Neil: Oooookay…umm Tony?  Why are you phoning me?


Tony:  You know Neil, I love the taste of freshly grown vegetables and fruits picked straight from the garden and so does all the wildlife who populate my lovely garden. Sometimes I think all my effort is only for them…my only friends.  Sometimes I speak to the birds Neil, I tell them about my philosophy for beautiful football, but all they seem to do is mock me Neil and then I feel sad, but hey, I take it on the chin and move on.  It’s nice having the birds as my peers, well them and Peter and Mark, they’re both living in a couple of flower pots round the back of my potting shed.  They’ve got a friend called Weed and they say goodnight to him and he goes “WEEEEED!”

Neil: It sounds like you’ve got a friend called weed too Tony.  You been smoking any recently?

Tony: Ha!  But in a seriousness Neil, I like my garden to look really nice for the birds, but sometimes the plants let me down with their habit of not growing quickly enough, oh well, take it on the chin and move on.  I remember once when my little apple tree finally grew an apple. “Tomorrow,” I thought to myself. “Tomorrow I will pick the first and only apple that has grown on my apple tree and then I will eat it.” Only I never got to pick my apple. A squirrel got to it first. Which I might not have minded so much, except that he only took two or three bites, decided he didn’t like the apple and threw it away. I was almost tempted to eat the apple anyways, but I wasn’t quite sure if that would be a good idea.

Neil:  Apples?  Squirrels? Are you okay Tony?

Tony: Aye, Neil I’m fine, I’m fine, I’m just waiting on my big payout from Peter Lawell, I’m sure the cheque is in the post and it’ll arrive any day now.  Hey, did I tell you about the squirrel?  Well another time, I was growing tomatoes in my vegetable patch, it had taken ages for them to grow and one day I looked out and saw dozens of them Neil, dozens of little green tomatoes and I knew that they’d be ready to eat in a couple of days.  I marked the day in my calendar Neil, I put a big red circle round it and then sat back and waited.  Well, come the picking day I woke up really early and ran outside in my pyjamas to see my tomatoes.  But you know what Neil?  They were all gone.  Every last one of them.  During the night a bear had come along and eaten all of the little baby tomatoes. No tomatoes for me.  I was sad, but I knew then that the bear would have eaten the most wonderful tomatoes in the world Neil and he would have been a very happy bear.

Neil: Bears?  In England?

Tony: Oh yes, Neil, they’re everywhere down here, the other day I saw one driving an Aston Martin down the high street.  Can you believe that?  I mean, how could he afford an Aston Martin?

Neil: …I’m speechless Tony…

Tony: Me too Neil.  You know years ago, there was this hedgehog that would come into my garden, just to eat the buttercups growing in the grass.  It used to make his chin go all yellow, which means you like butter apparently, but I digress.  I wanted to mow my lawn that day but I nothing I could do would make that damn hedgehog move.  I played loud music, let off fireworks, started a bonfire, everything.  I even used to drive my ride-on lawn mower straight at him, screaming obscenities, you know, psyching him out, playing chicken and all that.  Well, this hedgehog refused to move until he’d eaten every last dandelion.  I ended up having to drive around him.  My lawn was in a terrible state, what with several hedgehog shaped patches of long grass in the middle of an otherwise pristinely mowed lawn…

Neil: Tony?

Tony: Yes pal?

Neil: Don’t phone me again.

*Click.*  (Neil hangs up.)

Tony: Okay Neil, so anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, In the back of my garden, down by the shed, amongst the sunflowers, lives this family of pixies, or are they fairies?  I can never tell the difference these days…