Tuesday 1 July, 2014INDEX
Green finger

Both my grandfathers are said to have had green fingers. My father's father, Leonard Charles Brind, was supposed to be able to make anything grow. My mother's father, Edward Williams, was always in the garden when I went to visit. I particularly remember him sieving the earth, which seems a strange thing to do considering the time he had lived at his address in Canterbury Road, West Norwood, before I came on the scene. But then I was just impressed. I also remember him digging potatoes and growing beans. I think my grandmother (Jessie) used to cook them for us.

I have subsequently come to the conclusion that he was probably in the garden because he knew I was coming. I was (and remain) very clumsy and as a child was even more boisterous than I am today. No doubt having a certain amount of space around him and some metal tools to put between him and me, made him feel safer.

I loved my grandfather and he loved me. He'd had four daughters and I was his first male descendant, a novelty if nothing else.

Unfortunately, I do not appear to have inherited the gardening abilities of either of my grandfathers. In fact, when I bought my last home (a flat in Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, north east London) I chose it partly because it had no garden. This turned out to be a mistake since I never had anywhere to dry my clothes. You learn, slowly in my case.

When I moved to Chatham one of the best things about my new home was that it has a moderately sized garden with lots of space for a clothes line. Luxury.

But that still left quite a lot of garden. What to do with it?

To be blunt the earth in my garden is not great. There's a lot of clay and it's full of stones, tiles and old nails. I remembered my grandfather's sieve. Are such things still available these days, I wondered?

Apparently they are, though today's sieve is a plastic job, nothing like as intricate as its wood and metal progenitor, though fairly cheap and functional.
I bought one and started sieving bits of my garden. The findings were mostly fairly ordinary: the usual crop of pottery pieces, some stone age arrowheads and a ferric ring. But there were also a couple of extremely strange and disturbing things.

My fingers are not green but the one I found in my garden is (see picture above). It did not actually have the sticking plaster attached when I found it, but I did find that fairly close by. Most eerily, the sticking plaster fitted the finger like a glove.

In real life the finger is a fairly cheap plastic job and not the somewhat dramatic object I have made it appear in this photo. But it is green and it certainly surprised me when I found it.

Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Tuesday, 1 July 2014