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The pair of us have had a productive if hardly exciting sort of day – unless you count the opportunity to tour garden centres again! Maybe it’s one of those signs of ageing, a bit like realising how much you enjoy watching the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ on the telly! As someone who’s been a keen gardener for nearly 30 years I make no apologies for such a pastime – even if my present patch of land is a lot smaller than I was used to. Even so, there’s plenty of opportunity to be creative as the massive stone walls that make up the terraces at the back of our cottage do lend themselves to some imaginative opportunities. Sadly, there’s not a great selection in our local garden centres. Maybe I was spoiled with living in London for 25 years, you could find almost anything you wanted within just a few miles and a trip to the Columbia Rd flower market in the East End was a must when you needed annuals. One centre we visited was just getting a delivery from Holland. A large HGV was taking up a chunk of the car park as pallets of plants were unloaded. I hate to think how much extra the Brexitshambles is costing them in both time and money. What was once a seamless operation is now mired in bureaucracy thanks to us throwing up rather than taking down barriers to trade. Despite the deliveries I’ve noticed that it’s really difficult to find the variety of ferns that I used to be able to buy in London. Maybe they’re not as popular up here? The back of the house is sheltered and in perpetual shadow, so it would ideal for displaying ferns – if only I could find the ones I want. Still, first world problems eh? At least I managed to restock our herb garden and replace some plants we lost due to the harsh winter.

Back at home I had a happy couple of hours replacing knackered hanging baskets, repotting and replanting and generally tidying up the garden – even tho’ the weather’s hardly spring-like as the temperature rarely makes it into double figures at the moment. As soon as the sun gets trapped behind clouds the temperature plummets. Frost is still a concern so I’m being careful what I plant out right now. How different to this time last year when we had such balmy days!

All this talk of gardening has chosen the picture of the day for me because it fits the theme. I scanned this one recently, although it was taken on the 12th March 1994 at Columbia Rd flower market.

Lynn and I were still living in London’s East End at the time and a trip to Columbia Rd was a regular occurrence for myself and some of my neighbours in the Housing Co-op where I lived. Decorating the communal balconies of our flats with plants was a great way of adding a splash of colour. Not everyone who joined us was green-fingered, it was just a great morning out as there were plenty of cafes offering coffee and cake and the opportunities for people-watching – hence this image which was a ‘grab-shot’ through the crowds.

Sadly, this sort of street photography has become harder for all sorts of reasons – especially to do with privacy laws. We’re in danger of losing the ability to document everyday life in the way the old masters of documentary photography never had to worry about – but that’s another blog entirely…

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