From the sublime….

It has been a busy few weeks since last I sat down to post. With help from Mum I have been weeding up a storm with a view to the first substantial gardening opening of the year last Thursday. We had a party of about 27 from a local group in for a look round and afternoon tea. Ergo when not grovelling in the borders weeding I could be found covered in flour baking. (3 large cakes, one tray bake and more scones than you could shake a stick at). However, aside from a boxing in the postie van incident (I feel that parking may not be a strength for the University of the Third Age – and perhaps a module or two might be a plan in the syllabus..) all went off swimmingly. After that it felt like a bit of a breather was in order. It was not to be…

Friends with a toddler arrived on Saturday and over the last couple of days I have been energetically fishing for tadpoles, cat hunting, cow feeding and rolling down the front lawn (glad to report I still have it, top marks for technique and the three year old definitely still needs to learn a thing or two about the optimal angle) with the best of them. We waved the party off after breakfast this morning and resolved that the breather had definitely now commenced. So with that in mind, mum carried on weeding and I raked the stones off the nuttery path and watered all the poorly plants (it’s been rather dry). Mum and I tried the relaxation thing again after lunch feeling that we hadn’t quite hit the mark yet. Keith, Lachlan and Lyra all snoozed-up on the sofa seemed much more “in the zone”. Phase 2 involved three circuits of the garden, admiring here and tweaking there and taking a great many photographs (which I shall put on another post as I got a bit carried away).

A gentle stroll before dinner was lined up for our next treat and at five we all piled in the car and headed for Dundalk wood for the annual rhododendron pilgrimage. I nodded encouragingly to our 12 year old pygmies on the way out and braced myself for serious garden envy. And rightly so. There were some magnificent, positively towering, specimens. The azaleas were also mostly still out and that spicy, carnationy smell was wafting everywhere. It was all proving just about perfect when Lyra decided to jump into a deep ditch filled with malodorous slime. She emerged wearing black stockings on her finely turned legs and thought herself quite the ticket. From the head down she passed for a black legged sheep with attitude. We pressed on, Keith forging purposefully ahead past a very interesting tall rhododendron with purple throated white flowers. We would look at it on the return leg…The designated route culminated in a three yard stretch of deep black mud with no dry selvage. Keith, resplendent in white rugby shorts, knobbly knees, trainers, entirely the wrong socks and fleecy gardening gilet – very much the look du jour – waded determinedly through. Lyra followed, having little to lose on the cleanliness score. Sensing the rest of us were hanging back, exhortations to get a move on were redoubled. Poor mum succumbed (more fool her). A few seconds later Keith remarked blithely that he had now spotted a dry route. Festina Lente mater, festina lente….

Returning home in the back of the car, mum and I wedged either side of a very smelly and extraordinarily muddy dog (seat allocation is seriously sexist in this family IMHO) Keith announced himself, sadly, heavily committed to lawn care and I therefore found myself lined up to assist Lachlan with dog hosing down and in charge of dinner making. Ah well, given too much free time I would only get into trouble….. The roast is now sizzling away merrily, Lyra has consumed the best part of a packet of Italian sliced sausage and is contemplating forgiveness, Mum and I have a glass of the finest white wine the fridge could supply, Keith and Lachlan are playing darts and it’s all good.

Another excellent Sunday, though we never did get back to the white rhododendron…

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