Whilst Jackie drove the well used route to Shelly and Ron’s this morning, I, like Wordsworth’s Lucy ‘dwelt among the untrodden ways’. Well, untrodden for a very long time. And, apart from lunch, I trod them all day. Yesterday’s clearances had revealed the presence of another hidden gravel path, which I determined to open up and refurbish. The camellia mentioned yesterday is now fully visible through the cleared area.
I began by planting the two forgotten items from yesterday – a lilac and a fern. The lilac was to be placed alongside this path, and required the usual clearance of weeds, brambles, and ivy. Sneaking up behind and to the right beneath the allium in this next photograph can be seen the tentacles of the ubiquitous grasping gallium aperine.
Well, that’s enough of wandering around the garden. I’ve done the planting and had a look at the flowers. Now I must get down to business.
A few yards into the rediscovered path, some quarry tiles had been laid as a point of interest. A few were broken. A little further on, and to the right of these, is a smaller, linking, and also overgrown stretch of lined gravel. This has a similar feature of four tiles. I therefore diverted from my main objective, cleared that route, and took up the tiles and used them to repair the other set on the longer, meandering pathway. In this photograph of the first opened thoroughfare the rake at the far end lies on this arrangement. I have left a few little violets in situ.
Jackie had not, of course, been idle on her return. She continued with curtains, and has now made and hung curtains for the whole house, often fixing the rails as well.
After lunch, I allowed myself a little diversion to pull out two thistles like those of yesterday, and to plant a little round tree/bush in place of one of them. Jackie had unsuccessfully tried to persuade me to take it easy this afternoon. Whilst I was engaged in removing the second of the thistles she came out and asked, in that mock accusative tone that indicates that the speaker thinks you are overdoing it: ‘What are you doing now?’. When she saw what I was engaged in, she gasped, and her expression turned to horror. ‘You’ve pulled up the acanthus!’ she exclaimed.
The head gardener was very forgiving, and most encouraging. She estimated that what was left of it would reach maturity in about seven years. The fatality, in this case, was therefore not the plant, but the tool that I had broken in trying to uproot the very stubborn sections of the acanthus. The plant should revive. Not so the fork handle. I wonder if Ronnie Corbett has any in stock? (Anyone who doesn’t know this reference is highly recommended to look up the Fork Handles sketch on Youtube. It is The Two Ronnies at their very best).
To return to the main path. I will need a heavy duty axe to remove a holly stump from the far end of it. Someone has cut it down in the past, and it had bushed up. I trimmed off the shoots but otherwise cannot shift it, even with the aforementioned fork when it was still intact.
We are promised rain this evening, to continue into tomorrow. This will be a welcome relief because I will be forced to take a break.
I do ache a bit.
Two of the delights of Indian food are the aromas and the colours. Jackie adheres to these in her presentation, which is why she produced a special variety of red cabbage as a suitable compliment to her succulent roast pork, crackling, and vegetable rice (recipe).
For cabbage with a suitable gentle piquancy for this meat:
Take 1/2 small red cabbage, 1 large red onion, 1/2 a cooking apple (this one was Bramley`) cored, but not peeled.
Thinly slice all ingredients. Stir fry with big nob of butter and splash of olive oil. When part cooked add a splash of white vinegar and a good glug of red wine.
Stir it all up, turn the heat down, whack the lid on and let it cook a little while longer until soft but not soggy.
Try it. It was perfect.
With it I drank Dino shiraz Terre Siciliane 2012 and Jackie didn’t. I would have given her some but she doesn’t like red wine, except in cooking.