I was going to visit the Beth Chatto gardens today, but I didn't. The trip had been in the offing since the start of the year, as a friend who is another keen gardener and I agreed it would be nice to go and see a garden fairly soon, and snowdrops seemed the obvious choice. By the start of this month we'd narrowed it down to a trip to Beth Chatto's. I've always liked the sound of Benington Lordship and its Norman moat full of snowdrops, but it's a long drive while Beth Chatto is just round the corner. We went there once before on an organised snowdrop day, which was interesting but insanely cold, and the display was pretty good. And as RHS members we could get in free in February. As an added incentive I promised my friend some lunch afterwards.
As I watched the progress of our own snowdrops I tried to gauge when we should make our visit. The weather remained mild, and I began to think we had better get on and pick a date, but then storm Imogen rolled in, and I had to plant the bare root roses, while my cold which had seemed to have passed showed ominous signs of returning.
By last Friday the roses were planted at last, and I suggested Sunday or Monday. My friend replied that she would love to go, but had that morning woken up with a cold, and suggested Tuesday. Sun was forecast, and she was sure she would be better by then. My own view of colds being bleaker than that, I was not at all confident she would be up to garden visiting by Tuesday. I rather thought she might have just reached the full stage of bubbling awfulness by then, but it seemed churlish to say so, and we agreed Tuesday, with the proviso that if she were not well it was not a problem and we would go later in the spring.
There was already a message on the answering machine when we got up this morning. My friend sounded absolutely dreadful, and it was clear she would not be going anywhere. I rang back to commiserate, promised we would go out once she was better, and urged her to take it very easy.
Colds are absolutely crap, there is no denying it. Another friend missed the posh party the other weekend because she had a stinker and wasn't fit to go out. My nose is still alternating between dripping tap and dense snuffle, and I woke up again today with a headache that neither a quiet morning in the warm making soup, nor a burst of fresh air weeding once the ground had thawed would shift. I was quite relieved to meet someone the other day who announced baldly that she had felt ill all year, and blamed a virus. Not pleased that she was ill, that would be a very unpleasant case of schadenfreude and anyway I like her, just relieved that someone else would admit that these bugs can hang on for weeks turning to months, and are not always 'only' and over in a week.