I’m rather enjoying this early to bed lark. Not to sleep, nor yet to dream – what happened to dreaming, has it gone out of fashion? I can’t remember the last time I had a good solid dream that I pondered about when I woke …. but I digress – no, I didn’t sleep, not until after 2.30 or so, but I enjoyed watching stuff on the iPad and, once I did drop off, I slept soundly. Last night, it was rather earlier and I’m already resisting the temptation to go and tuck myself up in a warm and comfortable bed, and it’s not nine o’clock yet.
I’ve also managed to rediscover an enjoyment of gardening, or at least of growing things, which must be an indication of something good. It used to be the nurturing of many seedlings – and indeed, though we chose not to have any more children after Ro, I remained quite broody for many years and it’s only the wonderful gift of grandchildren that has attended to that particular itch, so maybe seedlings were a baby substitute? Or maybe not. In print, it seems a bit weird. Weeza was always convinced that my dogs are child substitutes and I don’t argue, but I don’t actually agree with her. Anyway, it’s mostly now the simple pleasure of growing plants, and the anticipation of delicious vegetables, that is driving me. It’s also the relaxing effect of pricking out seedlings, potting on plantlets and I find it calms me.
It used to, years ago, as well. My greenhouse was a refuge and no one was allowed to be noisy there, nor be anything but good-humoured. If one child came to complain about another, I’d bundle it straight out again. If one came for some comfort, it was allowed to help and the act of caring for plants was soothing and calming.
Today, I had an appointment at 9.30, then did food shopping (bread, veggies and dog biscuit) and then came home and cleaned the kitchen. I’d done before 11, so made coffee and settled in the porch with Ben and the newspapers. Later, having done some other bits and pieces, I went to find some lunch. Russell had gone out for an hour at 10.30, so I didn’t expect him back for ages yet.
It was warm and sunny and the bacon sandwich I’d thought I’d want didn’t appeal any more, so it was a cucumber sandwich with salad and a glass of wine. And this afternoon, I’ve worked pretty solidly in the greenhouse, potting up everything and generally sorting things out. I still have some seedlings to prick out another day, but I’ve sowed the squash and runner bean seeds. I decided against growing sweetcorn this year on grounds of space.
When clearing away strimmed grass the other day, I put some aside to dry for Edweena and added some to her nest of hay today. She loved it and snuggled down at once, though afterwards realised that the sun was still shining and she was hungry. I picked her some echinops leaf and some vetch, which is now in flower, and she tore at it greedily. The babies, who had been so tame, now dive for cover under a piece of bark when I go near. I suppose it’s as well that they’re wary – we do keep a piece of mesh on top of their run, but they might have grown out of it by next year and they need to know to take cover.
I’m going to plant things in Edweena’s run – tortoises like sedum, hebe and a range of shrubs, so if I put them in, she can nibble the lower leaves and it will add attractiveness and shelter. I spoil those tortoises.
A couple of the globe artichoke plants have flowered early – the rest are growing strongly, with no sign of flowers. Today, I decided that two heads were big enough to cut and we had them for supper – or rather, as a first course, followed by sausages. So delicious. I almost forget how delicious artichokes are. And I love fiddly food that has to be eaten with the fingers.