Giving A Hand


Just before lunch today, Jackie and I arrived at Mum’s home in West End where we joined Mum and Elizabeth. Jackie had packed a plentiful picnic lunch of sandwiches, tomatoes, cakes and jam tarts; Elizabeth brought salad. These were enjoyed when Danni and Andy joined us a little later. We were a gardening party to spend the afternoon working on our mother’s garden.

Elizabeth began by assembling the new lawn mower and cutting the grass;

while Jackie pruned the shrubbery on the drive to the

front garden with, among others, its magnolia, heathers, and muscari. Perched on Mum’s raised garden chair, I helped to fill the bags with the cuttings

I offered similar assistance in cutting up the photinus that the Head Gardener pruned in the back garden. By cutting out the lower branches she gave the tree shape, and, in the process, revealed the hiding place of a blue cockerel.

Danni and Andy concentrated on weeding and redefining the edges of the flower beds.

In truth, I spent most of my time watching the others work. Well, someone had to take the photographs.

The penultimate photograph in the lawn mowing sequence contains an ailing rose with muscari at its feet. Jackie dug out the rose and set the smaller, healthy, plants aside for replanting while Elizabeth raked out and bagged up photinus leaves.

Until she began to feel cold and wish to go back indoors, Mum kept an eye on proceedings. She had been helped out without her walking frame. Elizabeth gave her a hand as far as the door, after which she made her own way inside.

Back home this evening Jackie and I consumed some of the lunch that had been surplus to requirements.


Back To Work Tomorrow


Jackie’s bedroom seedlings of nasturtiums and marigolds have woken up to the season and are springing forth.

We drove to The Firs, calling in first at the Village Shop to deposit dry cleaning; the bottle bank near Minstead Hall; then on to Lyndhurst to post a couple of parcels and visit the NatWest Bank to transfer some money to the Barclays account in France.  It is a reality of village life that no longer can we pop across the road, as in London, to satisfy our every whim.  But who cares?

Even the trip to Elizabeth’s was dual purpose.  The Firs has been my business address for some years now, so I needed to collect my post.  The main reason, however, was to survey the garden and make a start on this year’s work therein. White narcissi, pansies, hyacinths, muscari in scented bed We were delighted to see how much the plants have benefitted from the composting of the last two years, and in particular how the new beds now look established.

The winter has been so wet, so cold, and so long, that Elizabeth was only able to begin weeding last Sunday.  That is therefore a priority, after the cutting of the grass, composting, and a bit of refurbishment to one of the bins I made last  summer.  When contemplating setting out on a long and daunting task it is always a satisfactory delaying tactic to make a list and start mañana.  So we had lunch with my sister, made lists in our heads, and arranged to return tomorrow.  Well, at least a commitment has been made.Tete-a-tete daffs, pansies, hellebore and cineraria

Pansies and daffodilsFritillaria meleagris is one of the many bulbs planted in the autumn, hoping they would come up in the spring.  They have, as have tete-a-tete and other daffodils, such as white narcissi; muscari; numerous hellebores; self-seeded primulas; and a variety of pansies, Pansies around bird bathnotably those surrounding the bird bath.  Chimney pot displayMany other flowers, in the beds and in various containers, have survived, and we are able to imagine how everything will look when it is all tidied up.  But before that we must get back to work tomorrow.

A further very good reason, I convinced myself, for not making a start today, was that I needed to complete the paperwork for my accountant, and get a cheque off to EDF in France to cover the estimated electricity bill for rue Saint Jacques, since it has been sitting in The Firs whilst I was in France, and gone past the settle before date.  We therefore had to go back home so that I could do that.  And I did.Forsythia and primulasDaffodils, hellebore, and primrosesTete-a-tete daffs, primroses, feverfew, muscari and violas

Further wildlife, in the form of two boys playing football on the lawn; and a young girl building a den in the far corner behind the rhododendrons, has emerged to enjoy the better weather.

This evening we enjoyed a meal of Aldi oven fish and chips, mushy peas, and gherkins.