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11:14am on Wednesday, 17th June, 2020:

Garden Centre


I'm booked to be off work this week, as I'm supposed to be in Greece on vacation. Needless to say, I'm not in Greece, and the university doesn't care anyway — it's still sending me urgent emails that I have to respond to by 5pm the day they were sent.

When the lockdown kicked in, my wife hadn't yet got around to booking any time off. Therefore, she's still at work. However, on Monday, the whim struck her that if she took Wednesday off then I could perhaps convey her to a garden centre so she could buy £101.78 worth of plants and gardening miscellanea. Unluckily, the weather got to hear about this and has arranged for a deluge this afternoon; because of this, we went this morning.

The garden centre was something of a disappointment.

What seems to have happened is this: that they were forced to close when the sickness came, which meant they had no income; they couldn't pay their staff, so furloughed them; with no staff on hand, the plants weren't getting watered; therefore, by the time the garden centre was allowed to reopen, all its stock was either struggling, close to death, or dead. Its usually-abundant sections for different varieties were at best a third full, occupied by miserable-looking, yellow-leafed, thirsty vegetation, some of which had already flowered and gone to seed. Huge weeds joined the flowers in a few of the plantpots.

Although some garden centres are pokey little affairs, a good many are not. In hindsight, these larger ones could easily have been allowed to stay open. Still, given the high average age of garden centres' customers, it's perhaps for the best that the didn't. I can see a lot of garden centres going under, though: they can't hope to take enough money now to cover their overheads.

I may risk going to Colchester this afternoon to banks some cheques. That could be exciting.

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Copyright © 2020 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).