It was a beautiful morning, bright, clear and sunny, frost glistening on the grasses and seed heads. It was impossible to weed while the ground was frozen, so despite the beauty I took an hour out to go and buy compost via a trip to the dump. My car sounded positively perky about starting, so while the battery is undoubtedly approaching the shadow of its life, it will still accept a charge. I studied the way the charger was attached very carefully, in case I should need to do this for myself, and the Systems Administrator warned me to turn the charger off before disconnecting it from the battery, to avoid accidents with the positive terminal. When we first met the SA had a great raised scar across one wrist, the result of accidentally wiring a metal watch strap into a car battery. It took many years to fade, and is probably one reason why I have always looked on batteries with nervous suspicion.
While I was at B&Q a tray of ostentatiously large but pretty pink primroses found their way on to my trolley along with the compost. I put them down on the front doorstep when I got back, thinking I might pot them up and enjoy the bling by the front door for this spring, before finding them a permanent home in my not very colour coordinated collection of polyanthus. This nudged me into tidying away the collection of used pots and other bits and pieces that had collected by the door, and wash the two large trays and lids that I'll need for pots of seeds very soon, now they aren't full of bulbs.
If I were rich and were having my dream house built to my own design, it would definitely have a garden utility room with a big sink and hot as well as cold running water, for washing trays and pots. I swished the worst of the mud off the big trays under the outside tap, but had to wash them in the kitchen, splashing the floor liberally in the process and creating a mess of muddy footprints where I trod in the wet bits. A big garden sink would be ideal, like the huge ones in period sculleries. I'd have an outside loo too, so that I could go for a pee without having to take my boots off, or treading mud down the hall when I forgot. And it would have hot water and soap and a towel and a working light, unlike some I've seen.
As it is I shall go on washing pots and seed trays in the kitchen sink and trailing mud down the hall, but never mind.
I risked letting the chickens out after lunch, as they have been looking so hopeful and pleading in recent days, and it was not so cold today. There was no way of explaining to them that they were on probation, and that if they wasted my afternoon running all over the garden so that I couldn't settle to any work then they weren't coming out next time. As it was they behaved pretty well, trundling around the gravel and only disappearing briefly behind the Eleagnus hedge. Even then I could hear them scratching about, but of course there's always the risk I might be listening to only two hens while the third had gone exploring at the bottom of the garden. But by now natural selection may have played a part, since the last solo explorer became fox food a while back. They did annoy me digging around in my carefully applied Strulch in the dahlia bed, including climbing back into the bed after I'd shooed them out once. I don't want them disturbing the Strulch, or snapping off the emerging tulip shoots, but if I put the netting back along the front of the bed that will stop their game, unless any of them remember that they can climb in over the wall at the back.