from a shop in Hay on Wye, specialising in garden/nature/wildlife books, and since then I have bought the rest, more or less as they have come out. But IVINGTON is a wonderful book, to look at and to read.

ChrisH said...

I'm sorry the hospital was such a trial, the parking fees feel like an extra burden, don't they? I like what you said about the most immediate writing comming straight from the heart; the integrity of a piece like that, or in this case, a book, always comes across.

Tattie Weasle said...

Now I know what to get Dear Charlie for Christmas - in fact I don't think I'm going to wait that long. Totally agree with you re NHS and its mismanagement.

Cottage Garden said...

This book is going on my Christmas Wish List. You have compelled me to read it! I agree with you about Nigel Slater - I have all his books and love it when he makes a rare appearance on TV.

Wonderful Goethe quote and poem too!

Have a great weekend. Jeanne x

CAMILLA said...

I am hoping to receive the Monty Book soon Cait, can't wait to read it.

I worked for the NHS for many years, but sadly it is so different now to what is used to be like of days gone by. More red tape now, the big chiefs worrying about their fat pay packets and not the patients always. We were going to 'picket' us nurses to save the closing of a wonderful small community hospital where we nurses worked, and all because they wanted to close it down and not bear a thought for those patients.

My HL was only saying recently how it is so difficult to park at the hospital where he goes for his check ups, and that the cost of parking is outrageous.

Wonderful Poem Cait.