Wednesday 15 May 2024

A green-fingered distraction

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t been posting much recently. There’s a reason for this as I’ve been tied up with other things, mainly outdoor activities revolving around our garden. After such a wet start to the year, like many other gardeners, I’m behind with numerous activities, and with Thursday’s weather finally turning bright and warm, I’ve spent the past four days playing catch up. Now there’s need to think I'm that much of a keen gardener, even though I’ve always enjoyed growing things, and spending time outdoors. I’ve nearly completed a rockery, which is my little gift to Mrs PBT’s, although on a more sombre note this area will also form the last resting place of her late brother’s ashes.

It’s ironic really, because it was her brother David who “gifted” us the majority of the large chunks of sandstone, that have lain half buried at the bottom of the garden, these past 20 years or more. David, at the time, worked for a local builders merchants, and let’s just say these lumps of rock were “surplus to requirements.”  It’s rather fitting that they should form part of a garden, created in his memory. I appreciate this sounds a little morbid, but it’s not supposed to be, instead it’s a nice way of remembering a much missed family member who lost his wife, 20 or more years ago, and who also left no children to follow in his footsteps.

One of the benefits of living in a 1930’s property, is the large garden. Land must have held less value, compared to bricks and mortar, 90 odd years ago, which means we’re blessed with plenty of space to do with what we will. So, with two patio areas, a garden shed, greenhouse and summerhouse, we’re in our own little rural idyll as soon as we step outside the backdoor. That’s if you ignore the noise of the aircraft, as they fly overhead, on their flight-path towards Gatwick.

I also like to grow a few vegetables, and whilst my little enterprise is not a patch on the “Good Life,” being able to enjoy the fruits of one’s labours with some homegrown vegetables, does take some beating. It’s had work, mind you, although all the digging, tilling, and sowing must go some way towards keeping a person fit. If all goes according to plan, we should be enjoying tomatoes, sweet corn, runner beans and leeks. Two of those crops are well underway, and thanks to the fine weather over the weekend, I was able to plant out the sweet corn seedlings I have been nurturing carefully over the past couple of months.

The leek seedlings are still in their trays, but I have prepared an area of ground where I can transplant them individually, once they grow a little bit larger. I'm lucky with tomatoes, as a work colleague normally grows a few plants for me, so I've got half a dozen coming on nicely in the greenhouse, and over the next week or so I should be able to plant these out in large tubs, out on the patio. Finally, and somewhat belatedly, I sowed a dozen or so runner bean seeds, again into pots, but there should be sufficient time to get them planted in the remaining free area of garden before we disappear from these shores on another Mediterranean cruise.

This time around we've booked a 16-night voyage on the Queen Anne, which is the latest addition to Cunard’s fleet of Queen ships. We won't be going quite as far afield as last time, which is a shame, as in some respects it would be nice to visit a few more of the Greek islands, or possibly Croatia, but this particular cruise will see us visiting various locations in Spain, the Balearics, Sardinia, and Italy. The latter destination will see us docking at Civitavecchia, which is the nearest port to Rome, with the Eternal City an approximate 90-minute coach journey inland. Our cruise will only be the Queen Anne’s third sailing following her maiden voyage at the end of last month. 

Consequently, it's been a bit frantic getting the garden tidy, and all these crops planted out, prior to us going away but once it's all done, we can disappear off  to Southampton leaving son Matthew, who is minding the house whilst we are away, to give them the occasional watering,during our absence. There’s a family wedding to look forward to when we get back, which will see the youngest of Eileen’s two nieces, marrying her long-term partner.

The upshot of all this is, I haven't been in any pubs for a couple of weeks, and whilst I know some may chastise me for not doing my bit to save pubs, my answer is pubs can look after themselves for a while. My few pints isn't going to make that much difference anyway, although that's not to say couldn't murder a pint right now, but needs must and all that. I'm pleased to report though, that if all goes according to plan, I'm banking on squeezing in a Pub Friday trip at the end of the week, although I shall keep the destination to myself for the time being. That’s all then, for the time being, from a rather damp, but not overly chilly, West Kent.


retiredmartin said...

That's a great cruise itinerary, Paul, loads of great port cities. Is that next month ? Should be ideal weather.

Paul Bailey said...

Hi Martin, yes it is next month, hence the rush to get all those plants in the ground.
Trust you are enjoying good weather in Albania?

retiredmartin said...

Just back, Paul, and thanks we did get some good weather bar a torrential downpour on the walk to a bus !

Paul Bailey said...

Any traces of Enver Hoxha's regime, remaining? I imagine most Albanians were glad to see the back of him.

Stafford Paul said...

I've been on a cruise.
A "river explorer cruise".
Then walked with friends from Seacombe to the Ferry for lunch, Wainwright drinking well.
Highlight of my two day trip was the spectacular Vines, four Unicorns drinking well, and £1.70 a pint cheaper than the Landlord not drinking quite as well in the Philharmonic.
And nine other pubs.
And a room looking up to the Anglican Cathedral.
All postponed from last October and a train strike.

Paul Bailey said...

Sounds like a good trip, Paul. Liverpool is always a good bet for decent pubs, and equally decent beer.

Stafford Paul said...

Yes, it went very well, just like my other three trips away so far this year - Manchester, Northumberland and Scotland. They've all been oop north, like the Lake District in a few weeks all being well.