Back to nature today. If yesterday I had been told today I had been heading ‘back to nature’ I should have looked forward to a breezy sun dappled wood. I would most probably have been wearing a straw hat leaning on a tree. I expect I’d have been gazing over the haunches of a powerful yet gentle stag, to a naked red haired nymphet, parting water lilies so as to bath in a lake. As it happens I was gardening, planting bulbs in the cold muck, shifting clods with a mole like determination. I still seem to have half an allotment firmly wedged under my fingernails, which will reside there indefinitely as the house is devoid of beauty implements and I have left my toothbrush in the house attached to the aforementioned garden. Although far from idyllic, a few hours with little to think about other than mud, wind and rain was a wonderful tonic after a month considering the same solitary tower block from the limited greenery of Heaton Park. Perhaps the remedy was mixed double strength, as on my return from town I found myself drawn towards the nasty piss and blood of the Big Market. A minor scratch card win seemed to warrant a minor celebration, so I set myself up with book and premium pint in the corner of a bar. With my new shaved head, and by keeping my voice hushed whilst ordering, I had slipped past the brutes and drunks, and was happily steaming of the day’s damp in relative seclusion. However, the cosy nook I had installed myself in was deceptive. It seems I had sat in somebody’s seat. Furthermore, my perceived sanctuary being a corner, I was cornered. There was nothing for it, I offered him a drink and what followed was two hours of monosyllabic anecdotes about the merchant navy, deviant mothers, prostitute school friends and scientology. Had the man been able to articulate the strange events of his life with a little more finesse it may have been one of the best pub exchanges to date. As it stands though it was dull yet absorbing, a little like watching the one show, just to see what they will start going on about next. He didn’t buy me a pint back, and I was left feeling ever so slightly short changed.