1- A View from the Bothy (Nov 2020)

November is a strange time for gardeners.  In between dodging showers and clearing up endless falls of leaves (commiserations if you have dogs running loose!), sometimes it’s just too wet to do anything constructive in the garden without making a mess.

But aside from consuming vast amounts of hot chocolate or tomato soup, there are some constructive things you can do when it’s really wet outside.

For a start, you might consider tidying your van/shed/garage/office.  Apart from the fact that at least one of those needs doing (it does, doesn’t it?), it can be quite therapeutic.  At last you can get rid of the rubbish and make some space, which is good for the soul.

You could also book your van (or car) in for a service.  If you book in advance you can usually get a courtesy vehicle, and it’s always better to choose a quiet time.

You can clean, oil and sharpen your tools (again, this is hugely therapeutic).  Plus, if you’re confident, you might want to clean and service your mower/rotovator/turf lifter – there are loads of YouTube videos about doing this but, if in doubt, maybe ask someone to either do it for you or give you a helping hand.

Now that you’ve tidied your desk and finally have room to move your mouse properly, you might want to start measuring gardens.  If you’ve done this before, go back to the previous paragraph and order a new spark plug for your strimmer.  But if you haven’t, it’s quite simple…

Choose the satellite view and zoom in as closely as you can to get the best view of the garden. Then, pick a starting point for what you want to measure, and right click. The option at the bottom is ‘measure distance’ – click on that, then select what you want to measure, and an information box will appear. Then click on the next point and the measurement information will appear in the box.

This will tell you the distance in both linear metres and feet. Sadly, if you’re really old school, there doesn’t seem to be an option for rods, perches and poles…

If you continue the line and go back to the starting point you will also get the square meterage (or footage) – handy for ordering mulch, turf, fertiliser, top dressing or, for that matter, plants.

This also works on most types of tablet. Though there may be some variations on different devices, the principle is the same.

You can also save your measurements by doing a screen grab (Ctrl+Print Screen or Windows Key+Shift+S on a PC) then pasting into your app of choice. We used Microsoft Paint, but other brands are available...

This is also handy if you need any help doing drawings for planning projects.

While you’ve been reading this it’s stopped raining, so you can now go back outside and prune the roses to prevent the wind rocking them to and fro.

Oh, but don’t forget to wash your cup up.