Not a lot to report from chez Franklin I'm afraid – though it's busy as always at QVC – enjoyed meeting and interviewing Michael Ball last week and I'm really looking forward to meeting more QVC viewers when Jules Ballantyne and I broadcast a live audience show with Richard Jackson this Wednesday 23rd March at 3pm.
I know many of us are starting to spring clean our homes and tidy up our gardens now that it looks like spring has sprung (for us Southern softies at least !) When I was young I always wanted to own a garden with beautiful tall trees in it. Well "be careful what you wish for Franklin"!
We are lucky enough to have several 70ft pine trees in our garden, it's not a huge garden by any means, as pine trees can grow quite close together. I never realised how much work pine trees could be. On the plus side they look fab against a blue sky and are majestic in a breeze, both the way they sway and sound (like waves on a beach), they can also prove a lovely dappled shade in summer and attract some great wild birds.
On the other side however they produce hundreds of bags of needles, then a week or so of 'yellow pollen storms' then they grow pine cones which shed husks for a few weeks then themselves drop to the ground in their hundreds. As they say take the rough with the smooth and on balance I'd rather have them than not.
My rugby-playing son Jack loves them for another reason – he selects two of them as his rugby posts for his kicking practice! (he has to imagine the crossbar). As his kicking gets stronger – we've had a few near misses when he connects well and sends a ball high over the back fence – did I mention there's a road behind? Well this weekend his practice led to a father and son (read Laurel & Hardy) moment.
Jack kicked the ball high and it got stuck in the lower branches – I was awoken from my slumber (having got in at 3am that morning) with excited barking as Toby thought Jack was throwing sticks up into the tree for his benefit. Once I had come to and showered I took one look at the trapped ball and announced with only the certainty that a Dad can – that it would take but a second to get it down. I strode manfully down the garden armed with another rugby ball and thrust it up into the trees without breaking stride… it didn't return!
After about 10 mins of tossing everything from cricket balls to brooms up into the tree – I decided to get a ladder. As I said the trees are about 70ft tall and my faithful extending ladder was well short. Eventually I rigged up a long pole with another taped to it and managed to get them down but not before a 'Clouseau' moment when the ladder twisted off the tree and I was left clinging to the tree for dear life, complete in my baggy trainer bottoms and slippers (it was only going to take a second !!) Fortunately whilst laughing uncontrollably, Jack returned the ladder.
Apart from that I finished the weekend unscathed. Hope yours was a safer one! Unlike me – try and take care!