Monday, 5 December 2011

Irish Satire?

Putting my sister on the train at the weekend, we noticed this graffiti written on the side of the carriage:
We stood on the platform and nearly laughed ourselves sick!

Satire? Political? Humour?

Only in Ireland!

Monday, 28 November 2011

THAT sort of day...

If the rain is blowing in on the wind, would you call it a windy day?...or a rainy day?...

If you drove to school with the headlights on, had lights on inside all day because it was so grey and dark, and then drove home in the dark, would that be a day's work?...or a night's work?...

Is a duck allowed to use a zebra crossing?...and if you are as wet as a duck, but not officially a duck, are you still allowed to use the zebra crossing?

And if, driving along the street in town, you come up behind four soggy people carrying canoes and paddles, does that mean you've strayed into the river?...or are they taking a short cut ?...

Its been that sort of day really.

Add in: a small boy throwing his coat in the air for fun, and it being blown over the school roof, and road, into the hotel next door...losing the school telephone (twice...)...going into the chemist to buy school supplies and being loudly asked whether I've been banjaxing the children AGAIN...and forgetting my errands list on the desk in the office...

Some days are just like this.

I'm ready for tomorrow now, please?

But I did get a pair of 5.5mm knitting needles, so I can begin my sister's shrug! So it wasn't a total washout!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Run of Three??

So...on Friday I ran out of petrol after buying a take-away supper to share with Middlest. There we are sitting in the car as the parking lot empties, wondering whose turn it is to be rung for help this time (no brainer really though, what are husbands for?), and Youngest phones Middlest to walk down and meet us and bring three forks!!! We sat in the car and ate and partied!

On Sunday I broke my glasses, dropped them and stood on them whilst looking for them! That's what comes of being half blind...I guess the amazing thing is that it has taken 40something years for that particular accident to happen! The Hub stuck them together with silage tape so I could drive and get to school.

And Tuesday (this morning) I left the car headlights on, so that by 3 o'c the battery was totally flat...

........which leaves just what for my next trick?....

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Disturb Us, Lord...

Disturb us, Lord,

when we are too well pleased with ourselves;

when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little;

when we arrive safely because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess

we have lost our thirst for the Waters of Life;

having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity;

and in our efforts to build a new earth,

we have allowed our vision of the new heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly -

to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery;

where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.

We ask you push back the horizons of our hopes,

and to push us in the future with strength, courage, hope and love.

Possibly by Ted Loder, taken from Maggie Dawn's place...

Friday, 11 November 2011


The other evening, Youngest was  checking to see whether the baked potatoes were cooked, and needed an oven glove. They live on the shelf over the Range, which is just within the reach of the Shorties in this household! Youngest stretched to reach the oven gloves and then complained that she must be shrinking because it was a farther stretch than normal.

I snorted.

Or perhaps I had moved the shelf?

Don't be daft.

Or...wait for it...the walls had stretched!

Yeah, right!

No! No! She had it! The floors were SINKING!!!

Would sinking floors be a problem in your house?????!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


The temporary school has a lovely big yard, all evenly tarmacked over, with no uneven surfaces, potholes, or stretches of slippery mud.

Unlike the previous yard.

AND YET...yesterday we had a collision between one child's teeth and another's head, and every day sees a continuous stream of grazes, bumps, cuts, and mishaps. Thank goodness for bulk bargains in plasters and antiseptic wipes! I was actually wondering whether I should put a red cross on my office door?!

This afternoon one of the builders was going around checking for possible visitors' entrances- of the rodentish variety. Teachers had discovered several, I said there were none in the office and went off on an errand. Returned to find him with a big grin saying he'd found a lovely 'front door' right under my desk!!!

So much for being observant!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Beeeeeeeen Busy Busy!

You know how some weeks, or even months, disappear, and you wonder what there is to show for the time that has gone? Well recently I've the opposite situation! Looking back over the past month, I'm wondering just how I managed to do everything which I had to do!

A fortnight ago, the Youth Group and the school children did the Sunday Morning Service in the Cathedral. It turned out grand! We had one hundred children in the Choir and they were just amazing! The Youth Group did me proud too, both in writing the Service and then leading the worship on the day, and also performing two sketches.

We celebrated by having lunch together and watching the World Cup Rugby final...I think perhaps that the young people gave me more entertainment than the match did!!! Am I allowed to admit that???

This week the School packed up and moved premises- lock, stock, and one steaming Principal! Packing has been going on for weeks, and on Thursday a group of parents came to the school and removed all the shelves and boards from the walls ready to transport. We have eight Classes, so you can imaging there was a lot to dismantle.

Friday, more parents turned up with vans and trailers and everything was moved to the temporary site in the course of the day. One teacher said that we should have sent out party invitations as the whole thing went so well and everyone treated it like a fun outing. I tell you, there wasn't a cross word spoken all day, and it was SOME DAY!!!!

This morning the children all arrived back from their mid-term break, sooooo excited with their different school! It all went very smoothly, entirely due to the Teachers spending the last two days unpacking and setting up everything ready for this morning.

And so it goes- a VERY busy month...and now I have to unpack the School Office and put everything in order!!

Antidote to boredom??????

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Look What Arrived in the Post!!

So there I am, trundling wearily in from school, grocery shopping, doing errands, and then waiting for Youngest to finish her after school activities...and guess what is on my door mat?

A parcel from ULLA!
Isn't that just the best surprise to come home to?! All beautifully wrapped in pretty paper, with twirly ribbon and a lovely card...

...and such very useful things inside!
A tote bag, which is Teflon treated to keep it clean and longer-lasting...and a really useful zipper bag, both made from Marimekko fabric, which I just love!

This tote is going to school with me tomorrow, for sure!
And aha! A bar of chocolate from Finland!...and look! Ulla has even sewn on a 'Kotkarankki' label!
How great is that!

Thank you so much, Ulla! I will really enjoy using these bags, and I will think of you often!

And I will really enjoy tasting the chocolate bar too!

Now I need to get back to my sewing table and make the PIF Treats for my People!!

Afterthought: I have a fridge-magnet in my kitchen which says: 'The one thing better than a good friend, is a good friend with chocolate!'
I reckon that makes Ulla one of the BEST!!

Monday, 3 October 2011

Heckety Has A Job, Begorrah!

So did you think I was lost? Or were you just enjoying the quiet?????

Actually, you'll never guess what!

I accidentally got myself a temporary job which PAYS me to work!!!

Whoop-di-doo and all things amazing!

It was like this: At the end of August the secretary of the school where I teach Music, suddenly handed in her notice. One of the teachers leaped into the breach....or was she pushed?... and held the fort for a fortnight or so, but she was neglecting her students, of course.

One day when I was in, I offered to help out as a stop-gap, as they were becoming somewhat stressed, and there really is a lot to do at the beginning of the school year- between paperwork and dealing with new parents' enquiries. They accepted, temporarily, probably because I've taught part-time, full-time, paid, and voluntary, over the last eleven years, so I know the place and they certainly know me...(the expression, 'better the devil you know, than the devil you don't,' does spring to mind here...).

Finding a reliable, professional secretary, who is happy to deal with endless interruptions and constant children visiting the Office, is a bit of a tricky job. For the moment it is 'on hold' due to the priority of  so much other 'stuff', primarily the moving of the entire school into temporary accommodation at the end of October, so that building work can be commence on the permanent site. Of course that was meant to happen during the hols, but.....

Anyhow, to my astonishment, at the end of the first week of my tenure (!!!!!) I was paid! Imagine! Being paid to orchestrate absolute chaos, tease the children, play tricks on the staff ,and get the secretarial work utterly wrong!?!?!

Phone rings, 'Hello? Berry School.'
'Hello, could I speak to the Principal please? Its Claire McDee.'
Heckety trots into the Principal's Office: 'Its Sarah McDee on the line for you.'
Principal: 'Are you sure? I thought she was Claire.'
Heckety: 'Ummmmm, you could be right, I can't remember now.'
......Claire it was....

Another Example :
A very small, very serious new boy arrives from class with a request for photocopying, and while its clanking away he asks very politely whether I'd like to hear a joke? Ooooh yes!
'What do you call a penguin with his head stuck in your letter-box, Mrs H?'
H: I don't know!
Solemn little boy: 'A bill.'
H: Ha Ha, that's great! Where did you get that one?
Solemn little boy: 'I have a book of jokes, Mrs H.' and off he goes clutching the photocopying.

Good variety,eh?!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Size Matters...or Not?

This morning I was in School doing my usual Music teaching, as well as winding up sundry children...and got a real inadvertent wind-up myself!

I hadn't gone in to talk to the new Junior Infants last week, so thought I would do so today. I must admit that to teach them would, for me, be akin to sitting in a can of live worms, but in short bursts they can be terribly funny. After a bit of chat their teacher asked them whether they knew my name? To which one bright spark exclaimed: 'She's The Piano!'

Of course I am!

Does it give a whole new meaning to, 'Does my bum look big in this?' or what!!!

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Long Cut Home...

I'm trying the new Blogger interface, so let me know if anything daft...dafter than usual....transpires on this post after publishing!

On Thursday our road home was closed for work so I had to use the Dromahair road, longer, but gorgeous scenery. I stopped above Colgagh Lough (pronounced Kol-ga) for photos. It was a fairly overcast afternoon but you can see the spread of the valley.
Looking north west...
Looking north...over the hills to the north east (right of photo) would be our place.
If you can enlarge this, it gives a bit of information on the valley.
This van I saw in a car park and had to take a photo- isn't Dripsey just the most brilliant name for an Irish town?????

On Tuesday and Thursday of this week I have put in several hours of work in the Cathedral Churchyard: weeding and clearing the borders by the Main Gate, clearing two of the larger graves which were choked with weeds, and digging back collapsed banks and replacing stones. A man regularly cuts the grass, and another parishioner keeps the edges of the drive clear of weeds, but maintenance is up to whoever has the time. Since at present everyone is trying to get the Hall painted and cleaned for use while the Cathedral is full of scaffolding and paint buckets, it seemed fair for me to mount an attack on the holy weeds!

I'll take some photos next week, just 'afters' though!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Would you believe, the ONE school textbook I thought we didn't have to buy because its already in the house can't be found?

We spent Monday afternoon tearing the girls' rooms and all the bookcases apart- and what d'ya bet, as soon as I buy a new copy, the old one will be discovered somewhere really obvious?!

What sort of Murphy's Law is that? €218 so far on textbooks for Youngest this term, another four texts at least to buy, and Middlest has lost the copy of MacBeth which Youngest needs.




Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Of Churi Dahl, Weirdies, and Thrift Shop

The Lady for whom Middlest has been 'au pairing' this month wanted some small alterations to her daughters' new Churi Dahl Dresses (spelling? my Gujarati isn't so good...) and they are so very pretty I took a few photos to show you!
The baby's dress: (purple trousers to match)

These are the cuffs on the trousers- aren't they gorgeous? The colour is bad, they are forest green in reality.
And the toddler's dress, which go with the green trousers:
I used to wear Churi Dahl in East Africa, both for smart and for comfort, and boy! in a really hot, humid climate they are the most comfortable garments you could wish well as covering up so well that you don't get burned, which is obviously also an issue.
I have about five outfits myself, and a Hindi friend used to share her formal ones with me when we had 'big' occasions. I wore the most ornate of mine here in Ireland once when I had to attend a formal School Charity Ball, and no one seemed to mind. I love them, comfortable and you feel fabulous!

Today is the last day before School starts for Youngest, and as she had school meetings this morning I was ambling around town for a bit. There's a furniture display in Johnston's Court and I thought this chair was just hilarious:
But these metal wall ornaments were ace...

...and I wondered whether I could play with the design for an embroidery, redwork perhaps, or in black thread? or perhaps appliqué? Anyhow, I though they were 'my' thing!

And then, in the Thrift shop I found this suede shirt, brand new, with amazing cutwork all around the hem:
Actually by its length its more of a tunic...should be a useful garment!
I also got matching pillowcases for Middlest, pink, with pictures of shoes on....absolutely spot on if you only knew- Imelda Marcos had nothing on our Middlest (in the shoe department- as far as I know, Middlest's dictator tendancies are quite stunted)...and a lined school skirt for Youngest. I paid €3 for the grey skirt and another €3 for a packet of navy blue dye: new, the school skirts cost upward of €40. Bargain!

Now tell me, am I thrifty, or am I thrifty?!

(Actually, its call being stingy, I know!!!)

Friday, 26 August 2011

A Walk in the Woods

This morning I decided to go to Hazelwood and see whether I could find seeds and nuts to plant for trees. I have been reading about the composition of hedgerows and thought I would try to grow my own! When they heard where I was going, Youngest, Small Dog and Eldest thought they would join the expedition. We were nearly two hours walking, and I think I found more photo ops than seeds, but it was such a lovely morning that it was just wonderful to be out in the forest!

Youngest and Small Dog aka Heinz.
 A very light-starved toadstool...
...and a very well camouflaged toadstool, isn't the camouflage amazing?
There was a long stretch of dense canopy shade, and then in the one spot where the sun shone through there was this ragwort growing about 4' tall!
Clover, beech, and moss- an amazing variety of mosses on the ground and on tree trunks.
Yew candles, lots of them and very pretty.
View across Half Moon Bay from along the lake.
View across Lough Gill towards Clogherevagh and the islands.
I came across Peter Pan crowing in the old Yew- 'Oh the cleverness of Me!'
New Boots? Oh Yeah! First outing and they had a lovely time too!
This should have been at the start, as I took it when we got out of the car on arrival. As you can tell, it was a lovely morning.
And now I have two somnambulent gargoyles and one snoring Dog Person all sprawled in the sitting room watching  the DVD of 'Ice Age' (???), as one does after a long walk in the woods!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Progress? I Think...

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week I was busy out of the house, or, when I was at home, I worked in the garden.

To the uneducated eye this stretch of gravel may look very dull, but I assure you that many hours of hard weeding went into making it look this boring!

Next on the agenda is dealing with the two veg beds, which, as you can see need quite a lot of attention. I harvested a bucket of onions and garlic from the right hand one, but its since gone over to dock. And the left one is just a Triffid Nightmare. The rhubarb is happy but the Brown Wind ruined the raspberries, and the rest is just things gone to seed and running rampant. Its keeping me awake at night with its Rave music...

In the greenhouse (cupboard!) I sowed a few seeds in the hopes of having a last hurrah before the winter sets in. We very often have mild weather until the end of October, and some years it has even been mid-November before we've needed the heating, so with a bit of luck we'll get something out of this batch.

I sowed mangetout, borage, mullein (an investment against next spring) also cress and winter salad. The cress, peas and winter salad are sprouting, the others are still thinking about it. Also, indoors, I sowed Evening Primrose, which is germinating madly, so that's exciting! Oh, and spring onions... (As usual I got my seeds from Seedaholic.)

I found some cabbage seedlings around the side of the house, so I put them up on the shelf to see whether they would recover. Also, the apple pips I planted last summer sprouted, to my surprise, so I separated and re potted them. I don't know whether they will ever do much, but its worth keeping them going to see what happens. Oh, and I shook out some seeds from a foxglove on the lane and sowed them to see whether they would germinate (VERY clearly LABELLED!!).

I pulled the rapidly multiplying montbretia out of the salad bed, and intend taking them in to the Churchyard and planting them there next week. For the moment they are in water with some compost tea added to hopefully keep them happy. They'll be drunk as skunks by Monday.

And so to the salad bed... minus the aforementioned montbretia, and all the chard which had gone to seed. Parsley, ditto, mustard, ditto ditto. I pulled up reams of strawberry runners which were holding a Berry Olympic around the edges of the fact there were so many strawberry runners that there was no room for weeds, which was kinda handy I suppose.

I've planted a few of the perpetual spinach at the far end, as usual I forgot to water them so they were a bit sulky. I'm waiting to see whether they turn up their toes or kick up their heels.

I have to admit to having mixed feelings about growing strawberries. For a start, although home grown berries are delicious, there are never very many per plant, and you'd need to put down about 40 or 50 plants to be worth eating. And secondly, take your eye off them for a fortnight and they either keel over and die or they run rampant and strangle everything within reach. Or perhaps its just my slap-happy approach to gardening which is at fault, rather than the strawbs!

And just to finish, Heinz has learned a new trick which is either funny or annoying, depending. If you ignore him when he wants to play, he goes gets Bear (present from Eldest), brings it to you, and if you still ignore him he somehow flips it up at you to get your attention! Yesterday everyone was out for several hours so I was working on the laptop and Bear kept hitting me, and occasionally landing on the keyboard!

So there it is. Getting out into the Garden is a step, right?
And the Hub bought me hiking boots so now I need to brave the wider world...well, step outside the gate at any rate...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A New Resident in the Beck-House

There is a new member in the Beck household: Middlest decided to re-home a stray found in town by friends. They advertised for two weeks to find his owners, but no luck. I had mixed feelings about having another dog, and a small one at that, especially since Middlest is living-in at her present job, and will only be home periodically once College starts. But as you can see, he's such a clever animal that Youngest is even teaching him to type....

I don't know how much more he has to grow, not much I think, and he is a gas character: bright as a button, nosey, and full of bounce. They called him the Kiswahili equivalent of 'Heinz 57', though the vet thinks he's a Jack Russell- Dachshund cross, more 'Heinz 2' (that sounds more like a new car oil, huh?!).

Hoover Dog and The Fluffster aren't quite certain of him yet. Hoover Dog would quite like to be friends, but its a bit like Piglet and Tigger, when someone is so very full of bounce you never know quite what will happen next, and Hoover Dog likes predictability! The Fluffster has gone all curmudgeonly and grumpy over the whole issue and really objects to being invited to play by a mere pip-squeak of an animal...

Life in the Zoooooooo......

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Of Churches and Paint

On Thursday of this week the Hub had two pieces of Church work to do, and suggested I went along with him. The first concerned the Sound System in our Cathedral which has become increasingly out of kilter over the summer, part of the nave was deafening, the other was faint, and up near the front people couldn't hear properly at all.
A friend came to play with the settings, whilst the Hub read parts of the Prayer book into each microphone in turn, and yours truly ran up and down the aisles and scrambled across pews to listen from all corners! It was soon sorted, and whilst the Hub fixed the woggle on the Lectern, I examined the framed certificates and photos in the Vestry- I always learn something new!

One very large, framed, open letter to a past Rector on his transferment-ing to a new Parish is beautifully calligraphated(??) with watercolour illustrations, by hand of course. It is dated 1917.

This is the Cathedral, at the time, although it was just a Parish Church back then:

This is the interior- more of which below:

This is a medallion of 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree' by WB Yeats, one of our fairly well known locals!

And just to amuse you, this is another piece of history, a list of the Rectors and Curates since 1635. I don't know whether it will enlarge for you, but if you look at the lower left side you can see where several hands have updated it using very scratchy pens!

Outside, the restoration work continues on the Tower. On Sundays we all have to dodge plaster and rubble,  flakes of paint, and  four hundred year old dust bunnies flushed out of hiding. No one wears their best coats at present, and last week I saw an eighty plus year old man using his sleeve to dust down the pew before his wife sat in! He saw me giggling and threatened to use my scarf next week!

And so to the story of the paint: With all the re-plastering and damp course work being done, the remaining  interior paint is in a shocking state. The Vestry got someone to come up with two new paint schemes and last Sunday everyone had to inspect them and note which they preferred. The two boards were propped up down by the Font, and I tell you, with all the hullabaloo and heated discussion its a wonder no one was knocked into the Font! It was nearly as exciting as the X Factor I'm a-tellin' yez!

Well the second Church job was to visit the RC Church out at Collooney as they have just finished having it painted. (We stopped for MacDonalds' on the way, and ate it on the Battlefield at Carricknagat- 1798- no corpses one does...)
It was beautifully done, lovely warm, rich reds and creamy beiges, with white on the mouldings, and looked fresh and welcoming. However the ceiling is in three sections, whereas ours is one large expanse, basilica style I think? Also our lights aren't pendants, but fixed so if we have a darkish ceiling we'd have to bring torches to read the prayers...and that's for Morning Service!

Soooooo, much discussion ensued, and the decorator has to be re-consulted!

Still, it was interesting...AND I managed to be out for three hours without panicking, and even talk coherently (I think?) to several people. No small achievement...But I didn't manage to get myself to see Youngest's Show- an Auditorium of 500 people was just too much. I feel bad for her about that, as apparently she is excellent, a total witch of a woman on stage!

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Experimental Year Project-cont'd...

I think I must define some parameters, a few ‘wills’ and ‘will nots’, which is a bit difficult with all the ideas jostling for space in my head.

Perhaps some aims would be more constructive?

I want to be well, or as the Book of Common Prayer says, ‘to renew a right spirit within me’, which is a beautiful and succinct way of expressing the desire to be at peace with oneself and the wider surroundings.

I want to live so closely with the Land, the Countryside, Nature (??) that I experience the rhythm of the seasons and can see, smell, touch the changes which go with the seasons. I have an idea that this disconnection, which is part of modern living, is at the root of some of our collective malaise.

I want to grow more of what we eat, and to forage what can’t be grown due to the short seasons and stony soil. I want to learn more about the growing habits of edible and medicinal plants too, and any others which would have been common in the past…preferably without poisoning either myself or my family!

I want to find out more about the country ways, how they evolved and what needs to be kept and remembered against the future- and how I’ll do that I don’t know.

I want to use the camera to keep a record of what there is to see; to see beauty in the everyday and the mundane, not for the sake of ‘art’ but simply because it’s there and I can.

August is a pretty daft time to start such an Experiment, is it not? The end of the growing season, of the Summer, and the beginning of Autumn and the drift into cold and dark. I have always loved Autumn and also Winter, the bleakness, the low sun, the appearance of bare trees and branches against the sky, and the way one can see so much further without any leaves on. I love watching the rain blow up the valley, and sitting by the fire on a stormy night. I don’t like the nor’easterlies we get up in the mountains here, but at least my Rowan tree is good and strong so there’ll be no witches blown into this house!

Yes, August is not really the best time to begin. Have you ever looked at the date of some important event or historical achievement and thought, ‘isn’t that an odd day to have done….?’ It took me the best part of secondary school to figure that history is a progression, and the likes of Walter Raleigh and Henry the Navigator weren’t necessarily looking at the calendar when they finally achieved their dreams.

Not that I rate myself among such august company, it’s just an observation! So, August it is, and so the Experimental Year shall begin…

Two things I need to get this week though, before I start hiking around the bogs and glens- a decent pair of shoes, and a waterproof raincoat, neither of which I own, odd as it may seem.

Job numero uno!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Experimental Year Project

Just when you think you have your life as sorted as it can be, and the moves down to a fine art and can catch any curveball which comes your way, things shift.  As some of you know, the last eighteen months for me has passed in an almost continuous downward spiral of depression and increased inability to cope with even the smallest daily mediocrities, let alone any of life’s challenges.

I’ve taken the drugs, stronger and stronger. Some days I’ve pretended all is well and managed to function for an hour or two in public, but other times I have taken refuge in a dark room for days at a time. I am regularly ill, have two to three day migraines, and stamina and general health are very poor. By now the toll isn’t just on myself, but also on the Hub and Youngest.  The Health Service is so stretched that whatever assistance there may once have been is needed more by others, if it was ever available.

I’ve read books on Depression, on fighting the demons, on winning the Battle for one’s mind. I’ve done workbooks on Cognitive Therapy, of developing oneself , and read more and more books and advice- journaling, walking, distractions. It’s reached the stage when I am often too fearful to go outside my own front door: like Chicken Licken I fear the sky may really fall on me.
So last week I bought a book which I heard of some time ago but never read: Richard Mabey’s ‘Nature Cure’. All I knew about the book was that it is his account of getting to the other side of a truly horrendous season of depression. It is more than that. Firstly, it was a nervous breakdown he had as well as depression, and secondly, it is so much more than a journey through his mind. It is an interesting, thought-provoking look at where he fits in the natural order, but even that doesn’t do justice to it.

But it has got me thinking, (as if I don’t already do enough of that!), but this is linear thinking (I think), rather than corkscrewish cogitation, and a plan or project is slowly forming in my poor darkly abused mind:
What if (I love ‘what if’ scenarios!)…what if I could live as close to the Land as possible for one whole year?
What if I could be a part of the circadian rhythm of the seasons instead of floating by them, ignoring them, or complaining bitterly about inconveniences the season brings?
What if I was able to connect with what is happening in the countryside around me rather than living on the periphery but apart from it?
What if I took a step backwards and delved into the roots, customs, ways and means of living in this place, just this one place, for a year?

I can’t ditch the ‘mod cons’, as my Granny would call them, and I have to consider the fact that the Hub is working, and Youngest in her penultimate year of school so will have a lot of studying. Also it would appear that Middlest (and her dog) is moving home as well as returning to College (she says her party days must be regulated???) from September onwards, so my Experiment will, of necessity, be tempered by reality- not a bad thing perhaps.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Garden News

Since there was a break in the rain this morning, I decided to sort out some jobs, instead of the endless monotonous weeding. I repotted the four Woad plants which survived the Winter (or my neglect, depending on your opinion?) To separate their intertwined roots I had to tip them out and tease them apart ever so carefully, so I hope they do alright.

So much for the Salad Bed- its been over-run by parsley and strawberries, and the single montbretia which arrived last year has somehow multiplied into about ten plants at least. The Chard (red stems) are pretty much done for, and the parsley needs a severe talking to. If I just cut all the parsley back I'm wondering if it will behave itself for another year- does anyone know? Or once it has gone to seed as spectacularly as this do I need to start anew?

Back in May we had 'The Brown Wind' which burnt all the leaves which were out. No raspberry flowers, or apple blossom or anything else which fruits, as a result. At the time it was horrible, days of gale force winds, but as you can see from this acer, which is in the same state as my apple trees and fruiting canes, its going to take more than one season for plants to recover.

The Hub has been rescuing plastic sheeting from his Work skip, so this morning we laid it all out to see was their enough to put together a bit of a polytunnel. He reckons we have enough for the roof, and we'll use pallets along the sides for the present. He's going to get a few poles from the Sawmill down the road, and a coil of rope, so I'll keep you updated!

And here we have the salad I picked earlier for lunch- ssssh, don't tell them, its dandelion leaves! And some other greens too- of course!!

So that's the state of the Nation as we go to press today!!


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