Midsummer madness

It has been a hectic few days. After all the rain and dreary weather last week the sun came out again. The forecast for each day promised that after a sunny morning things would decline, so I had a variety of indoor projects all lined up. However, the sun stayed out and so did I. The compost heap has been liberally topped up and I have finally planted all the annuals. Alas, the snails have been following my progress and they have eaten two already. (My slug pubs in the coldframe and greenhouse have been shunned – It appears that we have tea total gastropods. )

Every day I have popped out to do “just two things” before tackling an indoor job and then found myself retiring to the bath at seven, extremely grubby, with an aching ankle and myriad unexplained bruises, bites and scratches. Invariably one of the two things in the garden never actually got done, but a whole lot of other stuff did. It was ever thus.

Yesterday was midsummer and we celebrated with a barbecue. This morning the boys were feeling in need of a long lie to recover but the sun had me awake early so Lyra and I took to the fields to blow the cobwebs away. It was bright and blowy – perfect walking weather.

The king of the hedgerows now is the hogweed – huge cream or pink dinner plates of blossom covered with bees and bugs. At the edge of the fields there is a mass of wild chamomile – often also called stinking chamomile (though the smell is not so bad and redolent of the tea (which I dislike anyway)). Striking out for the little wood I noticed that there are actually two types of orchid there – the common spotted and, I think, the heath spotted. But the star of the show is again the grass. The plumes of Yorkshire fog have opened up into a frothy mass and my new grass of the moment is a silky golden reed sweet grass – very elegant. Coming home I spotted the first of the meadowsweet out in the ditch.

In the afternoon the rain came. As a result of this happy excuse to evade gardening duties, and the myriad leftovers from the barbecue for tea, I had a completely free afternoon. I resumed Middlemarch, loaded up with sherbet lemons and commenced another experimental jumper. Bliss.

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