When, yesterday evening, Louisa posted pictures on Facebook of her daughters Jessica and Imogen on a swing, she tagged Sam and me asking us if they reminded us of anyone. This, of course, meant herself. Louisa was a daredevil on any form of climbing or swinging apparatus. It is hardly surprising, really, that she recently completed The Three Peaks Challenge. I well remember her on a climbing frame in Tooting in the 1980s. Here she is with her older brother Sam, around the time of her fourth birthday, in May 1986, first gleefully scaling the ramp, then in the process of swinging around the bar. Sam, enjoying his lunch on high, would appear to be affecting an air of nonchalance. I took these photographs on a trip, with their mother, Jessica, to a recreation ground in Tooting. It was a sunny day and we all had ice creams. This morning, while Jackie endlessly watered the scorching plants, I finished transporting from the kitchen garden the remaining slabs of stone for her working path, and laid them in place. All but the last three. She shifted those. My first task in this process had been to dig out the roots of a veritable copse of young bay trees that Jackie had cut down some time ago. We decided that the setting of the stones securely in place could wait until tomorrow. This thoroughfare links the head gardener’s potting and general maintenance area through the new shrubbery with what will continue to be called the shady path, even though the overgrown bushes that kept light from it have now been much reduced. The sunlight on the plants by which Jackie is walking in the picture, never reached them when we first came. The decking area is in the middle distance. Thinking it really should have been placed for the evening sun’s western glow, we were puzzled because we didn’t enjoy any. Not until we applied our saw and loppers in earnest did we do so.
For my birthday, three weeks ago now, Luci and Wolf gave me a butterfly shelter and an insect hotel, two very thoughtful presents for the garden. Today, with guidance from she who knows about these things, I located each of them in a suitable position. Twigs needed to be inserted into the green-roofed butterfly shelter; and wheat straw, by September, is required for the hotel. Apparently green lacewings will be attracted by the red door, and different species of bee will choose to crawl through holes of varying diameters in the top section.
Early this evening I repeated yesterday’s walk. Thistles have run to seed. The strong breeze was tearing some from their moorings. A no doubt disappointed spider, perhaps mistaking them for tasty insects, caught a few of them in its web.
Down the track I discovered the silage, which is clearly the source of the strong aroma that sometimes overpowers the scent of petunias and other sweet-smelling flowers in the garden. The lorry delivering it had dropped some along the way, so I was able to scoop up some dry straw for the hopefully hibernating guests of the insect hotel.
There was choice on the Old Post House menu this evening. Mine was delicious chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice and peas; Jackie’s was pork rib rack in chilli sauce with mashed potatoes and vegetables. We both chose fruit crumble and custard for dessert, I drank more Wolf Blass, and Jackie, her customary Hoegaarden.