Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Secret Garden (aka my mid-life crisis)

Earlier in the year, the BBC News website had an article about the phenomenon of Mid-Life Crisis and how it appears to be happening earlier on in life - specifically between the ages of 35 and 44.

Well I am 28 years of age and it appears to have hit. And what have I done with this? Have I purchased a sports car, started chasing after 19 year old girls or slipped into a pair of embarrassingly tight jeans? No. I've been recapturing my youth in a slight different way...

The Secret Garden 11When I was 6, my parents bought me a Magic Tree. Not the air freshener of the same name, but a cardboard tree that, when soaked in chemicals, sprouted crystal blossom. This was great...I have always been a sucker for the beauty and wonder of natural (and unnatural) science*. I try never to miss the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures on television, even though I'm well past the perceived demographic age range. So when I was 7 and my parents bought me an entire garden made of this magic card, you can imagine how excited I was!

The Secret Garden 9It was diligently built and the liquid was carefully added. All that was left was time. You have to wait a good 24 hours before the crystals are really getting into their stride. Three days for them to be finished.

The Secret Garden 6But after only 12 hours, V came to visit. I will refer to her as V so as to protect her against the inevitable reprisals that would follow when I explain what happened next.

V was a typically girly 7 year old girl, but very clumsy with it. And one excessively exuberant twirl later...the Magic Garden was no more.

The Secret Garden 8I was devastated. At that moment I understood the fragility of life. The temporary nature of existence. And the true meaning of the phrase - Women: Can't Live With Them....

So how have I dealt with this emptiness, this certainty of eventual oblivion at the hands of a clumsy twirling blonde? I hit ebay and searched for Magic Garden. And what did I find?

The Secret Garden 5Yes. They still make them! I felt the same sparkle of childhood magic when I found that the 1980s packaging was still exactly the same. Thank you Taiwan. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So there follows the unpacking, construction and bringing to life of the Magic Garden. And what happened to it? Someone moved it and it was destroyed all over again. Still...better than driving a Hayabusa into a tree.

Click Here to view the flickr set.

*but not Weird Science. Can't stand Kelly Brook.


  1. :) well, one difference between now and then is that you can probably afford to buy another one and try again ;)
    Great blogpost, and I've really enjoyed the flickr set - reliving my own crustal-garden set (mine had smurfs involved)... may just google to see if they still do that one... ;)

  2. @Taryn - Smurfs?? You won't be the only one checking out google!

  3. great read... heck, i experienced my mid-life crisis when i was 18 years old and it was down hill from there ;-)

    and i'm only 52 so i must be a dead wood by today's standard (LOL)

  4. Ha! And what did you get up to in your crisis, Rob??