I love other people’s birthdays. This has been mentioned before. But then I am fond of repeating myself. Embrace the inevitable.
A walk with special friends, all of us basking in spring glory. Even us feeble humans could sense the ecstasy of the season, feeding off the energy in each shoot, every leaf. The woods celebrating with swathes of bluebell, orchid, celandine, red campion, stitchwort, green alkanet and greening beeches. Best of all, the majestic beeches.
The ferocity of spring always amazes me. Only two weeks ago this fern was a dark, lifeless mass. A rock. Now the fronds are unfurling; furry toupees keeping them warm on these cool nights.
Tell me what is not to love about this plant? If you try I shall ignore you. I am smitten. This is why. The Latin name, Omphalodes cappadocica, is pure poetry, rolling off the tongue like golden syrup. The common name, navelwort, is always worthy of a chortle. The flower, as blue as an imagined spring morning, is pure perfection. Enough, in fact more than enough.
I don’t mind working on a Bank Holiday. In this part of the world it is advisable to take time off when the rest of the country are elsewhere. It was sunny, I was at the wonderful Nancy Nightingale’s, and I finished just after lunch. An interesting day and, what is more, educational.
After a fine morning of singing/gardening followed by a little gardening/singing I toddled off to have my car washed. Yes, I paid someone to clean my car. Yes, I could have done it myself. No, it was never going to happen. At the weekend my big brother said to me “I can tell you are a gardener, you have moss on your number plate”. Not seeing this as a problem, I did admit that months of mud, seagull visitations and motorway driving had left the mean machine a little jaded. So I paid a full £6 for a nice chap to clean and polish. I blushed as I passed over the keys, “sorry, it is very dirty”, “Don’t worry” he assured me “that is what we do, we clean cars”. So I sat on a wooden picnic bench, surrounded by weeds and adjacent to a busy road, to eat my banana whilst surveying the petrol station scene, back to the table. In moments I sensed some company. Slowly I turned. Two young children, offspring I imagined of the car cleaners, had slunk into the other side of the table, smiling charmingly. Obviously I was terrified. “Do you like slime?” the girl asked. The small boy grinned. Even scarier. Not knowing what the answer should be, playing for time, I enquired “is that what you have in that pot?”. “Yes” and she removed the offending substance from its container and pulled and twisted and curled into shapes long and squat and rolled and stretched all the while smiling ominously. “Would you like to try?” Never once to pass up such an opportunity I took the purple goo from her hands. Once was enough. They laughed at my disgust.
Later, after bonding over the slime, the girl asked “what is the cleverest thing in the world?”. I suggested she ask her teacher and next time I am having my car cleaned, she could enlighten me. A deal was struck.
My car is unrecognisable. It is rather unnerving.
I am in the midst of turbulent times. There have been adventures to be enjoyed, and they didn’t disappoint. Next were events that had to be full-on faced, and so they were. Some challenges are yet to come, and these will present demands anew. Today, the eye of the storm, allowed me a healing day in my garden. There were other claims on my time, but I was adamant. This is what I was going to do. And rightly so. Now I feel ready to face the foe and the friend alike.
The Prop he will explain. In a big rush, in fact I didn’t even take the photos. My little brother did. But they are from my garden. And he is good, so only a splattering of words are needed. Even better. Here goes.
Holding up the shed.
Five o’clock shadow.
I’m off, adieu!
Home now, after a few days away where the young gunneras live.