Removals in View

In one sense our lives have been in limbo these recent weeks.  Whilst we wait for the purchase of a new house and the sale of our existing one to come to fruition in England, it has been an opportunity to have a good sort out indoors and outside in readiness for removal.

In France much of the work we put in during the spring months could so easily have come to nought, had not my dear neighbour Anne, even with a large garden of her own to tend, given time to watering, watering, watering during the persistent dry weather.  She had the modest bonus of a small amount of produce to harvest from our garden, and even then she gave us a pot of strawberry jam from our own crop.

The Echium has finally risen to the occasion and stands, a giant amongst its lesser companions.  Our young peach tree has shown us that our eleventh hour rescue efforts have borne fruit.  It took a neighbour to point out that the reason we were getting leaf-wilting and no peaches was the tightness of ‘la ligature’ which was holding the tree to its stake.  Looking around the French garden I feel there are some fortuitous couplings and triplings of plants which have sometimes been sited because there was a vacancy.  But I also think that some botanical removals are going to be required.  The prospect of a new garden to populate in England will offer the chance to rethink planting schemes on both sides of the Channel.

Meanwhile we must be patient, so here is a gallery for the delectation of my Gardening Guru!

It’s A Shiny Happy Day

As you look about what you see are so many smiling faces, connecting briefly as ships pass by in the day, picking their way through available water-space.  There is a lot of traffic now, with no set courses or prescribed routes, you move into a gap just vacated and watch for the next one.  It takes all Nick’s skill and concentration to make sure our contact with other boats is only visual!

I am really grateful to Yann, who not only took many pictures of Aroona and her crew, but who processed them so rapidly that he could give me copies within an hour of reaching terra firma.  I love it that so many show off our super-size Union Jack which we are proud to fly in French water-space.  This flag has been in Light family possession for more than 60 years, ever since it was stolen by an American GI from the George Hotel in the  market place in Frome, Somerset on VJ day.  It was taken to satisfy a young girl’s request for a flag to wave, like her sister’s  …… really!!

When all the boats are put to bed and we have had time to brush up for a soiree in the Poulet’s garden we cross the road to join assembled guests.  A wonderful feast is enjoyed by all, it is an evening of joint Franglais effort with an array of savoury tarts and quiches cut into small wedges to nibble with drinks.  We then sit down to oysters, seafood couscous, brochettes of chicken, chicken livers and cherry tomatoes, and wild boar and green pepper, followed by a green salad and cheese platters, then a choice of five desserts; a chocolate mousse and a lemon cake being added to the three desserts contributed by the English contingent.  The night is still and mild after the heat of the day and people chat enthusiastically.  At about midnight we retreat to the verandah for coffee and tisanes.  It has been a very special day.

And what if it had rained?……… Well there you have it.  It’s a gamble.  Ten years ago it did rain, and crepe paper being colour-fast not at all, streaks of every hue on houses and boats had to be cleaned off afterwards.

And what of all those miles of garlands?  Well there, you see, is the beauty of using crepe paper, fine wire and sisal string to make your decorations.  These materials are biodegradable and will be carted off to the tip in a day or two.  So much effort down the pan grieves an old hoarder like me.  So I have my solution and box ours up to recycle for a celebratory event in England.  Perhaps a retro house-warming?

A Motley Flotilla

So there are eight aboard Aroona which is a goodly number for comfort.  Nick serves some bubbly and we unveil our savoury offerings including curry samosas which Liz lovingly made with some  mince we needed to use.  We’ve barely initiated this ‘cocktail’ moment when the instruction comes that all decorated boats in the marina are to put to sea.

We motor through the open marina gates around which cheering spectators cluster.  Heading out towards Ile Tatihou we see that the long pier is lined with people waving madly.  As if by reciprocal waves from those of us afloat, the spectating crowd achieves connection and is drawn into the celebration.

Gradually boats spill out of the marina and then we mill around and it requires Nick’s permanent concentration and boat skills to avoid collision.  We are like so many potential Bumper Cars as we circulate in the water space between St Vaast, Tatihou and the end of the long pier from which there is a floating pontoon.  This will be the platform from which the priest will deliver his benediction to each vessel as she presents herself before him.

Our friends on La Marante seem a long time arriving alongside and we think Francois has been a bit manana about timings.  In their haste to leave the house they have forgotten the floral tribute which will be cast afloat at the moment of blessing.  We extract half the flowers from our own and with some clever manoeuvring on Nick’s part we manage to hover alongside La Marante long enough to hand the flowers across.

In the midst of all this colourful panoply there is a solitary vessel, a simple rowing boat which has been anchored and bears only a long black box.  This is a symbolic coffin which is to honour, and remind us of, those who have sailed from St Vaast and perished at sea.  Amidst all the merriment it serves to bring to mind that joyful though we may feel at being afloat on such a bright day, this glistening, clear, brilliant blue sea can transmute into something angry, terrifying, invincible.

One by one the boats are summoned to the point of blessing and soon we hear our name over the loudspeaker.  Aroona, her skipper Monsieur Nick Light, and all who sail in her are blessed in the name of Le Pere, Le Fils et Le Saint Esprit and I cast the flowers onto the water.

Back at the house we are scurrying around to put finishing touches to the dishes we will be taking over the road for a supper party chez Poulet.  Liz has made a Dorset apple cake and a Pavlova which she can decorate, oh joy, with raspberries and strawberries from our garden.  Sue has made a very English Trifle.   I’ve made my red lentil tart and a bean salad.  Nick has his eyes shut on the bed.

There is a ring at the door and a stranger presents himself as one of the crew from La Marante.  He has taken many photos during the afternoon and has put about 60 shots of Aroona on a memory stick, which I invite him to insert into my laptop.  Done!  I have a delightful set of photos which will form the basis of my final Fete de la Mer post!

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

Every ten years the port of St Vaast La Hougue celebrates a Sea Festival.  The purpose of LA FETE DE LA MER is to give thanks for the safe passage that all the port’s fishermen, mariners, yachties have enjoyed over the preceding years and just as importantly, to remember those who perished going about their marine activities, be they fishing, life-saving or sailing for pleasure.

The town is decorated in paper flowers and work started on this in September 2009.  Committees were formed to organise overall proceedings and to set in motion the process of making thousands and thousands of flowers in crepe paper.

These days, certainly on this side of the Channel, there is something delightfully retro about crepe paper.  Certainly in the realm of flowers, other than fresh ones, materials to make flowers for decorative purposes might include tissue paper, wax, silk and other fabrics, dried everlasting species and even the dreaded plastic might be used.  But crepe paper is fun to work with because it stretches in all directions so you can shape petals, leaves and other plant structures with your fingers and thumbs.

All the roads which form the core of the town and port are designated areas for decoration and each road has its own colour scheme.  Our house forms part of a group outside the designated area but abutting on to the principal road into the port and as a group of neighbours we decided to decorate our houses with garlands, and to go for a riot of a dozen colours.

At one time it looked as if our house move in the UK would take place over the same weekend as the Festival but, in true silver lining fashion, things worked out differently.  Liz and Sue who helped me by making many of our  allocation of flowers were able to come over for the festival.  So it was that we boarded the ferry together on Saturday bound for Cherbourg

We arrived to find that our garlands had been kindly strung by our lovely neighbours but that we would be required to present ourselves for hanging at 4 a.m!  As it turned out Nick got the time wrong, all the same we were out on the street at 6 draping garlands over frontages, around and on the memorial over the crossroads and wiring paper single large flowers to hedges.  This was a particularly symbolic exercise as we were remembering Daniel’s father Renee, a pillar of the fishing community in St Vaast all his life, who died three years ago.  His old Peche a Pied basket was decorated as a centrepiece to place at the foot of the memorial.  Then we would have to decorate Nick’s boat too.

Nick had already delivered boxes of garlands to Aroona so Liz, Sue and I walked through the town to the marina.  The long straight road into town was decorated as far as the eye could see with orange and lime green flowers strung across the houses at first floor window level.

With the sun shining brightly it was a joyful experience strolling along amidst all that colour.  At a cross road point there was a net hung with racemes of flowers, fluttering in the wind.  Quite breathtaking.  As we turned down various roads the different colour schemes became evident, and landmarks like the telephone kiosks and notice boards had not escaped ornament.

When we arrived at the quayside it was a lump in the throat moment for me as I looked at all the various vessels which had been lovingly decorated by owners.  No two boats enjoyed the same palette.  All the boats bearing their floral tributes would be forming part of a flotilla that would leave the port at 2.30 for a ceremony of blessing outside the harbour.

Arriving at Aroona we found that Nick, Daniel and Alain had finished the job, so we joined Francois and Anne who were stringing garlands along the rigging and up the mast of their yacht.  Ten of us sat in the tiny cockpit and enjoyed a cup of Yorkshire tea!

By 11 o’clock Nick, Liz, Sue and I were back at the house ready for our brunch.  Nick had bought us some kippers (they label them Keepers in the Intermarche supermarket) which I cooked using my jug of boiling water method.  Then, whilst Sue gathered flowers from the garden to make a bouquet to take to sea, Liz and I prepared some canapes to take onto Aroona, where, at 1.30, we would be joined by our French guests Alain, Martine, Mikhael and Anne.

Been There, Done That

I wake to the sound of the anchor winch and the motor running.  We’re going to Sesula on Solta today, we were there last September with Nigel and Jane, and it pays another visit.  We sail south with the motor in tick over, in no great rush.  We make a lunchtime stop on Drvenik Mali and I conjure up a pasta duo.  This comprises left over spaghetti Bolognese and some fresh Ricotta pasta parcels.  We are gradually eating up our provisions and I have mapped out our meals down to the last slice of Croatian prosciutto.

Sesula is a pretty, busy little anchorage with a small wooden pontoon/platform and boats tied up to the part natural/ part artificial quay.  There are fisherfolk putting stuff into keep nets (mussels) and a local fires up a BBQ and cooks some sardines which Nick is invited to share because he helps them out over a shoreline/anchor issue.

Here are families (it is Saturday) at leisure.  The water is relatively shallow and children and adults flop in and out of the water to cool down.  We already know that if we want to have the slow cooked lamb from the Konoba Sesula we must order it, and we do.  The meat is tasty, succulent with potatoes, carrots, courgettes cooked in the large metal dish.  Afterwards I think that the bone debris doesn’t quite look right for lamb, I wonder if it was goat.  I remember eating goat at a pub near Shellness a couple of years ago and it was tasty.

Next morning we walk over a hill into Maslinica which is a very pretty coastal village with a frontage of quayside cafes, a small market stall, and the attractive converted former palace which is now a hotel.  Families take coffee and stroll round the frontage, some bound for the boomed beach on the northern side of the entrance to the inlet.  Many of the shrubs, smal trees are in flower and again I lament the lack of a camera to photograph them.

We walk back then weigh anchor.  We are now bound for Nigel’s home port.  As we leave Sesula we pass houses on the low hillside, bougainvillea  and oleander draped over facades and verandahs.  The oleanders flower very lushly here and have a heady perfume.  The coastal houses have steps partly hewn and partly cemented which descend from gardens to diving platforms or natural ledges near the water’s edge.  We motor past the entrance to Masalinica and anchor off a nameless isalnd between Solta and Stipanska for lunch and a swim.

Making the crossing to Nigel’s marina on the mainland takes us across a tract of water where, thanks to the cloud cover and the wind that has rustled itself up, we get our best sail yet, reaching 7.6 knots.  I sit in the cockpit enjoying the sensation as the wind fills the sails, the sound of the humming chorus in the rigging, the boat heeling over as she creams along. Nick and Nigel fine tune adjustments on the sails to maintain a good speed without overcanvassing.

We arrive at Marina Agana, a small unpretentious marina.  What it lacks in sophistication (shopping opportunities, restaurant, smart reception area) it makes up for with a fabulous shower block.  It’s the first one I have come across where you don’t have to keep leaning on a knob to keep some semblance of a steady stream of water.

We go ashore to eat.  There is more argy bargy, this time over aspects of the meal.  Nigel gets a small reduction and some complimentary wine by way of compensation.  It is more than we need.  Back at the boat there is no way we will stay awake for Foyle’s War.

I wake far too early on departure day, my mind buzzing and a bit anxious.  I read my William Boyd novel, Ordinary Thunderstorms, thinking I will read myself back to sleep as Iusually do, but it does not happen.  At 8.30 I haul myself out of my bunk and the day is spent shutting down the boat readying for departure in the early evening.

This brings our second Croatian interlude this year to a close.  We have been joining sailing friends in the Adriatic for the past five years or more and as we fall into bed in the very early hours, after our drive from Stanstead, we agree that next year it will be a case of, as Monty Python would announce,  ‘And Now for Something Completely Different’

Lights Overboard

We continue our waterborne amble down the west coast of Kornat; past Vrulje, Lopatica, Ropotnika with a lunch stop in a niche at the northeast tip of Lavsa.  We are bound for Smokvica (another anchorage with happy memories) and when we arrive, the innermost harbour is busy so we have to anchor in the west bay at the entrance to the inlet.  Because there are many boats here, a decision is made to book for supper at Konoba Piccolo and as luck would have it I get the last small table on the terrace.

A cooling-down swim is needed then we have some drinks on board before going ashore.  When we come to load up on the dinghy something goes awry and Nick and I end up in the water.  He has tried to help me down with one foot in the dinghy and one of the diving platform on the stern of Philippides.  A classic mistake.  He feels his legs drifting apart when I wobble, and he has no leverage to hold me steady before I can sit down.

So in we both go and he tells me afterwards how amused he was to see my face underwater with my glasses still on.  Very droll.  Sorry folks but there is no picture for the gallery this time!  There’s no point in making a fuss.  A quick change is called for and the contents of my bag are laid out to dry with my watch: wallet, camera, phone, but thankfully no other vulnerable items.  Amazingly my nice Versace specs stayed on as I bubbled back up to the surface.

What follows is a convivial evening with Hungarian Sofia and Croatian Kornel at the table next to us and next to them, Hartmut and ‘Daisy’ Katz.  We sing, we swap contact details and during conversation an assignation emerges whereby undertakings are given to reune on September 13th.  Nick and I won’t be in Croatia then but I wonder if Nigel will keep it….

Two complimentary bottles of local liqueurs are brought to our tables (normally you are just given a glass) and this accounts for some thick heads on Philippides 5 the next morning, but thankfully not mine.  You can’t beat a swim under those circumstances, then we are off.  We have no great distance to travel, merely to Uvala Stupica Veli which is on the southern end of Zirje.  This marks a southern boundary for the Kornati archipelago and associated islands before you travel over more open water to the complex of rather larger islands such as Solta, Brac, Hvar.

The anchorage is thoroughly buoyed and tying up to one of these invites a charge, or a requirement that you eat at the local konoba.  We are eating aboard so we drop anchor near the entrance to the embayment even though it makes for a windy and choppy trip when we take the dinghy ashore.  We make a short ramble up a track, which has been improved in places with the addition of chipped limestone pebbles, to the fortress of Justinian.

The flora around the ruins is diverse and I am sad not to have my camera, or to have thought to suggest that Nick bring his iPhone.  There are many plants which have flowerheads nearly spent, but I do find Helichrysum italicum growing more plentifully and vigorously so I take some sprigs for the pot.  The aroma is rather thicker than the nose-clearing pungent smells associated with thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus.

I spot a dainty little stem of beautiful purple flowers, orchid-like with a long calyx and I subsequently find others which are less advanced.  I’ll have to try and track the name down.  I come across a well at ground level and disguised by bushes, with a grating which doesn’t quite cover the opening.  I drop some pebbles down – they fall for a long time, clattering against the sides before coming to rest at the bottom.   Scary.

We swim when back at the boat, to cool down then it’s omelettes with herby saute potatoes.  We settle down for another episode of Foyle’s War before retiring to our respective bunks.

Moseying round the Kornatis

After my energetic scramble I am only too happy to relax in the cockpit whilst Nick and Nigel haul the anchor and we motor round to a sheltered anchorage on Otok Aba Veliki for a swim, lunch stop and afterwards I snooze in my cabin.  Nick and Nigel have to mend the anchor winch.  This accomplished we head for Levrnaka, a favoured haunt.

There’s a bit of argy bargy over picking up lazy lines to tie up to the pontoon for the konoba there.  Instead we anchor off a bit, it’s no big deal to row ashore for supper.  Nick revives his acquaintance with the young man who serves and who is a fellow Arvor owner.  Supper is good, the men have a steak, I have scampi risotto preceded by octopus salad.  We almost manage to stay awake for another episode of Foyle’s War.

I sleep till 8, have a dip then breakfast.  Before leaving Levrnaka we walk over the low ridge which takes us to Uvala Lojena.  It is a small shingle beach with sand and a bay ringed by a floating boom.  The bottom is sandy, the water clear.  It is a beautiful spot and there are a couple of naturist families frolicking in the shallows.  Nick and I cannot resist having a swim; I’m glad I put my bathers on!  We have a fabulous bathe.  One could be swimming off some Pacific island in the southern hemisphere.  It is so lovely I’d stay in longer than we do but Nigel is waiting at the water’s edge and it seems rude to keep him waiting!

On the way back to Philippides I take photos of the gorgeous Oleanders which are growing unchecked and randomly around the other small konoba at Levrnaka, with its campsite by the track.  We walk back to the boat, swim again and I prepare lunch.  We are going to the spot on the seaward side of Kornat where there is a ruined fortress and disused chapel.

We went ashore here with the Derricks last year.  We swim, eat then press on.  We are not really sure where we are going but we are barely under way when Nigel spots an anchorage he fancies at Kravljacica, the northern end of a wide embayment. It’s late afternoon so we relax on the boat for a while and read.  Nick watches 2 women picking their way across the low slopes above the shore.  They are gathering something.  I think it might be Roman snails having seen them in the terrain hereabouts, but they are stooping too frequently and taking longer than is necessary to pick up a snail.  I then think they must be gathering herbs – but which?  They certainly seem to have to seek out their harvest.

We are going to eat on board so row ashore to the Konoba Andrija beforehand, the men have a beer, I have an unusual white wine – dark, only just chilled, heavier than normal but not sweet.  The atmosphere here is very rural, authentic…….. the facilities, cooking arrangements are quite basic and we watch the owners prepare fish to cook on their barbeque and much care is lavished.

Gradually diners who appear to be staying in the motley collection of residences round about arrive, skinny cats prowl around, taunting the beagle who forms part of the crew on one of the visitor boats tied up to the rickety pontoon.    Before we leave the next morning Nigel and I go ashore and I think I identify the mystery herb; it is a wild version of the ‘curry’ plant I have in my garden, Helichrysum italicum which, subsequently, the internet tells me is beneficial for all manner of bodily complaints.   The plants are dwarfed in the arid habitat and you can see that the tips have been removed.  I gather a few sprigs to add to the wild sage and rosemary which grow freely on the islands and which get snipped into our salads.

Nothing short of an Ordeal

Our destination is the Kornati Islands and we intermittently cruise and then sail up to find an anchorage at Statival, an embayment on northeastern Kornat.  As the boat flows along we gaze anew at the now familiar, spare, landscape of low-lying islands with their gently rounded summits and occasional minor peaks.  The only angles are those of the dipping limestone strata which have been folded and tilted in eons past.

We see few vessels during the day, and I read on the foredeck, in the shelter of the sail, with a balmy breeze running across the deck.  When the wind strength drops we glide noiselessly, save for the gentle lap and slap of the sea against the hull, moving smoothly over the water.

We arrive at a suitable anchorage some time just before 4.  We’ve not been here before, it is peaceful………. even though we are in the middle of a veritable auditorium of singing cicadas.

(Male cicadas have loud noisemakers called “timbals” and their “singing” is not the sound of two body structures rubbed against one another as in insects like crickets.  The timbals are regions of the exoskeleton that are modified to form a complex membrane.  Contracting the internal timbal muscles produces a clicking sound as the timbals buckle inwards. As these muscles relax, the timbals return to their original position producing another click.  The interior of the male abdomen is substantially hollow to amplify the resonance of the sound. Each species has its own distinctive song. The diversity of animal structure and behaviour never ceases to amaze.)

It has been warm on the boat so we have a brisk, cooling swim and after I cook supper which we eat in the cockpit.  Afterwards an episode of Foyle’s War – Nigel has the boxed set.

Waking at 6.30 I go back up into the cockpit to read.  Three of the crew from the Austrian boat which followed us in the evening before, row ashore and start to climb up the hill which has one of the typical walled olive grove enclosures on its lower slope.  Each at their own pace, I note the most corpulent of the 3 brings up the rear.  When Nigel rises he suggests we do like-wise as a good pre-breakfast exercise.  I agree but Nick demurs.  He is not a great walker.

Nigel rows us across and we c limb out onto the heavily karstified limestone ‘shore’, scramble up the bank through a vegetation of long fine reedy grass tussocks and low prickly twiggly shrubby flora.  There are loose blocks of limestone to stumble over all over the place, with occasional horizons of limestone strata, running as seams laterally across the hill which make high steps to clamber up.

I have to stop several times to get my breath back.  The heat is draining.  I take pictures, rest beneath the shade of an occasional tree.  Once at the top there is a clear view down the western flank of Kornat Island and north to the inlet at Telascica.

There are two large crucifixes fashioned out of limestone blocks and laid out on the hillside, in memory of 12 firemen who were killed when attending a grass fire in August 2007.  The climb has been nothing less than an ordeal but endured with the promise of an easier descent.

Not so in this case, the descent is tough over very uneven terrain with limestone bedrock, loose blocks, scree and tussocks and vegetation disguising depressions into which a foot can so easily land awkwardly.  I do slip, grazing my legs and cutting the palm of my hand.  At least I am carrying a prize – a rather fine piece of natural pumice.

Half way down I feel I am reaching my limit, worried I may not have put enough sunscreen on, thankful I have my hat.  Relief is reaching a sanctuary, and the walled olive grove at the foot of the hill is such.  Nigel and I find our way along a track beneath the low olive trees and are very soon on the bank above the dinghy.  Back on Philippides V I down a glass of water but have no appetite for food right away.  A swim sets the process of recovery in motion.

A Flight is my Fancy

I’ve been a constant gardener for three weeks and flights up and down steps are de rigeuer as I move around the terrain.   So it gives me great pleasure to relieve my aching knees by packing bags and weighing them carefully before setting off for an altogether different flight from Stanstead.

We are bound for Zadar in Croatia where we will meet up with Nigel on the good ship Philippides V in a marina on the island of Murter.  Our rendez-vous point is rather far-flung and reflects a late change of plan because a member of Nigel’s previous crew crushed his toe and needed urgent medical attention.  This accident costs us dear; our taxi fare from the airport is 140 Euros for 90+ kilometres.

Nigel has prepared us a good chicken salad for supper.  In the morning Nick and I walk round to the supermarket on a provisioning mission.  I’ve looked in the fridge and lockers and estimated what we might need to carry us through the week.  We are not intending to moor up in any marinas and our itinerary is unlikely to put us in the way of any shopping facilities.  But there will be opportunities to eat ashore.

Coming out of Hramina marina on Murter we head north to pass between the islands of Zut and Kornat.  We are going to spend the next week cruising around the Kornati National Park.  It is a 35km archipelago of 140 islands and this will be Nigel’s first lingering experience in the Kornati, and a revisit of former favoured haunts for Nick and me.

A Thing of Beauty is a Job forever……

……. So wrote John Keats in 1818 in his epic poem Endyminion. Well actually, not quite:-

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Now that the flower beds have been reclaimed, it is time to address the woodland area, the lawn, the water terraces.  It’s not a big job pulling weeds from the barked surface of the woodland paths and steps.  The couch grass, the fleshy stemmed cranesbills and the straggly vetch give up easily.  I leave a few violets and primroses in place.  Nick will need to strim the long grass, although Teddy, our Littlest Pirate, pronounces it fit for a bear hunt when he comes to visit.  Charlotte and I sit on one of the wooden benches and look out over Godalming’s valley to the other hillsides feeling very much on top of the world.

The lawn is gradually recovering from the major damage inflicted by badgers and possibly foxes during the cold wet months.  They dig for worms, beetle larvae and perhaps crocus bulbs?  I’ve filled the depressions and transplanted rooted grass weeded from other parts of the garden.  At least it is now mowable.

The water terrace is hugely improved by the drastic pruning of evergreens that have encroached across the paving.  I derive great pleasure from weeding underneath the Skimmia and thinning out the comfrey.   I’ve emptied a number of pots which contained a medley of bulbs and retrieved a large number of grape hyacinth.  I’m not sure I like grape hyacinths; they can look dreadfully naff in some situations but I think the new space in the Skimmia corner is perfect for them.  They will push up through the comfrey and pink cranesbills that cope with the rather sparse conditions there.

Before we leave 88 to the temporary care of The Legend who is working in Flat 4 and doing a marvellous job too, I have to move all the pots down to the small courtyard at the back of the house.  Here they will be shaded for the forthcoming week and have a chance to really put down new root growth as a prelude to placement in their new surroundings.