Sunday, 1 January 2017

happy new year

We dined on New Year's Eve on corned beef hash, while watching the last episode of Simon Sebag Montefiore's three-parter on the history of Vienna, and at half past ten I went to bed and read a couple of pages of the RHS history and use of fifty garden tools before going to sleep long before midnight.  I should have sent a photo of the hash to the Guardian for their selection of underwhelming New Year's Eve photos.  We'd have been in good company: I saw this morning that quite a few of the photos that were included featured cats.  Actually, I have never been a great fan of New Year celebrations even when not convalescing from flu, and I like corned beef hash.

The Systems Administrator pointed out yesterday that the large and expensive lump of pink pig meat I bought what seems like weeks ago to eat as part of the Christmas lunch we never cooked was not gammon but ham.  I am not sure I had really grasped there was a difference, but by the time I bought it I was beginning to sink.  Apparently there is, the ham being already cooked.  The SA said never mind, we could eat it for lunch with some nice bread, except that as in the Irish joke about eggs and bacon we did not have any bread, except for half a week old white sliced loaf.

According to a useful list on the local paper's website of supermarket opening hours over the festive season the Highwoods branch of Tesco was due to open on New Year's Day, and so I set off.  Twenty minutes after opening the store was very quiet, the aisles mostly filled by people looking as though, like me, for one reason or another they hadn't bothered with any celebrations the night before.  By the time I finished my shopping the store was considerably busier and the customers on average looked more fragile, and it had started to drizzle.  Still, well done Tesco, for not merely being open but for maintaining normal stocks of milk and firelighters.  You would never have guessed that the annual ritual of panic buying had just been and gone, if it weren't for the sad, left-over, penguin-shaped novelty boxes of biscuits, their currency quite devalued now it is 1 January and not 23 December.

Then I spent the rest of the day looking at the Chiltern Seeds 2017 catalogue and dreaming of all the wonderful plants I could grow, while trying to temper the dream with the reality of how little space there is in the greenhouse, and the fact that I have already ordered some seeds from Derry Watkins' Special Plants nursery and some more from Mr Fothergill because a friend invited me to join in with her garden club bulk discount order.  The internet provided another useful reality check.  The delightful prospect of lots of lovely little plants of Dodecatheon meadia faded once I read on the Missouri Botanic Garden website that propagation from seed was slow and difficult. And I have thrown away enough ungerminated pots of daphne and clematis seed to have put me off spending £2.95 a packet on them.

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