There comes a time when we all grow up and I fear that time is now for me.
How can I be sure that this long overdue transition is finally in train? It is quite straightforward – I now have a more than vague interest in gardening.
Nothing says middle-aged obscurity more than a dad, with a heavily receding hairline, wielding a trowel and taking sole charge of the lawn mower. It would be wrong to describe this as a full-on obsession but the mere fact that I give our weeds a second thought is all the evidence one needs to conclude I have finally begun to accept some of my adult responsibilities.
This Bank Holiday weekend, when it seemed the entire country was either having a barbecue, on the beach or drinking cider through a straw in a pub beer garden, I was worrying about the lawn and whether or not our saplings were getting enough water.
At one point, I even got into a flap about the wilting petunias in our recently-acquired hanging basket.
It wasn’t that long ago I regarded our back garden as somewhere where we stored the stuff we couldn’t squeeze into the overloaded shed. Now I patrol our modest-sized lawn like an over-zealous park warden and woe betide any slugs which decide to make a play for our prized pansies.
My conversations have taken a turn for the worse too, when once my preferred office chat would centre around the vagaries of the 4-4-2 formation, it is now focused firmly on whether or not I should use blood and bone on my bedding plants.
This change in focus can only be down to the fact that now I am comfortably into my forties and am permanently too knackered to support the licensing industry by walking nine minutes to my local.
There was no horticultural epiphany as such and previously my only brush with the gardening profession came nearly 35 years ago when I visited Percy Thrower’s house with the family.
I may well now be officially grown up and, possibly, ever so slightly more boring, but I am glad that I am finally appreciating the joys of gardening.