A Jungle excursion

It has rained and rained recently. The tax bill remains on the verge of payment, but I did find time to make the first soap and facial scrub batch of the year, clearing out the last of last year’s supplies to make way for a new season of slittery. So we have plum crumble and lavender soap drying and mum and I are road testing the Hipster’s Breakfast (honey, oatmeal, coffee, basil oil and avocado oil scrub). So far so good – must have dropped a few wrinkles at least….Thankfully I got in a few dead heading harvests before the downpours started so my dried rose petal supplies are coming along well and I have a large jar of petals infusing for this season’s rose oil. In the greenhouse I am trialling the Drew and Raymond method on my toms and have removed a huge amount of leaves. (I cornered Raymond on a puppy visit (next door’s puppies are at the ultra cute stage) and questioned him at length). Some of the earliest fruit are showing signs of what I now know (thanks to the ever helpful George Oogle) is blossom end rot and they have had a liberal application of blood and bone just in case. This is, apparently, common in the first fruit and something to do with insufficient calcium. Anyhoo I shall report back further on the D&R method. I was going to be scientific and only do half the plants but got a bit carried away. However some of the younger ones have not been scalped yet so I may yet have a control sample.

Driven from the garden, I got down to some serious business in the kitchen. I was quite pleased with a sort of breakfast Chelsea bun thing I made a few weeks ago using a modified version of my usual pizza dough recipe (the only bread recipe fully committed to memory – my recipe books are all packed up pending the recommencement of the library refurb which was stalled due to covid and now remains stalled because we can’t get hold of the plasterer) and decided to try a few variations. I did one sweet (lemon and sour cherry swirl loaf) and one savoury (spinach and feta whirl loaf) and was really very chuffed with the results. Some garden visitors then necessitated a tray bake and for the first time in ages we had a temporarily full cake stand. For once I remembered to text myself the recipe (which was somewhat made up based on what was in the fridge) and I will upload these so you can find them on the link shortly. A watermelon in the supermarket led on to a rather nice granita and a fancy feta salad so these, the spinach bread, meatballs and tsatziki turned into a rather satisfactory Greek night (though no plates were smashed on this occasion). I can now testify to the merits of cold, sliced greek meatball on spinach bread as the fancy sarnie of champions.

Mum and I then tootled off back to Selkirk to see if her garden had survived her absence on the Ruthven forced labour holiday. All the way in the car, despite the ceaseless rain, she wittered on that everything would be frazzled and fried to a crisp without her having been there to watered her pots. On descending the stairs to No. 29 we were barely able to see the naked stone lady amidst the jungle. Fried, schmied. Her lily pots are spectacular and I was disgusted to hear the bulbs were at least 5 years’ old. Mine seem to vanish after two. The usual tour of the garden followed and I have patiently pointed out all the plants that are much too big and need splitting. I have also kindly offered to take away the spare divisions and find them homes in my garden.

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