Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spring in autumn

Spring appears to have started in my garden. Actually it started a while ago when the Raggedy Jack kale went to seed. Kale is a bienniel so should flower the year after the seed is sown. With flowers this means you don't get a display until year two. With a 'cut-and-come' cabbage family member it means you get a year of cropping before the plant is finished. Still, not to worry. There are still plenty of leaves on these plants to pick for dinner, and I'll collect the seeds to sow again next year.

 More of a worry are the shrubs taking the warm weather to be permission for a show of petals. Down in the Hollow, where it's a little warmer, an azalea is about to come into flower:

The Pieris is putting on a real show.


And the Guelder Rose. Berries and flowers at the same time.

Joe mowed all the grass this week. It's still growing. But come the cold weather the flowers will all be killed. Hopefully there'll be a new batch next spring. On the positive side all this fine weather has allowed me to put the vegetable garden to bed. In the first photo you can see the black polythene on the bed behind the Raggedy Jack. This was the potato bed. A layer of muck, polythene on, and I can relax, knowing I won't be faced with a major weeding job in the spring. Polythene is no good in the ornamental garden. There it's just a matter of pulling away. The second you turn your back, of course, the buggers are back, even in the winter.

Some nice colours about:

This young beech has appeared on the other side of the river. Self-seeding is all the rage here.

The deer were getting into the Grove on a regular basis. They'd made a proper path for themselves through a small gap in the hedge, hopping over the barbed wire. There were little hoofprints across the garden, mostly on the grass but sometimes through the flower bed. Sometimes the hoofprints stopped at the picket fence that separates the garden from the car parking area. Up and over. No bother when you've legs that long full of springs. Other times they went down through what I fondly call the orchard but is usually referred to by the presence of the septic tank. I went down to PJ Mac's and bought some chicken wire, and Joe rigged up his own version of deer fencing:

No doubt they'll be strolling in another way. I'm already planning how to protect the young apple trees in the Hollow next spring.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Canal, teddy bear and Halloween newt

A London birthday weekend - my birthday this time. We were staying near the Regent's Canal again - oh joy for the walk from Shoreditch to Islington. Friday was a beautiful day. I didn't realise this photo had such great reflections - I was too busy looking at the boats and the willow tree.

Later we walked back the same way and were easily waylaid by a secondhand bookshop in a boat. Ok so it meant we had to wear another layer of clothing on the Ryanair flight home to offset the book weight but it was worth it. Here's the splendid craft (beyond the green narrowboat):

Joe had arranged for us to do a house swap, though our swapees have yet to come to us - they'll do that next spring. It was a perfect place for us - part of a terrace (Georgian?) in Shepherdess Walk, everything we needed, such a lovely house,  park behind,  canal at one end and buses at the other. And from the roof garden this was the view:

A highlight (apart from the canal) was the Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum. I hadn't realised what they'd done to the museum for the Millenium. This roof over the courtyard was stunning:

Called The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, the exhibition had Perry's own fantabulous pots and other pieces next to astonishing craftsman(woman?)ship from within the Museum.

Here's the motorbike Perry travelled round Germany on, with his teddy bear Alan Measles in the 'popemobile' at the back (I know, it sounds weird but it wasn't).

Unbelievable detail on Perry's pieces and those he chose. And I loved his descriptions and explanations of everything. So articulate and they really did make sense of a grown man travelling with his old teddy bear and dressing up as a little girl. Hmm. That sounds weird altogether but it wasn't.

The strangest exhibit, perhaps, was the delicate earring which I was admiring in its case. I read the information about it and realised it said there was a section of ear attached. The ear was very black due to age. This was not one of Perry's works.

A play at the Almeida in Islington on Friday - 'My City' by Stephen Poliakoff which got very mixed (read bad) reviews on the BBC review show but which we loved. They just didn't understand metaphor I think (says she disappearing up her own arse). It's always different when you go to a production knowing you have to appear on television or write something erudite (not that I have) than if you go following a good dinner with the expectation of having an interesting time.

We went to the Tate Modern but found we weren't in the mood - enough, I think, of exhibitions. But we did have a look, on the way there, at the protest outside St Paul's.

I'm glad to see the Church has come to its senses and is no longer stuck in confrontation and attempts at eviction. Whatever you think about the protesters methods, how can you call yourself a Christian and not support their arguments enough to at least get into a discussion with them.

We had dinner that night at Sabor, a South American restaurant in Islington. If you live near there and haven't been (oh all you Islington readers of my blog) then go! It was wonderful. Of course you wouldn't normally have the parade of Halloweeners passing the window in various stages of dismemberment/witchery/zombiedom. A newt went past at one stage (a newt? for Halloween? Surely they're hibernating by now). After the dinner I had a chocolate martini. It was that sort of night.