Saturday, 14 June 2014

Weather for Chickens - Permutations 1

I am not a summer person; I also know we haven’t quite got there yet except meteorologically, but yesterday and Thursday we definitely had the kind of day that passes for summer in these islands. I am itching already and the bits of me that have caught the sun are turning spotty. I can’t abide getting sweaty just breathing.

 It has to be said, however, that you get a better class of weeds in summer than at any other time. 

I had an errand at the other end of the village, all of ten minutes walk away if you use the High Street, but I chose the scenic route, which takes another five minutes each way. and to distract myself from the heat of the morning I took pictures, while dodging sunlit open spaces and seeking any kind of shade I could find along the way. Millie came too and she was huffing and puffing, her tongue flopping at the side of her mouth and her pace leisurely. No mad dashing about following smells, more a patient and long-suffering acceptance expressed in every flap of ear and flick of tail. A less superior being would have raised its eyes and sighed deeply at the imposition.

Not exactly a weed, this laburnum tree, but there it was, hanging over the wall by the petrol station. Yes we have one of those; it sells bread and a few other kinds of long-life groceries and you can rent videos too.  Although the pumps are set in concrete, the surrounding yard is tufty grass and there is a flower bed in front of it and round the back and sides you have hedges. And a laburnum tree. Gardener calls it Chains.There is a big shed where you have repairs done and buy 4x4s and trucks, old ones, of course. A small Jack Russell, one of the yapping, bossy kind, guards the forecourt. I am surprised to see he has lasted as long as he has without getting squashed. I don’t like Jack Russells, they attack Millie.

Gardener isn’t very well again. I rang his wife this morning to see if he was coming and she said “oh no, he won’t”. Bang, just like that. She sounded really cross. “Oh?” I said, putting a whole questionnaire into the sound.

“He’s not well, he’s had a turn.”
“What kind of turn?” She really was making me earn every utterance.
“Same as before.” She was unbending just a smidgen. “He hasn’t worked all week.”
“Has he seen a doctor?”
“No”,  a bark; back to basics.
“Can’t you send him?”
“Have your tried?”
“No, I’ve given up on him. He’s worked too much, and when he works, he works like a maniac. Just won’t listen. I’ve given up.”

Since the weather has warmed up I’ve noticed Gardener sitting down more. You are my witness, I have said before that he’s not the man he used to be. And I’ve been happy to sit with him. Neither am I the woman I once was.

What with Gardener and Paul’s frequent ’turns’ not much gets done.  It seems to be time that I hired myself a gardener, a fit and able one who will last at least as long as me. Number three. I’ll try not to get confused. Poor Austin, I shall miss him. Dreadfully. I love the contrary old goat. (Did you notice I called him by his name? First time ever)

Anyway I am still on my errand. Right opposite the garage, in  Hospital Lane, on the wall surrounding the Methodist Church, a whole long and wide swathe of campanula has taken up residence without a by-your-leave. Nobody’s planted it, it just arrived years ago and has settled in nicely, thank you. It probably escaped from somebody’s rockery originally and cannot be called a weed either.

That reminds me, this was to be a post about weeds, among other things. I’ll have to come back to you on that. Tomorrow. I wonder how many posts I can get out of a 30 minutes’ walk.


  1. We all knew you loved that old goat. Age is not kind and things can change quickly for us all but like the Gardener, it is hard to give in or give up something that is a big part of our lives.

  2. I have never seen this "Laburnum" tree and I have to admit, it is so pretty. I also like swathe of campanula that "just arrived". Sometimes on very short outings, or walks, we run across the nicest things. I think, FriKo, you would be surprised at how many posts you could get out of a 30 minute walk :)

  3. Der Goldregen ist wunderschön! Direkt an einer Tankstelle würde man das nicht unbedingt erwarten.
    Hoffentlich erholt sich Austin wieder und kann wenigstens ab und zu noch ein bisschen für Dich/bei Dir arbeiten. Ich glaube, Du würdest ihm genauso fehlen wie er Dir.
    Wir hatten hier die ganze Woche an die 30 Grad, was im Büro nicht immer ganz so angenehm ist. Aber jetzt hat es abgekühlt und aktuell sind's hier nicht mal 20.

  4. Sorry to hear about Gardener--and Paul, too. I hope you are able to get the help you need there, and that somehow Gardener pulls through, even if he must slow down. Meantime the "not-exactly-weeds" are glorious, and the nice thing about looking at the photographs is that we can see the beauty without the heat!

  5. I am a fan of summer but not of the heat, which is why we moved to the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday was downright cool, and I had to close the windows. The laburnums here are already done, but they sure are pretty. Thanks for taking me along and walking slowly, so I could keep up. :-)

  6. A young Gardener would be nice to look at . . .
    Shade is my friend as well.

  7. Ha! That's what I say to your summer. We are in the low 90s, high humidity and it isn't even high summer yet. Months more to go of this. It's past time to be working in the garden here though I missed the time because we were so busy with work. Have things to plant, gardens to build. Now that I have the time, it's too hot and getting hotter. Sorry to hear about Gardener.

  8. Friko, I am in total agreement with you about the heat of summer. We had a taste of it yesterday afternoon, with oppressive humidity that built to a lengthy early evening thunderstorm with lots of dramatic thunder and lightening Afterwards, it was a bit cooler, but even more humid.

    I'm sorry to hear that Gardener is unwell and hope that he might concede to contacting a doctor. I would imagine that his wife's current days must be quite stressful.

    Your fine observation powers and writing skill really took us along with you on your errand. I'm certainly hoping to hear more about this journey by foot. Please take as many posts as you like. xo

  9. i like that campanula...its pretty....the laburnum tree as well....
    i hope the gardner gets better....

  10. I do not trust you Brits on weeds. You called Queen Anne's lace a weed in a former post...really! We Americans have real weeds, super hero weeds, like green briar vine, crab grass, wire grass, nut grass, and now an introduction - Japanese stilt grass! You can tell by their names how nasty they are. (AND you have the audacity to complain about heat and then go and show us how flowers just bloom any old place!!) Being snarky do understand that?

  11. Walk on Millie and Friko! Lovely

  12. It is a fine season for weeds west of Big Water, too. The sun seems bigger over here this year. I'm delighted to be discovering in my dotage that there are a few things I like to eat that can be grown pretty much in the shade- all those years people I thought should know kept telling me different. One should wait until they are old to take any kind of gardening advice.

  13. Thank you for sharing the pleasures of your walk. Nature shines at this time and I have no problems with weeds. My garden is their haven and all that exist upon them.
    Must admit I am not to comfortable with the heat of summer.
    Do so hope the gardener's health improves.
    Anna :o]

  14. Not a fan of heat here either. In the height of summer I do my best to become a troll and only come out at night.
    Yes, we knew you loved Austin. Contrary or not.

  15. Wish Gardener 'All the best' I hate to hear that he's too well.

  16. I especially like your bits of humor in this post. "A higher class of weeds in the summer!" Indeed!

    I am not the woman I once was, either. I went for a walk this morning and now the chair in the garden beckons, rather than the classy weeds.

  17. I've just come in from weeding - I can do it every day, starting at one end and moving along to the end of a great circle and then starting again from the beginning. Yes - it's time you found a third gardener who will actually garden!

  18. I had to laugh at the 'better class of weeds in summer'! The laburnum is spectacular, and the purple of the campanula is lovely.

  19. Hi Friko - I love laburnum .. I know it's poisonous ... we had one when I was growing up ... and there's a wonderful laburnum pergola somewhere .. now I can't remember, which mansion! Oh and Campanula is just stunning - wonderful colouration against the rough hewn walls - I love to see it as I walk around.

    30 minutes with your camera or contraption for snapping weeds, or items of interest .. lots to keep the blogging wolf from the door for a while! Oh dear gardeners sound 'sad' ... and Austin - bless him .. I think he deserves to be blessed from the stories you've told .. a real character ...

    It was hot and sticky last week wasn't it .. and it's bliss to have the windows open and the sun shining at times ... I had a brief walk up from Birling Gap - we could see up to the lighthouse, and west as far as Worthing and see how much cliff has caved in ... I took some iphone photos but really too far away ... still it was gorgeous up there and a tiny ripple of wave ... so peaceful ... enjoy weed pulling ... and they are lush right now. Cheers Hilary

  20. I love that Laburnum. If I had space in a yard of my own I'd plant one of those.

  21. wat is de goudenregen heel vol en de campanula staat er ook geweldig bij.

  22. So many "weeds" are as lovely as intentional flowers.

  23. Yes , the Dutch name for laburnum ... Golden Rain ... is much prettier , I think , and it's always a glorious sight , even in unexciting suburban streets .And that campanula is wonderful .
    Other peoples' flowers are such a lovely "present" for us non-gardeners !

  24. I like your photos, and to me they just underscore the point of view that a weed is simply a plant whose beauty and virtues are not appreciated.

  25. I've heard Laburnum called Golden Chain and Golden Rain around here. Certainly not quite a weed. The campanula made itself quite at home and looks charming. Sorry to hear that Gardener (can't quite think of him as Austin) is poorly.

  26. Your weather should improve before it gets worse again. I've noticed our weather pattern here moves up the coast, then shoots over your way. Nice walk. I think the flowers that plant themselves often look better than those humans plants. However, I am no fan of Laburnum.

  27. I know the old gardener (Austin) hasn't been so well and hasn't been showing up as often, but I thought the younger one was. Good grief.
    I do not like the heat, either, but you surely do have a beautiful walk. :)

  28. The rain has stopped in my area
    and now 90's the rest of the week.
    All I do in garden will be very early
    Help, mine has disappeared
    so trying to follow my son's instructions
    "lower my standards" and having a problem.
    Death in family and grass surrounding cottage
    so high - finally before dark someone came
    with a big mower - thankful I am.

  29. Love that campanula. So, Gardener has a real name. Austin. I'll always think of him as Gardener. I just hope he rallies and comes back, even if not to garden.

    We can walk to our market here, but somehow, I think your walk is far more picturesque...

  30. I loved this post as it rambled from point to point as much as your walk did. Poor Gardener - it's so hard not to be able to work as he once did, but I do feel sorry for his wife.

  31. Dear Friko, I'm enjoying this walk with you today. And the following line just delighted me: "A less superior being would have raised its eyes and sighed deeply at the imposition." Peace.

  32. Wow I love the angel of the photo under the tree.


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