Could You Have Done That If You’d Tried?

Last night Andy drove us home from Spice of India in Danni’s car. We were some time getting under way. Perched on the front passenger seat, I was unable to fit the seat belt. Now, this is a fairly automatic task which doesn’t normally require too much attention. Stretching out the belt with my left hand, I passed it to my right, and groped for the receiving slot. The slot was unreceptive. Thinking my aim must be awry, I had several stabs at it. To no avail. In the gloom of the car park, I peered at the stubborn fixture. There seemed to be a coin therein. A search for a nail-file ensued. One was produced from a handbag in the back. Andy prised out the offending item, which revealed itself to be a button. It seemed, as was subsequently confirmed, likely to be one from my back trouser pocket. Andy dropped it on the floor. We didn’t find it. Could you have done that if you’d tried?

Today’s gale force wind was even stronger than yesterday. The North West of our garden seems to suffer the most.

As I wandered around today I noticed an untied rose stem hanging down from its arch, one of the struts of which had been blown loose. I refixed the the arch and tied the rose back up. The buds on that particular section had remained intact, but others had been torn off. One rested on the Ace Reclaim bench; another hung by its neck.

Nearby, an as yet unidentified clematis clings to the helping hands of a fir tree, and the magnolia Vulcan risks blooming. Clouds, too, were sent scudding across the sunlit sky, giving us alternating light and shade, which meant for shadows to appear and reappear, never in the same place. This can be seen in the two bench seat shots. In the first, foliage had been blown into position, not to return for the second.

The weeping birch was not permitted to droop its flimsy filigreed branches for long before they were tossed aloft.

Flames of a yellow Japanese maple flickered like those of the red one pictured yesterday.

A solitary, hungry, bumblebee, struggled to gain purchase on a cluster of heucheras. It had about as much success as I did in keeping it in focus.

We have what I consider to be an invasion of cow parsley, which also bent its back in the face of the violent gusts. I am all for pulling it up before it drops its seeds, but, unfortunately, the head gardener has overruled me, and I am no Alan Titchmarsh. Jessica, too, had found these plants attractive. She collected seeds from the wayside around Newark and scattered them in the orchard, where they rapidly germinated, flourished joyfully, and spilled their seed in turn. It took us several years of taking out the tops to eradicate it.

The pink-leaved pieris on the lawn shelters under the protection of the Nottingham Castle bench,

and low-level plants like calendulas smile in the sunshine.

Another rhododendron has battled its way through the North Breeze jungle next door. It is probably grateful now that it is surrounded by brambles.

This evening we dined on Mr. Pink’s exquisite cod and chips and Garner’s pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Bordeaux. It wasn’t a good idea to ruin the taste of the wine by contaminating it with the vinegar from the onions, but it had been open a day or two, and may soon have tasted of vinegar itself. Alternating it with water helped a bit.


  1. I am pleased to see physical dexterity is returning Derrick – allowing you to take your rightful place as assistant to head gardener. I hope the wind doesn’t ruin too many roses – they are a major source of delight in summer time! And no, I could not have done that had I tried!

  2. Thanks for the floral presentation today, Derrick. I was thinking: the rose stems that were torn by wind can be struck if you are keen on propagation. They are the easiest thing to do (here in Sydney) – just stab them in a pot and away they go. I’ve been giving rooted cuttings of my Cécile Brunner to friends; they flower within a few months of striking. Your ‘cow parsley’ is what we call Queen Anne’s Lace in Australia, a much valued cottage garden plants but yes, they self seed. 🙂

  3. The garden is looking lovely (despite the best efforts of the oh-so-gentle North zephyr) The weeping birch tree has really captured how strong the wind is. Let’s hope it ends soon without causing any damage.

    1. You seem to see the pictures when I can’t. I’m going to have to look into this one. Thanks very much, Judy

  4. I always lose the buttons off my back pockets too. That’s why I now use cargo pants with their securely buttoned leg pockets. They seem to retain their buttons.

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