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Gardeners’ Question Time

So, I was thinking about what to write in my next blog….do I write about the forthcoming year, my resolutions, my plans, my to-do list for this month? But then I thought, no, why don’t I tell you about the time I went to a live recording of Gardeners’ Question Time and made a complete idiot out of myself!

I’ve been listening to Gardeners’ Question Time on BBC Radio 4 for about 4 years now, ever since I took on my allotment. My Dad listens to Radio 4 almost religiously so I’ve been subjected to the station, mostly against my will; in the car, garage, shed or kitchen for a number of years now and it would bore the life out of me! But as I get older, and being the ripe old age of 40 now, I find myself doing listening to it more and more. My Dad once told me that he had actually met one of the Gardeners’ Question Time (GQT) panel and had his book signed by him, and at the time I remember saying ‘that’s great Dad…..who’s Bob Flowerdew?’.

I thought I could broaden the little knowledge I had about gardening and brush up on all those Latin plant names and start listening to the GQT podcast. I thought it might be hard work to listen to and keep up with, but in actual fact I was completely wrong, the show is really interesting. What the panel doesn’t know about gardening isn’t worth knowing, and it’s so funny too and now I never miss it.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found out that GQT was coming to our town. When the tickets went on sale, I raced right to the venue and got myself one.

After weeks of waiting the night of the recording finally arrived. If I’m honest, I was a little nervous and apprehensive about it; I was going on my own and had no idea what to expect. With my ticket in hand, I arrived at the venue where I was given a blank question sheet which I was asked to hand in if I had a question for panel and I was then ushered into a side room for a cup of tea and biscuits.

I felt so out of my depth, I was there on my own and didn’t know where to look, but with cup of tea in hand, I chose my seat; a table with no one sitting at it! It looked like everyone else came with someone which only added to my awkwardness and the feeling of being totally out of place. I was the youngest in the room by about 30 years but decided that I wouldn’t get my iPhone out and browse the net or social media, I would drink my tea and read the leaflet which was on the table; repeatedly. Whilst pretending to be really interested in the leaflet which I’d now read at least a dozen times, 4 ladies of retirement age lets say, approached the table I was sitting at and asked if they could join me. Each lady introduced themselves and we shook hands which was fine until I got to the last lady and instead of shaking hands with her, saying ‘hello, I’m Joe’, for some reason, when we shook hands, like an idiot, I said ‘thank you’. Now, either she was being terribly polite or, she didn’t hear me (I hoped for the latter!). Thankfully we moved on from this awkward moment and started chatting about our gardens. They put me completely at ease as we talked, they were all so lovely, taking me under their wing and making me laugh a lot.

The recording of the show was brilliant. It was hosted by Peter Gibbs and the panel was made up of Matthew Wilson who is hilarious, Christine Walkden (who I love) & Bunny Guinness. The show was great, packed full of laughs and really useful gardening tips and know how, it’s obvious why this amazing show has been on the air for over 70 years!

I will definitely go again if they are ever in this neck of woods and I would highly recommend if you get the chance, you do the same.              

I just thank god I didn’t complete the question sheet for the panel, who knows what I would have come out with after the ‘thank you’ debacle!

Oh, and the Latin plant names are still completely lost on me but I shall continue to soldier on trying to learn them but I think it will take another few years of GQT listening, which isn’t a bad thing now I think about it.

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