Shingle is a strange substance most often seen as a large collection of small stones spread on a beach, the primary function of which seems to be causing pain and suffering to those expecting soft sand. In other locations, of course, this task is performed by broken bottles, sticks, hypodermic needles and the normal detritus of a modern day beach.
However, shingle has since spread from its natural home on the beaches of Britain and is now invading the homes and gardens of humans far from the coast. It can be found in bowls in the house, around trees and shrubs on patios and, in extreme cases, covering entire gardens in an attempt to create a seaside motif.
This last case is particularly odd, because gardeners in general spend many, many hours removing small stones from their lawns. Modern fashion now dictates that they then cover the garden in an entirely different collection of small stones. This might be seen as a waste of time, but then fashion is sometimes considered to be a waste of either time or money, or both. Specially washed, selected and graded shingle is very expensive. Purchase of such costly stones is usually a sign that the gardener has watched too many gardening programmes and is suffering from the so-called 'Dimmock Effect' (see below).
Shingle is best enjoyed in its natural environment; on a freezing and windswept beach through tears of pain. In recent years many gardeners have taken to removing shingle from its natural habitat in an attempt to avoid paying for the aforementioned washed, selected and graded shingle, and thus avoiding wasting both time and money. This activity is deplored by many eco-friendly people.
The Dimmock Effect
Charlie Dimmock is one of the presenters on a British gardening programme called Ground Forcein which a team of expert gardeners go in to ordinary suburban gardens and radically change the layout and appearance of them in a single weekend, as a surprise for one of the residents of the house.
Charlie Dimmock gained a lot of media attention because:
She was discovered working in a garden centre by one of the producers and is generally a 'down to earth' person.
She is frequently responsible for the laying of shingle for pathways and water features in the gardens she works on.
She's a rather well-endowed lady, usually wears tight T-shirts and never wears a bra.
She is quite popular with gentlemen viewers and it could be said she is one of the people responsible for the gardening revolution sweeping across Britain.