It was an evening to dine in the garden, a leisurely tete-a-tete meal with Mrs T. Mrs T has been fretting about the frogs who seem to have abandoned the pond this summer, but as we dug into the home-made blackberry ice-cream (thanks to Abel for the picking he did) there came a croak from the woodpile, a definite, assertive, bass note. A few seconds later, a tenor croak replied from under the holly bush.
Mrs T could go to bed happy. May the frogs be with her!
Yes, the power tools are out in force, forcing Mrs M and me to retreat indoors; there a more homely modern technology could be heard: click, click, click at irregular intervals. Jar lids closing on a vacuum as they cool down.
Not, sadly, apricot jam; this year’s crop was appreciated for its scarcity. The glut was of cucumbers and runner beans, so I dug out my favourite piccalilli recipe and adjusted quantities accordingly.
This lacks the day-glow of commercial varieties, but just needs to be introduced to a couple of rashers of bacon to feel fulfilled in life!
Mrs T had gone to work when I got in from town, leaving a note to say she had seen two frogs in the pond! (Her exclamation mark)
The heatwave seems to have led them to hide these last two weeks. Even the pond was – apparently – untenanted, though they might have been down in the depths of the pool, ‘where it was fine and cool.’ I heard one croaking one evening from deep in the undergrowth, but Mrs T did not, so that did not count.
Twice a year the hollow old yew in Saint Mildred’s churchyard turns the ground gold: in spring, when the buds burst and the husks fall to the ground, and then again about now, when the needles that have been replaced give up their chlorophyll and die.
Abel and I turned up today to find one of the church carers sweeping up the needles to put them in the church bin. We set to with a bigger brush and two wheelbarrows. Abel plied the one his great-grandmother sent for his birthday and worked very hard, taking loads back and forth to the Glebe compost heap. A confident, competent little gardener at 4 years old. Here he is a couple of months ago on a similar task.
The church carers will be happy to have less mess on their lovely stone floor!
What does the word ‘mermaid’ suggest to you? Andersen and Disney sweet young girl, giving herself to the man she loves? Or else the seal-women of Scotland, or the sirens of Greek legend, luring unloved men to their deaths?
The Mermaid rose is s beautiful as any of those, but has more in common with the sirens. Get too close to her and you won’t escape easily from her sharp, backward-facing thorns. But she’s lovely enough, if handled with leather gloves. She’ll grow 4m plus high and those buds will open to creamy yellow single flowers. The deep red berberis leaves set her off well.