I bought a small cactus from a school fete in 1976. From the size of a golf ball, it grew and eventually developed buds which became babies. These babies were potted up separately and numbered sequentially: All the early offspring were named. Some were given away; most, I kept. Some flourished and some shrivelled up or disappeared. I tracked as many of them as I could do; noted down dimensions, flowers, their offspring, their oddities. Hence the sub-title, "all the same yet all different".
The genus is echinopsis multiplex. Or so I reckon. It was certainly a "starter-cactus" in the 70's, cultivated neatly and placed in garden centres so that kids like me would collect them. Serious cactus collectors later sneered at me when I told them I had built up about a couple of thousand plants all from the same cactus - but their disdain spurred me on like a drug, and it still does.
Over the past few decades I've landed family, friends and acquaintances with the burden of owning them. There's as many great tales of how they've been lost, neglected and abused as there are of those that have been nurtured, loved and offspring potted and similarly given away. I also put them in places, to see what might happen.
I lost a lot when a lovely family of Christians helped me with a temporary home in their greenhouse (for a few months which turned into a few years), when the father Christian inexplicably removed the glass roof. Sadly, the original, 'Mother Cactus' and many others died in the cold and darkness of the outhouse that I had to decant them into. A few baking hot summers of further neglect (under a perspex roof) and a couple of wasps' nest infestations saw a lot of others fall by the wayside. I managed to move the survivors to my own greenhouse where, since 2015, I've been carefully nursing the majority back into some form of health.
In the relatively early days of the internet I built a website using this domain name. In 2004, Our Kid nominated me for 'Web Site of The Day' on a BBC R2 show which was a fairly excruciating fifteen minutes of fame at the time. Here's a summary: http://www.websiteoftheday.info/2004/09/genealogy_for_c.html
So, after spending years in obscurity, this site has been resurrected: Day Of The Cacti 2.0. I hope you like it.