Sunday, 10 April 2016

ups and downs

Things were looking up again by lunchtime.  It was not raining, the sun was shining, the temperature several degrees above yesterday's and the humidity about twenty per cent lower. Miraculously, my chest eased, my nose almost stopped running and my throat felt less sore.

And Our Ginger caught another baby rabbit.  He was very emphatic that he wanted to eat it in the house, so much so that the Systems Administrator ended up letting him inside with it.  We want to encourage him, after all.

In the greenhouse one of the seedling Solanum pyracanthum, or porcupine tomatoes, has grown two tiny spines on one of its first true leaves.  They are still the same greyish green as the rest of the leaf, not yet orange, but it is interesting to see it expressing its true nature at such a tender age.

The fat root of one of the Clivia seedlings had developed a ring of white fuzz where it touched the compost, which I took to be some sort of mould infection after all the warnings on the web about the importance of sterilising the seeds, but when I tried gently scraping it off it seemed to be part of the root, and searching around the tray I saw a second seed doing the same thing.  I have a lot to learn about growing Clivia from seed.  So far they don't seem to be like anything else, whereas the Solanum are behaving just like tomatoes, apart from the spines.

My rabbit and thoracic health induced good mood took a dip after lunch, when I tried to get the SA to show me how to operate the pressure jet and to agree that I could use it to clean the decking. The SA has never been very keen on my pressure jetting it, concerned that too much pressure could strip out the grain and damage the wood, but I scrubbed the deck by the conservatory last year and it took ages.  There really isn't time to do all of them by hand.  And yes, I know that decking is fearfully Groundforce and 1990s and we have no business to have five separate areas of it in 2016, or six if you include the front doorstep, but it is a very effective solution if you want to create a level, solid surface on a slope, which we did, or to cover a pile of builder's spoil, which we also did, or to clad areas of 1960s concrete while bridging a large hole and blending visually with the materials used in other parts of the garden, which we did too.  And you can argue that using sustainably harvested wood is more environmentally friendly than cement and imported Indian sandstone.

The extension cable the SA fetched first of all was not quite long enough, so we had to find a second reel of cable, and then the jet did not come on.  We narrowed this problem down to the socket in the conservatory rather than the cable, which means there is now another malfunctioning thing that needs looking at, and plugged the compressor into a socket in the hall instead.  The resulting jet did not have any pressure to speak off, and the SA decreed that the hose was too long, so we had to take a section of hose off the end of the very long composite hose that will reach to the bottom of the garden in times of drought, and switch connectors over from other hoses.  The jet still took longer to clean a strip of plank approximately six inches long than I would have done scrubbing it by hand, while the engine made strange stuttering noises.  The SA said that the compressor ought not to be making that noise, and that the diaphragm had probably gone. Apparently we have had it for sixteen years, in which time the SA has mended it twice, but we now need a new one.  So that was half an hour of Sunday gone in interminable trailing around with cables and hose connections, at the end of which we had achieved nothing.  Machinery is wonderful when it works, but sometimes I can see why I don't honestly like it.

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