Monday, 8 February 2016

wild days

I shouldn't really grumble about storm Imogen.  Out here on the east coast we are getting off lightly compared to most of the UK.  Giant waves are smashing into the promenade at Aberystwyth, people have been killed by walls blowing over, cars crushed by falling trees, and the map of UK flood warnings shows a solid mass of red and yellow blobs other than a narrow strip down the right hand side of the map.  Here there's been a gale raging since lunchtime, and the wooden bar that holds the pot shed door closed snapped overnight, but that seems to be the only structural damage.

I went and hefted the bee hives first thing, in case any of them needed feeding, but none felt too light.  It's a nice question, how heavy a hive ought to be, and one of those imponderables that are almost impossible to set down as a tidy rule in a text book, any more than it's easy to quantify how heavy a flower pot should be for it to need or not need watering.  With practice you start to know what feels right.  If it had been autumn I'd have thought they were a bit light to go through the winter, and tried to get them to take another bucket of syrup, but none felt as though they were about to run out of food imminently.  And once Imogen blows through they might be able to get out and forage.  Some were on the camellias the other day, in a gap between storms.

Then I went and bought mushroom compost, ready for planting the bare root roses.  I was the only customer at the local garden centre.  Maybe I was their only customer all day.  It really wasn't the weather for gardening.  I found the roses in the porch when I got home.  The instructions on the bag said that while I should plant them as soon as possible, they would keep for a few days stored in a cool place.  I thought that once the roots were exposed to the full blast of Imogen they would last for approximately two and a half minutes, so put the bag away in the chilly end of the house to deal with later.

I lasted crawling around pulling up nettles by the oil tank until lunchtime, then gave up in disgust as Imogen intensified and the first spots of rain arrived.  We never got much rain, though.  You could see it on the rain radar, sweeping across the country then evaporating as it got east of Chelmsford.

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