Tamsin Constable

Sheng Fooey

I should have run out into the rain, bought some greasy chips and kissed the nearest bus driver. Anything to get back to reality.

I’d been invited, as a writer, to listen in on some presentations on feng shui in business. You know the stuff – water your plants, open the curtains, tidy your files etc and see your business thrive (get richer, basically, but without sounding so greedy).

I got a coffee, wandered in and introduced myself to the nearest delegate.

“Hello!” she said, all bright-eyed and earnest. “I work on DNA.”

Brilliant! I tuned in.

“Ninety per cent of your DNA is junk,” she continued.

I got ready to hear the latest scientific theories on this.

“I clear that junk DNA out of people,” she said.

“What do you mean, clear it?”

“I can get rid of your bad DNA for five generations past, and five generations into the future.”

Her wide, unblinking eyes bored into mine. I felt like Mowgli out of the Jungle Book when the python tries to hypnotise him, its eyes spinning as it hisses, “Trust in me…”

Briefly lost for words, I eventually said, “And how do you do that?”

Her gaze still locked on mine, she knowingly tapped a spot on the nape of her head.

And then I knew for sure that I was in for a treat that day. And my coffee hadn’t even gone cool.

Asparagus investment

I’ve just ordered another 10 asparagus crowns (Gijnlim variety – for no other reason than the catalogue copy describes it as a ‘high yielding male with a closed purple tip’. What can I say?)

I’ll plant the crowns in March. But I’ll have to wait three years – until the summer of 2012 – before I can eat them. Some people think that’s crazy, but it’s fine by me. Tempus fugit and all that. I planted the first 10 crowns last year, to see how they’d get on here in Yorkshire. The crowns, by the way, look and feel gross – a cross between dead babies’ fingers and witches’ hair.

Last summer, I could only watch with pride as two or three measly little spears poked up through the soil, hogging space. And that was that. This summer, I’ll be able to crop sparingly – just the odd spear or two. But it’s not until year 3, ie 2011, that I will be able to start cropping properly.

And then – well, as they say round here, we’ll be ‘cooking on gas’. I will be able to sit back and feast on the stuff, either steamed, hot and dripping with butter or (poshly) cold, with fingers, and dipped into vinaigrette, for the next 15-20 years. No crop rotation, no digging, minimum weeding – now, that’s my kind of vegetable growing. And so what if we move house? I find the idea of someone else eating my asparagus quite rewarding. And surely it’ll add value (that magical phrase). Central heating, double glazing and free asparagus for the next 20 years… how’s that for a property description?