Friday, August 17, 2012

Here we successfully are, re-grouping and enjoying a brief respite from the mud. I’ll have my hair done today. No chance for a new clo.

The garden is so bad that the only thing to do is to concentrate on the few successes. I had thought the potatoes would be one of them. But foliage has begun to die – blight? And when I start digging, it turns out very few potatoes are to be found. The foliage of the Picasso's still looks good—maybe I’ll do better there.

The vegetable cage has been a distinct success – no rabbits or deer in there. I shall hope to use its protection to better effect next year. Sorrel soup continues to please, and Good King Henry has figured as saag in another curry. I still haven’t decided whether it actually adds a useful piquant note – or is it just that the spices conceal the bitterness of the vegetable? At least it gets from garden to table.

Bunching onions are looking very good, especially the ones Harriet gave me recently. I have cautiously divided a couple of the bunches. We should be in business seriously next year if the deer don’t pull them all up in the winter. The mange tout peas, all of eight inches high, have bravely come into flower. We may get a plateful after all. Usually in August I can’t keep up with them.

And there will be a late crop of broad beans.

Oddly, the parsley is ebullient. I would have thought the deer would enjoy that.

And the gooseberry bushes, in other years stripped bare by caterpillars, are looking quite cheerful. We had no crop at all this year, presumably because potential flower-buds were stripped along with leaves last year. So I entertain some hope there.

My husband’s frailty continues to be a cause of anxiety. Helen has alerted a neighbour whom we may call on for help – some comfort. I remember that my mother, perfectly alert into her 90’s, dropped out of group conversation long before then. My husband seems to be at an equivalent stage, drooping silently over the supper table but fine in one-to-one conversation.

Helen’s eldest son Archie is about to start life as a schoolboy at Merchiston, here in Edinburgh. The plan is that Helen will come back from Greece at the end of September to be here for his first exeat – when he is allowed out on leave for a long weekend. We can all go to Strathardle then.

(Her husband David, a worrier after my own heart, is afraid that Marchiston’s emphasis on rugby will make Archie’s life hell, and equally worried that Archie will love rugby and spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.)


I took the Italian socks along, but didn’t get much done. My fingers don’t seem to work as well without a television set droning on in the corner. I have nearly reached the ribbing of the first sock. It would be nice if I could press on and get the second one finished next week, when the recipient will be with us for the Games.

Speaking of which, I am entering those red socks in the “Best Use of 100gr Wool” class, as well as the snood in the Snood class.


  1. I sympathise madly...especially as we just had an almighty storm which has knocked almost every bit of the fragile blossom (just appearing) off every tree in the district. There is also a possum which needs to be humanely trapped and released elsewhere and the blackbirds and caterpillars have eaten everything else. Being gardeners we need to plod on!

  2. Glad you are back safe and sound. Broad beans in my garden are doing well, and spuds (many of them volunteers) are okay, altho' I have also seen some signs of blight too.

    Everything else is a disaster. Runner beans are puny, and unlikely to produce anything unless warm weather continues into October! Salads all munched by the pesky slugs, which abound. Oh well, there is always knitting.

  3. Anonymous1:05 PM

    It is always good to catch up with you, Jean. We have had an exciting husband, age 67, had his right hip replaced on Monday. He came home from the hospital on Tuesday and is already walking better than than before. Modern miracles, indeed!

    Barbara M. In NH

  4. Gerri1:49 PM

    Enjoy games week and good luck with your entries!

  5. It's good to see you back. I'm sorry to hear of your garden's woes. It wasn't a good year for weather from what I understand for your neck of the woods.

    Portland hasn't had much heat so tomatoes haven't been doing very well but my neighbor has a bush that is huge and loaded with fruit. She asked if I liked tomatoes because she'll have plenty to pass around when they start getting ripe.

    Good luck at the Games!

  6. =Tamar7:53 PM

    I am younger and already find myself dropping out of conversation when others are carrying it well. Sometimes it's just because I've already told all the relevant stories and I don't want to be the one repeating myself to everyone's boredom.

    More cages might protect plants that are otherwise at risk, such as gooseberries.

    Re waiting for harvest: green tomatoes have their uses, too. My mother used to put a slice of green tomato on top of an open-faced cheese sandwich before putting it under the broiler.

    Good luck at the Games!

  7. Anonymous2:43 AM

    Does your husband hear the group conversations? It is easy to read lips one-on-one but not so easy to read them in a group.