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© John Birch


On the stage one person stands, arms outstretched, representing a tree. Throughout the first half of the sketch it is important that the tree begins to look increasingly sad and drooping.

Character (1) sits next to the tree, apparently showing it a book/ newspaper. There is a mug beneath the tree. Character (2) enters.

2. Morning!

1. Oh, Hi there!

2. All right then, are you?

1. Fine thanks!

2. (NOTICES TREE) How long have you had the tree, then?

1. Oh, a couple of weeks or so.

2. I didn't know you could grow them in the lounge. I thought apple trees had to be planted in the garden?

1. So did I. But then I got talking to this man at the garden center, and he said I should treat it like one of the family. 'Feed it regularly, give it plenty to drink, talk to it nicely and it'll give you a superb crop of delicious apples!' he said.

2. And has it worked?

1. Well... I make it an early morning cup of tea. Then it has porridge and toast for breakfast, while I read the gardening pages in the daily paper.

2. (LOOKING AT TREE) The leaves seem a bit brown!

1. Really?

2. And a bit crinkly!

1. Oh!

2. Are you sure it's getting enough light?

1. There's a 60 watt bulb in the table lamp...

2. And what about food?

1. It had haddock and chips last night, but didn't seem very hungry. Perhaps the apple pie for pudding was a mistake!

2. You gave an apple tree apple pie!

1. Does that make it a cannibal?

2. I don't believe I'm hearing this!

1. Actually, I think it perked up a bit while we were watching Gardeners' World!

2. Those leaves look very shriveled up to me!

1. It could be a new variety... Crinkly Delicious?

2. (SIGHS) It might be that you need to look at a gardening book!

1. Really?

2. (GETTING BOOK FROM SHELF) Here you are. Everything you need to know about growing apple trees!

1. Thanks!

(1) and(2) TOGETHER Several weeks later!



2. Morning!

1. Oh, Hi there!

2. All right then, are you?

1. Fine thanks!

2. Apple tree better now?

1. Brilliant now it's in the garden. You know, I thought I knew everything about growing apple trees until I read that book.

2. That's great!

1. Yes, apparently it's not Crinkly Delicious after all!

2. I had a feeling it might not be! (PAUSE) I hope you don't mind me asking....

1. Fire away!

2. Well, I couldn't help but notice your dog, Butch, as I came through the gate...

1. Didn't bite you again, did he?

2. Buried up to his neck in the flower border!

1. Oh, I didn't tell you, did I?

2. What?

1. I followed the instructions in the gardening book!

2. Pardon?

1. I dug in two buckets of manure first, and then sprinkled bonemeal around each paw.

2. But why?

1. Well, I bought Butch the same day as next door got theirs. He's three foot tall now, but poor Butch is only ten inches high. So I thought, what's good enough for the apple tree must be good enough for Butch!

2. Next door have a Great Dane, don't they?

1. Possibly!

2. And Butch is...?

1. A Chihuahua!

2. Right! (PUTS ARM AROUND (1) AND DRAWS HIM TO FRONT OF STAGE) I'm not quite sure how best to explain this, but if you want to grow apple trees you look in a gardening book....

1. I did that!

2. Right! And now you've got a healthy tree. But if you want a happy dog, you don't look in a gardening book!

1. No?

2. No! You find one about dogs!

1. Right!

2. And if I want to keep my car on the road, I don't look in a book about dogs!

1. Wait! I'm getting the hang of this.....You find one about cars, right?

2. Amazing! And if I want to know how to grow as a person, I don't take too much notice of what I read in the Sun or the News of the World!

1. Right!

2. Nor do I follow every trend and idea that the TV or magazines tell me I should follow.

1. So what do you do, then?

2. I find the right book, of course.....which in my case is the Bible.

1. Yes, that makes sense to me!

2. Great! Now, do you want a hand to dig up Butch before he starts growing roots!