Notes from the Green Party MEP for East of England. Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Gardening the hard way

As I sit in my study (being on research leave, I'm doing a bit more of this) I watch other lucky people (the gardeners employed to do the shared areas of our courtyard) come and spend their time doing energetic things in the fresh air and the sunshine. Today they have been shooing leaves about with a noisy machine that pretends to be the wind.
Now, what more stupid activity could you engage in on a very windy autumn day, than shooing leaves about with a blower? What a waste of fossil fuels! The mischievous leaves briefly go in the direction you intended, but then you turn your attention to the next leaf, and the one you just deposited gets up and goes somewhere else, assisted by the much more powerful Boreas, who knows a thing or two about how to scatter Autumn leaves. When, briefly, you do succeed in making a small and rather loose pile of leaves in some corner, out of the wind, then you come along with the next two or three leaves you've just collected with your blower, and as you approach your untidy pile of leaves, the blower helpfully blows away the ones you'd already got there, in its attempt to deposit the newcomers. Off they all go again, and you're back to square one.
I don't know what you call this stupid machine for blowing leaves, but I am quite certain that it is one of the most useless inventions known to mankind. What you need (Mr Gardener) is a large outdoor broom and a pair of boards. Someone long ago, many thousands of years ago, invented the idea of a broom, and really this is one of the best inventions known to mankind. You sweep up the leaves with the broom, and then you pick them up in piles with the pair of boards (holding one board in each hand and pulling them hard together with the leaves compressed between them) and load the leaves into the wheelbarrow like that. It's easy. In fact, I don't think it's any harder than lugging that ineffectual blower around. And it's good for you. And it's quiet. And it would be much more satisfying for me to watch from my window, though it would make me more envious of your job.