The Sad Tale of Skanky's Cactus
When I was, I think, eight years old, I had a cactus. The details are a little vague in my mind; I definitely came home from a school summer fair with it, and it definitely cost me 50p, but I'm not sure whether I bought it or won it on a hoopla. But I remember the little fella very clearly, because it was my first ever plant. It was only a few inches tall, but it was very spiky - like most eight-year-olds, I loved anything vaguely dangerous - and, as a cactus, it didn't need much looking after. I still remember getting home and putting it on the windowsill, and every morning I'd get up extra early to peer at it. I think it even had a name, though even if I could remember it I wouldn't be telling you.
And, of course, I killed it.
For a start, apparently - and this still sounds absolutely ridiculous to me, for very obvious reasons - cactuses don't really like being in the sun. Our house was also pretty chilly, and as summer turned to autumn and autumn to winter my cactus began to shivel away. I probably overwatered it and underwatered it by measures, and I never fed it any nutrients. The final straw was when I poked a couple of holes in it to see if water would shoot out like it does in cartoons, and this was like stabbing it in the heart. Eventually, my Mum threw it in the bin, and I got an extra ten minutes of sleep every day.
I've never forgotten my cactus, though. The experience has been a curse for over two decades now, as I'm convinced that every time I try to plant something it will die. I've almost wilfully become a bad gardener. In the back of my mind, I know that I can kill cactuses through neglect, so what hope do I have of growing anything that actually needs proper looking after?
It's a beautiful spring day as I write this editorial, and I keep popping outside with a cup of tea to marvel at my new creations. I'm growing a number of things in my new mini-greenhouse. French beans, sweetcorn, broccoli and various herbs are poking up from their seed trays, and my tomatoes and chillies are just starting to germinate. Talking chillies, the two small chilli plants my friend gave me - which I had to repot, all on my own - are thriving in the kitchen window. Garlic and onions shots are popping up in the new vegetable patch. If I wasn't writing this, I'd be outside making my French bean frame.
The reason for all this is that, for once, I made a remarkably astute move. I wrote a journal begging for help. A huge number of my friends here have responded with advice, turning me from a bumbling cactus-murderer into someone who's actually starting to cultivate plants. Once again, h2g2 has come to my rescue, and I'm even considering getting another cactus...
Anyway, on with this issue. And it's a very significant one, because this week we're featuring the 150th Platypus Dancing cartoon, created by Tonsil Revenge. That's a lot of cartoons, and when you consider that he's also written 162 episodes of the inimitable Escape Pod Dreams as well, I felt some kind of recognition was in order. We asked Tonsil Revenge to guest-edit the Cartoons for us this week, so in addition to the two new ones you'll find his own favourites from the Platypus Dancing archives. We really hope you enjoy them, and on behalf the team - past and present - I'd like to thank TR for all his work for The Post.
Last week, we told you about a couple of competitions, the 'One Vowel Poems' Competition and the Doctor Who Fanfic Competition. We're a little short of entrants for both, so please do get your creative caps on and get your submissions coming in!
There's an awful lot of great articles in this issue, but I also want to quickly mention Tibley Bobley's story, 'Mrs Endhouse Meddles!', which is a sequel to 'Mrs Endhouse' and was written in response to a request from a reader! The original story is republished in this issue, so make sure you've read that one first! We'll feature part three in the next issue.
Finally, if you're going to the London Meet on Saturday, I hope you have a great time, and when you get home we really want to hear from you. Send us your Meet reports, your photos, and if you fancy doing a bit of filming on your mobile phone, we'd love to have that as well! We'll put together your contributions into one or more articles, depending on how many we get.
The deadline for the next issue is Sunday 4th May. In the meantime, enjoy this issue of The Post!