Sunday, May 24, 2009

Back here again, much to report: vegetables, Princess, jabots, even socks. We’ll leave jabots and socks for tomorrow.

But first: this link will let you listen (for the next few days) to James’s Tiananmen-remembered programmes. We’ve heard the first one, and it was good.

Well, the washing machine man turned up onTuesday morning as we were leaving for Strathardle, and fixed the washing machine. He said to observe it carefully the first time we use it – so that’s today’s planned excitement.

He kept phoning me Tuesday morning with reports on his progress. My unanswered calls on Friday afternoon must have put the fear of God into him. Late start, job off the Gorgie Road, stuck in traffic. When I had everything done, the kitchen in some sort of order, the car loaded, I sat down with the Princess to wait for him. His final phone call – “I’m on my way” – occasioned the worst stitch-loss the poor Princess has suffered in her four-year history.

I got everything secure before we left, but the mess was sufficiently ghastly (and, of course, centre-top) that even I couldn’t persuade myself that no-one-would-notice. So last night’s knitting time, after we got back, was largely devoted to unpicking.

The gossamer merino yarn is a lot fluffier than I had realised. Unpicking plain knitting is dead easy, of course, but the k2togs and (worse) the k3togs tend to stick together. Gentle tugging eventually sets the stitches free to cascade merrily downwards.

I got it done – not absolutely perfect but really pretty good. I am moving gently forward – repeat no. 37 finished. And I have decided that it was foolish to toy with the idea of pressing on – on June 1, I will switch to Games-knitting, as planned. I am making room in the freezer. Otherwise, I wind up hurrying the Princess and hurrying the Games-knitting and nobody’s happy.


The first impression was keen disappointment. Some things (spinach, radishes) have just sat about since last time. (The weather has been cold.) Some lettuce-y things which had made a tentative appearance last time, have disappeared. (The weather has been wet, and the villains are slugs, surely. Nematodes seem to have failed, this year.) No salsola soda. Nothing to speak of from the seedbed rolls – they consist of a layer of, essentially, kitchen paper, bright blue because that deters pests, we are told. Then the seeds. Then a layer of clear plastic which is said to be vented.

You can see the little seeds sprouting in there. But will they be strong enough and clever enough to sends roots down through the kitchen paper and to lift the plastic on their little green shoulders? There is nothing I can do to help.

The weather while we were there was cold and blustery, sunshine-and-showers.

However, it cheered up, and so did I. On Friday, I felt some warmth from the sun on my shoulders, for the first time this year. As I re-sowed the salsola soda, I found two tiny plants from the original sowing. Broad beans and two types of peas are doing splendidly, and of course the potatoes are up. I planted out the Edinburgh windowsill subjects, and now have the finest crop of plastic bottles in the glen.


  1. Must try to get some tomatoes in and pumpkin seed planted today, provided I can finish up the bed, which is on a not insignificant slope.

  2. Just a general note to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. Best wishes for for the garden.

  3. M experience with gardens is that they always hit a rough patch early in the season, and then (usually) most things turn out okay.

    Oberlin is readying for graduation tomorrow. The little town is overwhelmed with parents and alumni and it is incredibly pretty. It is hard to remember that just a few months ago this was a frozen, windy, freezing wasteland...