Dom Joly: Down on the marijuana farm

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The Independent Online

Middle age continues its unstoppable colonisation of my life. I'm now so fully entrenched in two of the three Gs (golf, gardening and gonorrhoea) that have always represented middle age to me that whether I eventually achieve the third is becoming mildly irrelevant. It was mine and Stacey's sixth wedding anniversary last week. She gave me what I think was my best present ever: a top-of-the-range, personally fitted driving iron. The fact that my heart skipped a beat when I unwrapped it says all you need to know about the sad state of my life.

Guess what I'm up to tonight? Going to the Chelsea Flower Show. In some areas of the country that would warrant a huge mob descending on your house and driving you out of the area. We got little laminate passes in the post today like it's a secret music gig.

It's all part of the big transition - Glastonbury to the Chelsea Flower Show. Except I always hated Glastonbury. Camping in mud with posh hippies I'd spent ages trying to get away from was insufferable. They, being "spiritually sensitive" could smell my fear and wreaked revenge by putting Ketamine in my Horlicks. As far as I recall, I joined 808 State on stage for their set, filling in occasionally on keyboards. The weird thing was that 808 State were so off their tits that they didn't even notice.

Most of these hippies have now set up businesses as "Zen gardeners" and they'll probably have some on display in Chelsea. Not just a nice lawn with some trees, oh no, that's sooooo square, man. What they'll have "designed" is a sort of "negative space" area. Something that looks not unlike a bomb crater with little bits of recycled waste sprinkled in strategic positions. I should bring my bloody sand-wedge along. At least I'd get some bunker practice in.

It's not rocket science. Neither Stacey nor I ever touch our garden, but the whole thing keeps growing back every spring and looks brilliant. It's been five years now and we've done jack shit. Proof, if it was needed, that gardening is one big blag.

Maybe I should look into cultivating a cash crop? Round here, farmers seem to grow rape seed, wheat and... other stuff. I don't really know what they're growing, but none of it can be much of a money maker unless they're wangling something on the Common Agricultural Policy. I'd be more into growing something with a bit more of a high cash yield. Opium? The Coca plant? Might be a tad risky.

It would be top-quality marijuana for me.

Thing is, you get very paranoid once you start growing that stuff. I had a friend who had planted vast amounts in his loft down in Cornwall. He got a letter from the police asking whether they could come round to talk to him. He got so freaked out he uprooted the entire crop and deposited it in little bags around town to get rid of it. The next day, he was the only person in town not high as a kite while having to talk to a volunteer policeman about the chance of setting up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Last year, I travelled through the badlands of North California. The place was stuffed with paranoid grass farmers shuffling round local towns buying biscuits and spare light bulbs.

No, that's not for me, I worry about enough stuff already without having that kind of hassle at home. Unless I don't have to do it at home. I've just joined a golf club. A lovely, wooded, secluded place. It wouldn't be hard to find a few places around the sixth and seventh holes I could call my own. If my game was going badly, I could even have my own supply of nerve calmer ready.

The only problem is that I've no idea how to even grow the stuff. I'm going to have to approach one of the dreaded hippy gardeners at the Flower Show. Make them an offer that they can't refuse. Actually this is all going to work out quite nicely. Weird how life guides you seemingly randomly to such logical destinations. Liz Hurley's got connections, maybe we can go halves on the distribution deal? s

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