Well, we are still here, not having left the house and garden for seven weeks. We are mightily blessed to have the garden and, for most of the time, stunning weather so life has been OK. At the beginning of the lock down which, for us, could last for months as we are categorised as old and frail, I said to Deannie that I would need several projects to keep me sane. On good days, I would work on the garden, much of which still required rescuing from the rock hard clay which formed the potential flower beds. On cold days, I would sort out my study; having tipped everything into the room and the cupboards when we moved, life in the room had not moved on and a serious sort out was required. Talking of a serious sort out leads me to the third project – the garage! We have a large double garage and, before we moved, we racked it all out with four 20ft rows of four tiers high racking and, when we moved, everything got stashed higgledy-piggledy into the garage, much to the amusement and derision of all our friends and relatives. Little has changed and I have been receiving a lot of “stick” from anyone who dares to express an opinion. Management has been extremely tolerant, probably because she is totally overwhelmed whenever she attempts to enter the garage and cannot get beyond the door. I have told her that all she needs to do is tie a rope to the door and the other to her waist, thus ensuring that she will always escape – this works well for me but she does not seem impressed by the idea! The fourth project concerns sorting out photos, many of which go back to the early 1930’s (some into the 1800’s) with the intention of turning them into photobooks for the kids to keep. So, all in all, I shall be OK with lockdown until Christmas. Then, of course, all the colour slides from the 60’s and 70’s need sorting out, scanning and turning into books.
Since we have lived here, I have gone to Morrisons’ supermarket in January and February. They sell the most amazing perennial plants which I take home and “bring on” ready to plant in the Spring. This year, I bought Armeria, Knautia, Erysimum, Linaria, Coreopsis, Campanula, Cymbalaria, Cistus, Lychnis, Hesperis and some Berberis and Viburnum. They were all really inexpensive and we are already enjoying a profusion of colour. Online sources have provided dry root plants such as Dahlia, Dicentra, Red Hot Poker and Echinacia and lots of climbers to cover all my new trellis work. I have spent day after day in the garden for the last seven weeks and it is amazing how friendly the birds have become. Of course, the robin sits on my spade or wheelbarrow but I now have pigeons, collared doves, magpies and blackbirds all in amongst my feet. The blackbirds spend all day digging in my newly worked tilth of soil, digging a big hole in their search for worms and scattering the soil all over the patio. All this while I am working four feet away, planting all my new heathers, etc for them to dig up. The blackbirds – mother, father and, more recently, half a dozen offspring – all work diligently, chucking soil about and grinning at me. I am sure that, if they had two fingers, gestures would be made. The big birds fight for the birdbath. So far, the female pigeon is winning – she just sits in it for long periods of time and the others fly around, more and more irritable because they want a drink or a bath.
Happily, we have no Bluebells or (after an initial skirmish with some infested top soil) Bindweed. However, my beautiful new lawn has become infested with coarse grasses, mostly couch, and the current an is to replace it in the autumn. Bluebells are easier to get rid of.
Unless anything dramatic happens, next month’s article will deal with how much all the plants have grown. Also, I may be able to tell you what I have found in the garage during the clear out!
A bachelor uses the same pub every night. On most evenings, a beautiful girl would come in and drink alone. After a week, he made his move but, despite his best efforts, he could make no progress with her. She would not even accept a drink. Eventually, he asked her “Why won’t you come home with me?” The girl replied “Well, this may seem odd in this day and age but I am saving myself and keeping pure until I meet the man I love.” “Wow” said the bachelor “That must be rather difficult”. “Oh, I don’t mind too much” she replied, “But my husband is quite upset”.
A man was walking along a beach in California when he discovered an old brass lamp. He rubbed it and an irascible genie appeared. “This is the fourth time this month and I am fed up granting wishes, so you can only have one wish”. The man replied “Well, I have always wanted to go to Hawaii but I am scared of flying and I get very seasick. Could you build me a bridge so I can drive there?”. The genie is not impressed “The wishes you people come up with! This idea is ridiculous. How would the supports reach the bottom of the Pacific? How much concrete? How much steel? No, think of another wish!”. “OK” says the man. “Here’s another wish. I have been married and divorced four times. My wives always said that I am uncaring and insensitive. So, my wish is that I could understand women, know how they feel inside and what they are thinking when they give me the silent treatment, know what they are crying and what they really want when they say ‘nothing’. Above all, I want to be able to make them truly happy”.
The genie thinks for a while and then asks “How many lanes should the bridge have, two or four?”.
Best wishes to you all Ian Nisbet