My Name? J.R. Hartley

My brain was a real sponge in the 80s and 90s when it came to TV adverts; and I seem to live my life via these ingrained phrases sometimes. Having been thrilled to see my book (Gardening For Profit, subtle plug there) on sale at the Oxford Real Farming Conference on Tuesday at the Blackwells stand, I thought I’d pop into my local Waterstones in Bath, just on the off-chance that they stocked it too. Sadly not. Blast.

However, I asked the helpful lady behind the desk whether it was possible to order in. “Oh yes, as long as it’s in print, we can order any book for you – shall I order it now?” Now I suddenly foresaw the J.R.Hartley moment from the old 80s’ Yellow Pages advert if I carried on along this route, where he tries to track down a copy of his own book on flyfishing (apologies to all those too young or not in the UK then). So being the hard-nosed professional that I am, I got horribly embarassed and scuttled off before agreeing to the order, murmuring something about coming back later to order it. I’ll wait another 30 years before doing a J.R.Hartley again I think.

But back to the ORFC on Tuesday; despite weather and traffic dramas, the day was really interesting and useful. I was spoilt for choice when it came to sessions, so apart from my own (really interesting discussion from everyone there on innovation and research for commercial smallholders), I also took in the session on tools for small growers (probably the most useful and practical session of the day); as well as the group on Enlightened Selling, and the last session on democratising research. In between there were also endless captivating discussions and skillshares with lots of new people; it’s always so nice to talk to those you’ve never met before but who have a similar outlook (although of course there was still a wide range of opinion on everything under the sun, but you can always find someone practical to chat to). A real boost for the enthusiasm too in these depressing cold months.


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