Deep roots

Sunday August 28, 2005

Having royally screwed the use of my provisions, I got myself organized early today and took a trip over to Tesco’s for a mini re-stock. My quarterly loyalty cash back coupons, worth £14.50p, arrived yesterday so it was far less expensive than would otherwise have been the case. I blew the difference on a Sunday brunch, Tesco-style (can’t recommend it unless your system is tuned to British smokey-Joe café food), and a pass through the somewhat utilitarian garden centre just the other side of Boston, requiring no more than a minor detour on my way home.

I prefer the lusher type of garden centre, I confess it. Where the range is larger and aimed not so much at the gardener as the person who sits at the comfortable point where house and garden meet. This time, though, I didn’t want to drive a long way for no more than three pots of something colourful and in bloom to tart up my hanging baskets. I found a display of potted Impatiens in full bloom, reduced in price, and exactly what I needed. Sure, they’ll not last long but they’ll die for want of water, chances are, when I take my Somerset break, so it’s no great shakes.

Since this house doesn’t have a proper outside tap I can’t give the neighbour’s son a few quid to come over and water plants while I’m away. What I’ll do is fill a big tub with water, group the containers around it, and run a strip of old towelling to each of them, watering by capilliary action. If the weather’s not too dry, it’ll work, and the larger, sturdier plants will survive anyway.

Back home, after I’d had my nap, I hopped on out to pull the old planting out of the baskets and stick the new pots in. We’d put one of those all-season slow feed blocks in each basket and they all of them had stacks of life left so I extracted them and put one in each of my patent inverted coke-bottle drip feeders, sticking each new pot with the result. I suspect this may work very well.

Sitting outside as the sun went down my eye was caught by a very bright stationary light in the sky, high over the sun, about one third up between the horizon and the vertical. Could have been one of the planets except that when I looked again five minutes later it was gone. Makes you wonder, does things like that.

And then, the air cooled to a degree where sitting outside in a t-shirt started to become uncomfortable so I closed the day by walking round the house, checking the outside jobs I want to do in the next two days, before the new agent comes.

The grass will need cutting, of course, but other than that there’s nothing of great note. Some more clipping of edges and sweeping of paths. Oh, and a quick wash-down of outside sills. Most of my efforts will be devoted to a good house-clean. I have an almost bottomless stock of plums and will put a handful of them to simmer in a light syrup of cinnamon and nutmeg for an hour before the new agent arrives. A good tip that. Makes the house smell wonderful, and leaves you with a very pleasant dessert when it’s cold, needing no more than the addition of a dollop of cremé fraiche to elevate it to a delicacy fit to reward the earnest house-seller. Apples work as well but need more sugar, and I’m not overly keen on stewed apple.

Other than that, I spent some shortish periods at my desk, and at the piano. I’m almost at the point where I can render the Bach minuet at the proper pace and with only two hestitation points. As to desk work, I’m finding that the poetry is flowing again. This is a result of feeling at home in this place of course, after eighteen months of establishing roots and the right eye. I wonder if it’ll take so long when we move back to Somerset, where I left some pretty good deep roots a couple of years ago.


“Tomorrow will be 4m 2s shorter”
And so it goes, still summer,
while autumn is on the way.
Swallows gather along the wires,
and the prunus centered in the lawn
draws a stronger leaf-henge every day.
John Bailey
Lincolnshire, August 2005


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