But then again, many swashbucklers before me have had stranger occupations and hobbies when not employed at their adventurous callings. In an interlude between naval wars, Horatio Hornblower was laid off from sailing and earned his living as a professional gambler. This wasn’t as irresponsible as it sounds. In the novel Lieutenant Hornblower, the title character frequented a few whist games at a local club and was asked by the proprietor of the establishment to sit in as a fourth player if any party was lacking in one. And he got paid for this, the lucky sea dog!
While gambling seemed tempting, I didn’t go quite that far. I am currently employed in something almost as exciting and dangerous, namely appearing as an extra on various movie sets. Last week I was a wealthy socialite, and this week I am just a “passer-by” on the set of an upcoming sci-fi show. Earlier this summer I appeared as a citizen of San Francisco in the upcoming Godzilla film.
I couldn’t help but think of the A-Team, in which Hannibal Smith moonlights as “the Aquamaniac” in the interludes between helping the oppressed. The A-Team being sort of a modern-day swashbuckler, I think this is ample proof of movie-making as a veritable swashbuckling pursuit, at least in the temporary absence of greater adventures.
Anyways, I began this blog post with horticulture because this has been another way this swashbuckler passes the time.
It all started with a job fair…
I attended said job fair seeking a full-time job, but did not succeed in that regard.
In any case, I was given much swag at this job fair. One of the things I was given was a small envelope containing basil seeds courtesy of the City of Vancouver. The website for seeking civic jobs was inscribed on the envelope, but being the flaky writer that I am, I forgot to look for civic jobs, and instead, I decided to plant the seeds. I had had a rather unsuccessful string of horticultural experiments in elementary school that put me off attempting to grow anything for a long time, and so about 15 years later it was with trepidation that I planted these City of Vancouver seeds into four small pots on my balcony.
This time, however, I did not fail. So amazed was I by the progress of my plants that I documented their growth photographically.
It’s important not to pour vast torrents of water on the seeds to avoid displacing them. They need to stay close to the surface for the sprouts to make their way upward. I made various small punctures in the plastic cap of a water bottle and thus gently watered the seeds with lukewarm water. Amazingly, after just a few days, sprouts pushed from under the earth!
And soon developed their first leaves.
With more watering and plenty of sunlight…
this was the result. Finally, I decided they deserved a bigger pot, so I repotted them. Re-potting proved very daunting, for it required separating some of the plants whose roots had become rather intertwined. I separated them very carefully, though a few roots got ripped in the process, but the basil thrived nevertheless!
I also added mulch (mowed grass) to keep the water from evaporating.
And here are the plants in their current state!
I took this amazing success as a sign that gardening is indeed a swashbuckling occupation. Like all swashbucklers, I endeavor to protect the oppressed, and in these times of pollution and clear-cutting it seems that plant life is very much oppressed. So, I try to support it, as well as giving myself extra credentials as an author of a novel about dryads.