Friday, 4 October 2013

A Cockroach the size of a hubcap and other strange stories

I am eating the odd autumn raspberry
Being back at work is great, don't get me wrong, but instead of being outside gardening, or on here bogging I'm doing endless reading up on new material and typing endless handouts. Mind you its all interesting stuff, soil science and plant science, plant propagation techniques and botanic keys, whatever about the students I am learning loads, and I hope their looks of confusion will soon be replaced by looks of scholarly interest, neurons firing away madly in their brains as they ask me brilliant questions........or maybe not.

The neurons might not yet be firing but one thing we do have in abundance is good craic, everyone is high spirited and happy. Eager to learn and not a bit bothered about getting dirty, so Monday to Friday at least I look forward to seeing them all, and the classes in general are not at all serious or sedate. I keep trying to come up with interesting and fun ways to get them out of the classroom and still deliver the lesson which has led to some memorable moments already!

Tom, Rose and Ann investigate raspberry on the fruit course
One of my groups is incredibly mixed, the type of people reality show people would love for a desert island survival camp.And funnily enough I am incredibly fond of them after only a few weeks. Scholarly questions are all well and good but entertaining, outrageous and wildly crazy ones are even better! One student in particular comes out with the most hilariously entertaining statements right in the middle of class (often completely unrelated to what we are talking about) and though on one level I should try to stop her when she gets going, statements like; "I found a cockroach the other day and I'm not joking you it was the size of a hubcap" are just too good to be true! It's so hard keeping a straight face when she goes off in a wildly politically incorrect rant about cutting away bogs "its just as well to get rid of that old wet bog land is-int it?sure what is it good for?" or makes yet another wild statement about a plant that is hopelessly off the mark, my jaws ache from the sheer effort to keep a straight face. And none of this is helped by some of the others in the group barely holding it together, hiding behind refill pads shaking with laughter.(I must point out we all love her, and she is a great worker so none of this laughter is at her expense)! O lord! the joys of education!

So what have we been doing this week, apart from laughing our arses off?

Emptying old compost heaps and spreading them on beds cleared for the winter then covering them with black plastic until spring.

Disinfecting work surfaces in the tunnels, washing pots, seed trays and labels for use in spring time.

Putting away propagators to keep them dry over winter

Sowing over wintering onions and garlic (root day today lads, great day for it, tomorrow too)

Getting ready to sow green manures, early flowering sweet peas, edible peas and overwintering broad beans

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