Back again, for ten days or so -- until we go up for the Games. Mungo came down with me and my husband yesterday, anxious to take in some Festival art. Helen and the other two boys stayed behind to clean up (bless them) –- they’ll join us this evening. Mungo and I are going to a production of Oedipus tomorrow, “based on Sophocles”. Pretty high-brow. Tomorrow is also the day when I hope to meet Myrna Stahman. Here is a picture of my husband giving Mungo instructions to perform some thankless task.
We had a good time. The great thing about boys is that my husband can tell them, as he did, in terms as savage as he pleased, to get their elbows off the table and sit up straight (their table manners in fact are excellent, barring occasional small lapses), and the boys would not only do as they were told but also regard the incident as closed and carry on with the conversation. Girls are much more inclined to sulk or weep.
We had some good weather, and some spectacularly bad – remorseless all-day rain. It’s unusual to have more than one of those in a week, in August, but we did.
As for my dear vegetables, well, you win some, you lose some. We had some nice peas. The broad beans are nearly ready. The first tiny courgettes are here. The potato crop, although delicious, was exiguous. I’m busy thinking about next year. That's what gardening is all about.
You will remember my hopes of establishing a perennial source of salad onions. Last year’s sowing of “bunching onions” – also known as Welsh – grew well. I even harvested two or three for a salad. At the solstice, as if they had heard the foreman’s whistle, they stopped and turned yellow and flopped over and flowered. Flowering is allowed – they seed themselves hither and yon for the Fishwife, and I hope will do the same for me. New growth is now appearing from below.
This year’s sowing of red-bulbed bunching onions, said to be even hardier and stronger-tasting, has produced fewer specimens, but still I’ve got some, and there’s still time for them to get big enough to stand up to winter cold and being eaten by deer.
Some may remember that I bought some “walking onions” last year. Not a success. Only one survives, about seven inches high and showing no signs of walking anywhere. I ordered some more recently, from an eBay supplier in Finland. They sat about for a fortnight or so, astonished, no doubt, to find themselves in Scotland, and then started growing with vigour. High hopes.
Here are the artichokes, showing some signs of progress, and behind them the three new sea kale plants, which have settled in happily enough.
Here is a more general picture of this most successful corner of the garden. The mange-tout peas, right, are going over despite assiduous picking and abundant rain. I expected more from them. I am full of hopes for the Brussels sprouts, centre. I bought them as tiny plants from the Blairgowrie Farmer’s market in – probably – late May, and they have flourished, undisturbed, for whatever reason, by cabbage white caterpillars. And soon they will have a vegetable cage to protect them from the deer, and we may actually have sprouts to eat!
More of this, and some actual knitting, tomorrow.