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Hoses of the Holy in the Parallel Universe

December 02, 2005


If you search on Google for holyhoses it helpfully asks "did you mean: polyhouses."

Now my wife is after a polyhouse (aka polytunnel) and it strikes me that they are a Good Thing, allowing you to grow your own plants all year round, and even some plants that are a bit too delicate for our climate otherwise.

As a child, I wanted a greenhouse. I even offered to buy one. My dad would have none of it though. He was one of those gardeners who judged a good garden by the area of clean brown soil that was visible around the grass. No sprawling herbs in his garden. No stray greenhouses either.

I always wanted a greenhouse because I thought it might be fun to breed insects in one. I was thinking mostly butterflies and glow worms.

Maybe when my wife gets her polytunnel I can resurrect this plan?

I've only ever seen real glow-worms in one place in the UK. There's an area of scrub above the clifftops between Lyme Regis and Charmouth and they were common there in the 80s.

We came across them in error. You see, somebody told us that there was a useful shortcut from Charmouth to Lyme Regis across the beach and undercliff. What they neglected to say was that when the tide comes in it actually goes right up to the bottom of the cliff.

So there we were, stuck at the bottom of the cliffs, in the dark, with the sea rising at our feet. And it was raining. No way forward and no way back. And it occurred to me that we were probably going to drown.

And when you think that you're about to metamorphose into fish food the idea of climbing up some cliffs in the dark, in the rain, in your best cuban heels, doesn't seem quite so daft.

About an hour later we got to the top of the cliffs, and that's when my mate got the fears: "we're being followed by foxes or badgers... look, their eyes are glowing green in the bushes. And they're following us."

At the time I had no idea what they actually were, so I went to take a look. Glow worms. What a delight and surprise to find them though.


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