By Tuesday the pace of life is slowing down, thankfully. I complete the shell report and email it to my contact in Cornwall. I get an email back a bit later acknowledging this and mentioning another archaeological project which is currently seeking funding which will entail excavations on the seabed and intertidal zone around Scilly. If it does ahead I will be involved in the marine mollusc analysis which will be particularly rewarding as I already know the coasts around Scilly as shell-collecting havens.
The weather is beautiful: sunny, warm and windless so I can spend much of the day in the garden. Finally, a week after arrival, I made a start on weeding, starting in the top right corner where the giant Allium schubertii are growing up through roses. It is a ‘tumbleweed’, native to the Eastern Mediterranean, with a flower head which may be up to 45 cm in diameter. The longer flower stems forming the head are often sterile, the shorter ones fertile, and the whole rolls in the wind, eventually scattering the seed over a wide area. The irregular nature of the stiffened flower pedicels gives a bursting firework like effect, in colours of purple, violet and pink in June. The colours fade as the seed head dries but the heads are brilliant for flower arrangements, I have a few from other years in a large glass goldfish bowl.
I see that the Delphiniums have been munched to pieces by slugs. I’ll have to do something about that before the end of the day. Working my way down the flower bed there are other heavily grazed casualties and there are dead stems and plants to remove. After a couple of hours the stretch I have worked is transformed.
At the supermarket I needed to pick up something for supper and settled for some whelks and cooked crab which we could eat with bread, mayonnaise and a salad, it will be very simple. I called in at the garden centre to buy some repotting compost and some all purpose compost too. I found a suitable pot to move the parlour palm into. All day Nick has been painting the workshop.
With a simple supper planned there is time for a session on the treadmill which I can now ‘enjoy’ with a film. Francois’ son has loaded hundreds of films onto a little black box from which I can make my selection. They are all in French and the first one I chose was dubbed. Even with the volume up to its maximum to counteract the noise of the treadmill it is an uphill struggle to understand the dialogue in this very atmospheric and rather gruesome thriller. But the time flies and before I know it I have done 40 minutes. Just time for a shower then supper. All this in our private ‘suite’! Pictures below will enable those who have visited the house to see what we have done………. viz. we have put in a plain white door which matches the pre-existing cupboard in our bedroom which is an original house feature and hey presto we step into the ‘ new cupboard’ C S Lewis style!
Later, in the evening Nick went over the road for a game of darts with Daniel, I slumped in front of our French TV and watched several episodes of CSI Miami, thankfully in English in my brain-dead state, back to back.
Wednesday and another lovely day so the garden’s the place for me. See gallery above. I round up 50 sluggish pests and dispose of them humanely. I’ve brought over all the seed packets I could find in Godalming, some rather mildewed where they have been rained on in the greenhouse. I’m going to sow some of everything as part of this drive Nick and I have to use everything up and start again, the larder, the freezer, cleaning materials, toiletries etc etc. If we weren’t too concerned about fresh fruit and veg we could live off our supplies for weeks……….. Today I have set seed for Larkspur, Poppies, Cleome, Cowslips, Sunflowers, Sweet Basil, Statice, Helichrysums.
At the end of the day there’s time for another session on the treadmill before we eat some of the massive sea bass which I have defrosted and poached in white wine and courtbouillon vegetables in the fish kettle. A fish this size is more appropriate as a feast for several diners. But the fish has languished over long in the freezer in Godalming. It was a wise decision to cook it. We ate some and it was tasty enough but the texture had suffered. Good to mix with other fish though, in fish pies, cakes.
Just time to blog up before I again fall asleep in front of the TV……….. Tomorrow it will be different!