A plague on ALL your houses…


No, I haven’t fasted so much that I’m now too weak to tap a keyboard, but it has taken up quite a lot of head space. And I just haven’t done anything interesting or noteworthy – unless…no. You wouldn’t… would you? Be interested in diseases of domestic fruit trees? You would? Why, pull up a pew! Cup of tea? Milk and sugar? A Hobnob or two to go with it? Marvellous. Now, settle yourself in and I’ll begin.

Well, I was taking the air as usual, surveying the garden with a stern but proprietary eye, like a commodore strolling across his well-swabbed poop, when what should shock me out of my reverie but a blemish. A blemish! Unmistakable! On the pear tree! For a moment I thought its cheery orangey glow was a sign that autumn was icumen in and that the leaves were changing at an uneven but picturesque rate. On idly turning over an old leaf (hahahaha, oh, my sides) I recoiled with a start. Then feverishly began to check the underside of each speckled leaf. And each one sported the most disgusting buboe. A sort of brown wart with white lumps on it. Puke-amighty and then some, huh? This led to close examination of all the fruit trees – a couple of apples, a plum and two cherries, besides the aforementioned poxed-up pear. Euuurgghhh – they all had mange!

I repaired swiftly to ask the advice of the head gardener, old Mr Google (been with the family for years) and spent an hour horridly scrolling through pictures of assorted mank, yuk, rot and scrofule. But the online freak show at least yielded a list of ailments: European rust, rust, scab, powdery mildew, leaf miner and – joy! – a canker on the cherry tree.

Turns out that most of these are merely cosmetic and can be sorted by picking off the affected leaves and burning them, then getting ready to blitz the bastards early next spring when the leaves are young. So I picked them off, don’t know how or where to burn them (in the barbecue? Will that give us athletes’ foot or ringworm or something if we try to cook on it next year?) and then found some poison to treat them with by spraying it into a headwind with my mouth open.

Later that evening I was round at a friend’s, complaining heartily about the fact that our garden has now turned into some sort of coffin ship, presumably spooring its filthy contagion across the borough (‘These wind-borne spores can travel up to 6km’). My mate told me that his dad is a rose man and has always maintained darkly that growing roses in London is a mug’s game. See, it’s like us on public transport – everybody’s crammed together and we give each other lots of bugs.

Though on a side note, I found out that the pear pest partners up with juniper to harbour the blight. The interweb suggested sadly that the only option may be to chop down the juniper. But since the spores can fly up to 6km, I’m buggered if I’m roaming the streets of South London on the hunt for Juniper Patient Zero, wearing a boiler suit, carrying a canister with the word ‘POISON’ written in nail varnish down the side (I have a softer side), an axe and a grim air of retribution unslaked. Though of course, by the time I got back home I might have unwittingly built myself a crime empire. Hmm. Let’s have a think about this.


No Responses Yet to “A plague on ALL your houses…”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: