Although we had snowfall last week, I know that Spring is creeping up on us. The first daffodils are out – the naturally produced ones, that is, not the shop bunches – and buds are popping enthusiastically all over the place. To celebrate, I have started buying bits and pieces for when I feel it is time to venture into the garden. A fair weather gardener, that’s me. At least for the time being!
So – we went to a huge (to me) garden centre outside Seven Oaks. It sold much, much more than plants, I can tell you. Clothing, (non-garden related), a huge range of food (lots of it locally produced), books, nasty little ornaments from certain countries, greetings cards, mugs, mobility scooters, garden furniture and of course, tools, hoses, mowers -you name it – it was probably there. There was a sad little eatery that sold dubious looking sausage rolls and other similar treats, served on elegant paper plates and cups! They were so classy, they bent under the weight of the smallest sandwich and it was a race to get to the table before your lunch met the floor! After waiting for ever in a slow-moving queue (only one assistant) we chose a fruit scone. We could hardly contain our excitement as we cut into this rock cake in disguise with our bendy plastic knives that had blades the size of a fingernail (there’ll be no mucking about here – we ‘do’ health and safety!) There was also a huge restaurant/café, that had a menu that sounded rather good, but we found that the most of the food on offer was swimming in fat, and the prices were what we would pay in our local gastro-pub where the food is really worth eating. It was though we were caught in a time warp – sixties here we come!
I thought about missed opportunities, as I walked out without eating, back into the produce area. There was a beautiful butchery selling local meat. It seemed well patronised, too. There was an attractive array of local fruit and veg. along with cheeses and ice-cream from around Britain. There was bakery (selling retro items like gypsy tarts and eccles cakes – maybe not so good for me-) There were sweets, home-made jams and chutneys, the list is very long.
The right people, with access to this great produce, could make this enormous venue into a fabulous place to come and eat, browse and buy. Business would be ‘kicking’.
As to the plants – well, it is a bit early still and I did not buy a thing. And the mowers, spades and forks, hoses and wormeries? Rather expensive and I am sorry to say, I will probably buy them from Amazon.
I did get a pair of pink clogs, an out-door brush and some gardening gloves though, so that’s a start!