July has been a bit of an odd month………not in a bad way, just a bit fuzzy!
A special couple of days away as I meet up with my sister to collect Aunty Teapot and take her on her last trip. We start in Kent in Teapot’s home town of Westgate-on-Sea before heading to Whitstable (also on the sea), then some time in Canterbury (with a visit to the Cathedral) before heading north…..we have a stop off in Essex at the lovely RHS garden at Hyde Hall where I leave my sister to come back to London…..my sister will carry on north to take Aunty Teapot to her final resting place in beautiful North Yorkshire.
Continuing with our challenge of having a low (or even no) spend year; today I’m tackling the tricky subject of gifting. I say tricky because gifting invariably involves other people……and they may not be on the same page as you regarding spending. Let’s get stuck in.
It’s the end of another hot week here in London…….so hot (40c/104F) it became a bit of a challenge…..fortunately I have had some good stuff to distract me!
It’s a beautiful summer morning and I am in the garden early to get myriad small jobs done…and the watering, of course, before the day gets too hot. The harvest basket is out…..as are my secateurs.
What a beautiful start to my day. I had decided that the best way to cope with a super hot day was to treat it like a day on holiday in the Med.
I woke early and could already feel it was going to be a hot day by the warmth of the breeze that was wafting across my bed. Dressing for a holiday day is a simple affair…..fling on a cool linen dress, sandals and a hat…..ready to go. Breakfast can be a treat bought on the way to the garden.
All was quiet on the street…..maybe folk are staying home today. The shops were all shuttered still except for the bakers …perfect…a croissant for breakfast……and the Turkish market which is open all night. The night staff squinting in the bright light as they stepped outside for a sneaky fag and a natter with their colleague who was just starting to set up the water melon stand.
It was a languid walk to the garden…..no hurry….enjoy….brush the crumbs off my frock….smile. Brush the crumbs off my chin. I bumped into so many friends coming in the opposite direction…’Morning Vivi, you off to the garden?’……’Morning Vivi, beautiful day isn’t it?’…….’Morning Vivi, you off to water?’…..’Morning Vivi, you’ve got crumbs on your chin’…..
By the time I got to the gate, the big chain which locks it was already hot to touch. Once through the gate there is a brief moment of shade and coolness from the trees before I step back into the bright light and the crunchy straw like grass underfoot. It is pin-drop quiet. Even the parakeets have ceased their chatter.
So hot already. So bright already. Yes, this feels like a holiday day. I can’t see anyone else at first…….but I can hear water tanks gurgling as they refill……I can hear cans clanging against the sides of the tanks. And then I start to see them……fellow gardeners lovingly pouring water on their precious plants……I don’t so much see them as see their hats bobbing up and down amongst the growth.
As I arrive in my garden cats start to appear from shady spots…..lazily stretching before they come to great me. They can hardly be bothered……I think the cats are having a holiday day too. They follow me to the shed then promptly flop on the grass and start snoozing again. They have the right idea. I sit for a while…….just looking, listening…..grinning. Yes, dear cats, we’re on holiday.
I take my time with the watering. I splash my feet a few times and it feels delicious. Sometimes I remove the roses from the cans and slip them into the pockets on my dress (a dress MUST have pockets)…..they leak a bit and make my pockets soggy……I can feel it on my thighs…it’s lovely and I think about filling my pockets with water….
I greet the pants as I water them and chuckle to myself to imagine them saying ‘thank you’ for the drink. They look happy. They are growing.
I pop the cans back in the shed and sit again, this time on the deck. I can see the hats are starting to leave. There are hands waving from behind bushes and a chorus of ‘bye Vivi, stay cool’….. I have the entire garden to myself. I don’t want to leave. I start counting butterflies on the lavender……I immediately lose count and laugh to myself.
But it’s getting hotter by the minute and I know I ought to go home. I step out of this beautiful, quiet, secret place and back into the High street……..the shops are all open now……folk are out and being busy before the real heat comes. Shopping bags are bursting….there’s a huge queue at the Post Office already……the flower stall is spreading it’s fragrance across the road…..and then the overwhelming fragrance of water melon. The water melon stall is doing a roaring trade…….I stand in the shade and watch for a few moments…….as fast as he can cut them into quarters and wrap them they are selling……water melon juice is trickling across the pavement……where the pavement comes out of shade the juice dries instantly. Black seeds on grey flagstones.
Yes, this feels like a holiday day. Later I shall read a little……or maybe snooze a little, a siesta……and as I drift off I shall picture fresh, juicy tomatoes and cool cucumbers……and imagine the taste of tangy feta…… Yes, I can be blissful even on the hottest of days
It’s that moment in the year I always really look forward to…..the first session of tomato cares! It really signifies summer and a slowing pace to me. I also chat today about when is the best time to water……and finish off with a little project I mean to do every year but never get around to.
Greetings from a scorching London! Today I’m sharing a few more ideas on reducing energy costs……it’s by no means exhaustive but hopefully there may be one or two things here you may not have thought of and can implement. But, first, how do I deal with this heat and no air conditioning?
Time flies! We’re entering the height of summer…….when everything should be growing away but……hahaha…I am still about 6 weeks behind. Never mind……..since the June tour three weeks ago there have been some changes…..and I (stubbornly!) remain optimistic!
Yay! I’m nearly at the end of the garden rescue! Today the mantra is “chuck it all in!”. Yes, it’s getting a bit late but……these plants don’t stand a chance if they’re left in their pots so I may as well chuck ’em all in the soil and give myself half a chance of a garden this year. Today it’s: courgettes, sweet peppers, tomatoes, parsnips, spinach, chard, beetroot and climbing beans. Phew!