I’ve started waking at 4.30 a.m. If I have a busy day ahead, or a list of must-dos buzzing around in my head it is pointless to try and sleep more. Best to get up and get going. Today we board a ferry for France. We’ve only been back in Winterborne K for a couple of weeks but we have packed it in. Our principal purpose was to be in England for two parties; a 50th Wedding Anniversary and an annual Summer BBQ hosted by friends in Wiltshire. Then again my village quintet of Bridge learners were to receive their next lesson from Mr Kitchenbridge. Barry came down for the day and introduced Doubling. And we consolidated our learning so far, and I played reasonably well given my shortfall of practice with Cybs and co. If only I could improve my ability to remember the cards as they are played. I face a summer of isolation from my fellow players but will try and compensate with theory learning and Bridge Baron. The first party we go to is at Clifford Bridge. It starts at midday and continues into the evening. In the lovely garden setting that our friends are creating we sat and chatted to friends in archaeology and ate delicious food. Meats from the BBQ at midday were followed by a Hog Roast later. To accompany all this meatiness a fabulous array of salads had been prepared, and then there were strawberries…………… We stayed at a nearby cottage with the O’Connors which was within walking distance. On the Sunday we ate more delicious food in the form of party leftovers then Nick drove to Greylake to see his friend John W and I drove west to visit Cornish Stella and Rose. Driving back on the Monday I stop at the farm shop at Morcombelake to buy another willow butterfly scarer. One that I bought earlier didn’t exactly keep the blackbird off my strawberries but it looks graceful in its rustic willowness. All things willow get a big tick from me. Mind you a more effective bird scarer might be something like this…….. During my English fortnight I make another batch of apricot jam and harvest a lot of strawberries. We eat plenty of these fresh from the plot but there are still plenty to freeze for future desserts and I also plan to make some rhubarb and strawberry jam with Joel.
The garden receives attention and when we come to leave it looks well enough although there are weeds at the back of the main border which have escaped but will be attacked when I get back soon. After the earlier showing of cranesbills, Centaurea, Jacob’s Ladder, Iris, Verbascum, Papaver orientale, Dicentra, Solomon’s Seal, Pulmonaria…… there is a bit of an hiatus until the Delphinium and other later flowering plants come on stage. The lacunae in the main border are now filled by Papaver somniferum. I have weeded out many young plants so those that remain to flower are very random. Happily I have an array of colours including doubles and ‘carnation-like’ flower heads. I plant out the contents of various pots that have been waiting in the wings. My last task is to thin out plants in the bed on the shady side of the garage and put remaining pots in shelter from intense sunlight. There has been rain so I am spared the chore of watering. We put the mouse and hare garden forks in a safe place and bid our evolving garden farewell.