By: Blonde Two
Last week, when the Two Blondes were walking up to Hartland Tor, I noticed a large clump of bamboo growing somewhat incongruously behind a traditional Dartmoor stone wall. This sighting worried me for a while until I remembered that we live in the damp and cold UK. Let me explain.
I am in the lucky position of being able to spend a proportion of my Augusts in New Zealand. In New Zealand, some plants that we treasure and nurture in our chilly UK gardens take on a whole different aggressive persona. Bamboo is a good example, it grows and spreads like wild fire wherever it is planted and one of my favourite NZ jobs is to cut down great loads of it to build big bonfires with – it has always come back the next year so I always have a bonfire to build (bamboo pops loudly when you burn it).
After a bit of consideration, it seemed clear to me that, unlike the gorse (also a problem in NZ), the bamboo that I saw at Hartland Tor was unlikely to find anywhere nearby that was warm enough to spread to. So I stopped worrying about that. Bamboo does, however, keep popping up in my outdoor life.
For example, I was given a bamboo top for my birthday. This doesn’t sound very comfortable but it is, in fact a lovely soft top. Someone must have been very pleased with herself (obviously it was a woman) the day she came up with the method of converting spiky plants into wearable fabric. I have read mixed reports about bamboo’s sustainability and eco-warrior-plant status so I am not sure about that. I can, however, agree with the hype that bamboo clothes are warm, breathable, non-smelly and attractive. I shall be buying some more.
The second odd bamboo event that has happened recently was while Mr Blonde Two and I were waiting for my WGL assessment the other evening (he was waiting and I was gibbering), a lady on a bamboo bike pulled into the Postbridge car park. I didn’t believe Mr B2 at first and thought “Bamboo” must be a make of bike that I haven’t heard him talk about (he cycles, I don’t). Sure enough, however, there was a bike and the frame was made of bamboo and it did look rather cool.
So I have a plan – I am going to buy that field near Hartland Tor, grow the bamboo for a few years and then make myself a bike and some rather snazzy cycling gear. Or, if the mood takes me, I could just have a very big bonfire!