Friday, 19 May 2017

fiddling about

I was slow off the mark this morning, deciding I did want a second mug of tea after breakfast, answering a couple of emails, and walking with a letter up to the postbox with a swift detour to fit some more green waste in the brown bin before the binmen came.  By the time I'd changed into my gardening clothes and sorted out my bucket of tools it had begun to drizzle.  I stood in the fine, sifting rain with the bucket, trying to decide if it was real rain or not enough to count, and decided that it was really raining and that I, and the contents of the bucket, were getting wet.

After the rain passed it was quite grimly chilly, in that bone piercing way that a cold, grey, damp spring day feels colder than a dry, sunny winter one that is, objectively speaking, colder.  The thought of toiling in the cold and the damp was not very appealing, and I thought I would go and get some growbags for the tomatoes, since I was going to need them soon.  As I approached my car I thought that the nearside front tyre was bulging oddly over the gravel.  I prodded it experimentally and it felt squishy.  Car tyres should not be yielding to the touch.  I summoned the Systems Administrator for a second opinion, who confirmed that the tyre was partially flat.

The SA had independently planned to go to Screwfix to pick up an order via the dump to drop off five bags of rubbish from clearing out the workshop, and suggested I could come too as there is a branch of The Range opposite Screwfix, and get the bags there.  As we trundled towards Clacton I said we knew we were really middle aged when we were going to the dump together and then to a DIY and homeware store.  The SA said that for the complete effect we should stop at a garden centre for a cup of tea on the way home.

The SA experimentally turned left back out on to the main road instead of going back the way we had come, to test a theory that we would be able to cut up to the industrial estate and avoid the traffic in Clacton.  Instead we found ourselves entering Holland-on-Sea.  I once went to give a woodland charity talk in Holland-on-Sea and got horribly lost on the way there because I had made the mistake of thinking I knew where Holland-on-Sea was, and instead found myself in an industrial estate.  Now we were looking for the industrial estate and had got to Holland-on-Sea.  We drove across the Holland gap, the low lying area separating Clacton from what you suddenly see are the lofty heights of Frinton, doubled round, and eventually found ourselves popping out by the Skoda garage in Little Clacton.

By the time we got home it had warmed up, and I started getting the pots of overwintering pelargoniums out of the greenhouse on the basis that the five day forecast gets me through to 25 May, and if there isn't frost forecast by that point then there isn't going to be any.  Some had got fresh infestations of root aphid, to my annoyance.  I checked all the plants I gave to a couple of plant sales, and they were clean, so it was disappointing to find root aphids on my display specimens.  A couple had outbreaks of sap sucking pests on their leaves, and really the sooner they are out of the greenhouse the better.

I'd volunteered to cook supper, and made a baked dish of courgette fritters layered with tomato sauce and cheese from the Two Greedy Italians book.  It is a good recipe, like a vegetarian lasagne but using layers of battered courgette slice instead of pasta, but I'd forgotten how long it took to make, what with having to fry all the fritters in batches before you can assemble it and then waiting forty minutes for it to cook in the oven.

Tomorrow I will be fantastically productive and get out there straight after breakfast, moving things out of the greenhouse and setting up my growbags, instead of fiddling around with letters and shopping and getting lost in magical mystery tours of the outskirts of Clacton.  Or perhaps not.

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