Monday, June 22, 2009

The longest day plus one – it’s all over for another year.

We’re back, tired. No frost, I think, or only the lightest touch on the tip of one twig of the apple tree. But cold. Midges and rain, one expects at the summer solstice; I don’t think I’ve ever known it so cold.

The tenderest vegetables, courgettes and French beans, just stood there looking somewhat yellow. I feared that they had had such a check to growth that they wouldn’t be able to pull themselves together when warm weather came.

But a week is a long time in summer gardening – they seemed a bit more cheerful and even a bit bigger by the end of it. It rained like mad, at last – they liked that.

I devoted most of my time and strength to disentangling grass and weeds from the wire fence intended to deter the less adventurous rabbit. With the result that the tout ensemble is looking unusually tidy – not that that makes much difference to the vegetables.

There is no doubt that slugs are on the move in abundance – nematodes have not checked them this year. I think they must be making off with my constantly re-sown lettuces and, indeed, salsola soda. I discovered that Mrs D. at the Cr*ft of Dounie is selling plants she has grown – a new venture, and they are very well grown indeed.

I bought some of her lettuces, to make up for my failures. The slugs killed the weakest one promptly, and started in on the next. I am sorry to have to report that I reached for the pellets at last. I have re-sown salsola soda for the third time, and sprinkled slug pellets generously over the spot.

(I don't think plastic water bottles are much use against slugs -- they tunnel up from below.)

The peas and broad beans and potatoes, meanwhile, grow as cheerfully as if they preferred cool weather. Which they do. French beans in the foreground.
The climbing beans aren't doing much climbing, but they're still alive. The nasturtiums are to provide capers, and cheerfulness.

I didn’t do much knitting, after all. But some. The Child’s Cardigan should reach the armpits today, back and fronts knitted as one. I’ve done a repeat and a bit of the Princess border since we got back. The pattern begins to slip after even so short a break. I’m glad I was persuaded not to put it away.


Sir Fred Goodwin has given up several million pounds-worth of his pension -- don't worry; he's still got lots -- in order, it is said, to achieve what we’ve got: namely the chance to live peacefully in this beautiful city without being spat upon by neighbours. (He is currently in the South of France under heavy guard.) I doubt if he’ll pull it off, either – too many of us are RBS shareholders whom he has impoverished. So, count your blessings.

Last night my husband wanted to use the word “superogatory”. Checking both Webster’s and the Shorter Oxford, he couldn’t find it. “Here, let me…” but I couldn’t either. I typed it in to the computer and swiftly learned – I can see you smiling up your sleeve – that it is really “supererogatory”. I was puzzled when I was a child and they told me that you looked words up in a dictionary to find out how to spell them. How could you look a word up if you didn’t know how to spell it in the first place? Fifty years later, it would appear that I was right.


  1. It looks as though you got at least a little bit of sun while there. We could do with a bit of that, as it seems to have been raining for the proverbial 40 days and nights currently. Fortunately, we have very well-drained soil, so there's very little chance of things getting too waterlogged and everything has been fairly happy with it - slugs and snails notwithstanding.

  2. Thinking of you and wondering how the vegetables will survive and what you will read and knit when you travel to Connecticut. I understand that there has been a lot of rain in Dublin and on the East Coast. Can you believe that here in supposedly rainy Seattle we have had warm sunny weather?

    Janet, whose visit is drawing to a close.

  3. I agree; what's the point of looking up a word you're trying to spell when you don't know what to look for? I asked that of my mother when I was a child and never got an answer. However, she turned to me to find out how a word was spelled.

    Good luck on the tender greens. If nothing else, the nasturtiums will add plenty of summer cheer. Love 'em!