A strike in the Fatherland

I was over at a rather large garden show in Koln, Germany at the weekend. ( here the hell is the umlaut, eh- dot, dot, key on the iPad?). Not as fab and groovy as you might think mind you.

For starters it meant missing the Electric picnic. I usually go for at least a day but admittedly didn’t go online for a ticket in time. Then I clicked one on Friday morning which I had to sadly decline, Aer Lingus and Hotel having already been paid.( thanks though Karl). No, business came first. but what a lineup – particularly appealing to my generation. mid forties if you must know. I’m going to Laois next year without fail, even if I’m the oldest swinger in town.

By the way, for those of you who are reading this with a raised eyebrow or a slight frown, think again. never mind the music, there’s an explosion of creativity down there year after year. The nooks, crannies and far out spaces are a delight and inspiration for us garden creators and makers to roam around in. Even whilst sober.

Back to the Fatherland though. Spoga is an annual garden expo featuring everything, including outdoor kitchen sinks,even remotely associated with gardens. There are 11 huge areas, each bigger that the RDS, most on either 2 or 3 levels, so about 25 halls to explore. Last time I was there I gave away my increasingly uncomfortable shoes to a tramp and in desperation bought a trusty pair of caterpillar boots. I choose my footwear more wisely this time. As it happens there was a marathon on Sunday morning in the city- the Dom Cathedral really is a sight to behold. The allies bombs in WW 2 happily failed to flatten it- anyway I contend I covered more distance than the runners, albeit at a more leisurely pace.

If I ever see another hammock, shiny BBQ or set of rattan furniture it’ll be too soon. There’s exhibitors from all over the world, from the too beautiful and cool to talk to you Scandinavians to the appalling rude Chinese. dudes, stop eating that dubious food, get off your iPad/phone and even just pretend you give a shit. Oh, and “joy” and “happy” are not typical Christian names. Just use your real names. We’ll manage.

It’s always good to be on top of the latest trends and products in our gardening world. The real fun started on the way home though. I boarded a train right outside the “Messe” in Koln heading directly for Dusseldorf Airport, delighted with myself. Only €13. Half way there my snooze was rudely interrupted by an announcement “Auf deutsch”. I’m paraphrasing here slightly but Die Bahn, pride of German infrastructural efficiency, were saying we’re having a lightening strike, we ain’t moving another inch, ” bitte einsteigen” and get the fuck off our train. ah lads!

The native passengers were most unimpressed. A bit of a scramble for Taxis ensued outside the ( totally random) station and I barely made the Airport on time. inevitably several other Irish attendees, mostly garden centre owners and buyers, were also caught out. Even Ironrod Eireann give you a bit of notice.

So what I did learn besides always buy your Electric picnic tickets in plenty of time and not to be too overawed by German vorsprung? Well, I got plenty of new ideas and spotted some nifty products over there. Ill elaborate further, no doubt, in due course. bis dann, Auf weidersehen.

MIT hertzliche gluckwunche,
Dein Mark