Life on Pig Row: Flaming June

High on the Saddleworth hills, the Oldham family have created an inspiring kitchen garden. This column, written by Andrew and Carol, follows their journey. For more information, visit:

FLAMING JUNE arrives and suddenly cagoules, fleeces and big coats are thrown aside in a warrior cry of sun cream and sun burns. It’s easy to turn lobster red this month because you didn’t spend a few minutes protecting your skin.

At Pig Row we’re big on keeping our skin protected and ourselves hydrated. We have an assortment of hats as we’re survivors of nineties music festivals.

Little D goes through a hat in a season, using it as a means to carry compost or as a Frisbee for a chicken to catch; sadly this has not been successful and the closest to a leaping chicken has come in the shape of Mrs Cluckerbuck who merely pecks at his hat when it lands.

If the hat was full of corn she’d leap for it but then she would leap at Little D every time he passed by. Little D is just getting over being attacked by our departed cockerel, Bertie – who now lives in Uppermill – who chased him up the garden.

No, our hats sans chickens are straw nowadays. This is not us going all Chelsea, but is a practical solution to keeping cool. A straw hat lets the air in and keeps your head cool. You can breathe in a straw hat.

However, it is not the height of fashion. Gone are the days of cool black tops, black jeans, black hair but the black sunglasses remain.

Some things you hang on to and there are some universal truths in gardening: (1) If it’s hot, wear sun cream and a hat, (2) Drink plenty of fluids, and; (3) Goths do not garden. Goths wouldn’t survive an hour in the baking sun and they are difficult to weed out once collapsed in your herbaceous border.

For the record we don’t mean Visigoths, this is not a trip through histor. We mean Goths who go into raptures over Bauhaus (not the architecture but the band who told us Bela Lugosi was dead). Goths are not practical for gardening but make great coal miners.

The upshot is, as flaming June joins us, wear the right clothes for the job, keep your skin protected. Drink plenty, take breaks, enjoy the sun while it lasts because soon you will be yelling at each other over where that cagoule, fleece and big coat is.


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