Sunday, April 12, 2015

Tale of Two Springs

The working title of this blog post was 'Testicles on My Head'. Gaz was daring me to go ahead with it, and usually I would oblige but at the last minute opted not to. But let me at least explain why which will also explain why I disappeared for almost two weeks.

I thought this Rheum bud would be appropriate. Just use your imagination...
Since the beginning of this year I had the task of writing an academic paper looming over me and although I was happy enough to ignore it for months the deadline was still fast approaching till it couldn't be set aside any longer. Typical me, nothing like the last minute to get me going! Although I specialise on haematologic (blood) cancers my task was to write about testicular cancer instead, so as to be both a challenge as well as refresh my knowledge seeming that the last time I got involved with anyone affected by it was back in 2008.

Someone's happy to see me! Even this variegated Beschorneria septentrionalis is getting in on the spring action! 
I'm happy to report that although the regime and treatment pathway hasn't changed much in decades, on the whole it still remains a very curable type of cancer. But before I got to that part boy was it hard work! It was like writing a lengthy blog post but being academic you have to back up everything you say with evidence and research and that was the very hard bit!

So for the past few weeks I had 'testicles on my head' to the point that I just had to shut out anything that will deter my concentration in writing the paper, and that includes blogging. And I really need to get it out of the way as I feel I couldn't move on and enjoy spring until it's over and done with.

New spikies! Despite the break from blogging plant shopping continued.
Hence the 'tale of two springs'. Although spring has definitely and truly arrived in the garden mentally it won't for me until I've had that task over and done with.

Last Easter bank holiday weekend, which was a four days off from work we managed to do loads in the garden. Nothing major but lots of cutting back and tidying up was done now that plants are showing so many signs of fresh growth. This is an exciting period for all gardeners but as I was distracted my excitement was dampened. Still I carried on doing gardening tasks despite my mind being somewhere else. You really don't need to think much when cutting back dead vegetation and clearing out areas so that was alright.

Cut off the old to make way for the new - Melianthus major
But I did allow myself some extra distraction and mental break from writing by doing a spot of plant shopping! Crews Hill it was for Easter Sunday as the Gardening Club, being a member's club is exempt from closing on that day when virtually everything else is. So that was handy, plus they had ten percent off on that very long weekend too.






We didn't buy much though as it was still essentially early in the year and most of what they had were their usual suspects which we don't go for anymore. But we did go home with a couple of large garden vases that had no drainage holes which would be perfect for growing papyrus in as a summer display.


Going back to the paper, I finished it last Friday and submitted it, woohoo! That was hard work and won't be rushing to do one again soon. But the best part is I can move on now and my second spring has arrived. I'm baaack!!!

Mark :-)

31 comments :

  1. Congratulations on the finished paper! That must be a serious load off of your mind. Now for some enjoyment, and well-deserved gardening, your second spring. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

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    1. Thanks Tamara and will do! So glad it's done now, whew!

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  2. Hi Mark, I know exactly how it feels having to write an academic paper looming over you from "my old days" and I don't miss it one bit. Glad you got yours done and are able to fully enjoy spring now!
    I love your new agaves and that nursery, well the sheer size it something for itself.
    Looking forward to seeing photos from your spring garden hopefully soon!
    Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Thanks Christina :) it was tolerable as a student but when you're working already and only do it sporadically it's not so. Just glad I can move on now and enjoy spring!

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  3. Welcome back, Spring awaits! I'm glad you got some wind down time, there is nothing better than gardening for clearing the head.

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    1. True Jessica, so glad I can go full on with spring gardening now :)

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  4. I missed you ! I love your new Papyrus pot..thats going to look splendid when planted..

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Only thought of papyrus once I saw it didn't have a drainage hole :)

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  5. NOTHING allowed to interfere with plant acquisition in the spring, right?

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  6. I could make so many wisecracks here on the topic of "testicles on your head," but since your paper was about cancer and hence very serious, I shall refrain :-).

    Nice additions to your agave collection. What are they?

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    1. It would have been a fun title wouldn't it Gerhard? :))

      Little agaves but they're in great form already. Two Ovatifolias, a Marmorata, Lophantha, and Schidigera White Stripe

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  7. I was getting worried about where you 2 were. But I can understand how a project like that can demand all your time and energy. Congratulations upon completing the task! Now take a deep breath and enjoy spring!

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    1. It was mentally demanding Kris but so glad it's done now...very minor tweaks left to do but it's as good as done and I can now enjoy spring :)

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  8. Well, bollocks! Glad that's over with. The only thing looming over me is all the garden cleanup I still have left to do. Enjoy your garden!

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    1. That made me laugh Alison! Will do :))

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  9. You were missed! Glad that your paper is finally finished. Like Gerhard, I'll resist the many comments that come to mind!

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    1. I wouldn't have minded hearing your comments too Peter as I like your sense of humour :)

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  10. Thanks for filling in the details on what you've been up to. I'd noticed your absence and was trying not to worry. Now onward with spring time fun!

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    1. Indeed Loree, and nice to be back :))

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  11. It is almost worth the effort just to feel the burden lift from your shoulders once it is finished. Such a feeling of sheer relief . I bet it will feel fantastic to get back to practical things like the garden, and it is just the right time of year to do it.

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    1. Definitely Jane :) can't wait for the weekend now!

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  12. Well done!
    Writing ANYTHING and especially on demand is excruciating - so doubly Well done!

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  13. I was wondering where you had been hiding. Well done! I'm delighted that you didn't allow the paper to get in the way of a spot of retail therapy. Enjoy the spring - it's doing a fine impersonation of summer.
    Incidentally, I have rewritten this comment 5 times to remove all reference to testicles. Ahem.

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    1. Thanks Sarah :) and you should have, it would have been fun to read them!

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  14. I thought that you were quiet and wondered whether you were on holiday again :) It's been many years since I've had any academic deadlines to meet. Like you I also lived on the edge and left things to the last minute but I'm sure that method produces the most outstanding work. I hope that you can relax for a while now and catch up with all the gardening tasks that you have not had time for recently. Enjoy!

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    1. Hope so Anna and wished it was a holiday :) just glad it's over and done with now!

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  15. Boy, you must have done hard work!! I´m glad you finished it and now you can enjoy your deserved spring!!! things are getting started in your garden, that is so exciting!! :)

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  16. What a relief to leave that task behind you! I'm the same way - it takes a good deadline to kick me in the butt - especially if it's of a sort that doesn't involve gardening... The recent times have been terribly busy here too - I'm really looking forward to this Friday. It will be my first true day off in over three weeks, and that starts to break you down eventually. Good to have you back!

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