Saturday, 9 August 2008

Just say the word

Post something, anything..., says Robin... and so I finally charged the batteries of my ancient digicam today, intending to take pictures of the garden (even though it is raining so hard right now I can hardly see it) and the ridiculous varieties of obscenely shaped squash that are appearing day by day (seriously, one of those is at least half a metre long now, and growing fast, and another looks as though it could be the mothership for an alien nation; I keep expecting it to develop flashing lights and spin off the vine). But... plugged the newly charged batteries into the cam, and... nada. Not a peep, not a squeak, nothing. Grrr. So the post that was going to be lots and lots of pictures (once again), is (once again) just me and my words.

Rain is good for the garden. It's great. It's wonderful. Thank you all you heavenly entities for your watery bounty. But please, stop it now, okay? I've gone through several sets of clothes today picking beans (why, why, why do the English keep planting runner beans, I mean does anyone actually (hand on heart) like them?) - runners, yellow flats and purples -; the said squash (10 in the fridge right now (despite making clear-the-fridge soup earlier), another 10 in a basket); a huge bouquet of rainbow chard... and don't even start me on the kale, or in fact the sweet peas (which went mad when I was in London the last couple of days and exploded into a riot of heady, blowsy colours - the hussies). I got my salad in and washed at 6am, so that's something.

No, I'm not really complaining. All this bounty is such a gift right now; I really am more or less self sufficient, and it's great. But the quantity is daunting. And rain puts me in such a bad mood. I had planned to cook for friends tonight and had the menu sorted in my head (I was going to roast squash and runner beans and chard stems; steam the chard leaves, dress with garlic and lemon juice; bake tomatoes with herbs; I baked aubergine earlier as per previous blog entry in anticipation thereof; mix a garlicky yoghurty dip with my beloved and as yet ungiven up Total 0%; and they were going to have pork) and I grumpily, when asked if really sure, cancelled on them (actually while typing this I was stricken with guilt and phoned and uncancelled if they still want to put up with me). But my GOD this rain... the kind of rain that makes you feel damp just looking at it, you know?

Plus I am on leave from work this coming week. And it's August. I want to chill in my garden in the sun with books and pink wine and laze around with friends and see my mother in her lovely little Devon town on the Exe Estuary and vicariously eat seafood with my wonderful friends who are visiting her with me (if I haven't wrecked said friendship with my moany bitchy oh-god-I-hate-rain grump).

Still, me time is good too. And the house is a pit and needs tidying badly. So I must look at the weather as a blessing in a soggy disguise.

CRON - ah. I think we can probably take it as read that this isn't a CRON blog any more, not right now. I'm not using COM at all; just doing my usual, lots and lots and lots and lots of veggies (right now beans, squash, chard, salad leaves, tomatoes, occasional aubergine), non-fat yoghurt; trying to work my way through a cheese mountain that seems to have accumulated in a tupperware in my fridge from various neighbours. Cheese is so yummy. Mmm, cheese. Mmm, sheepy cheese. I am pretty sure I'm not too far off hitting most nutritional bases though; I reckon I'd be 90% without even trying on vitamins and minerals if I did attempt to log what I'm eating. But I don't think that yellow blistered squash comes into the USDA database. :-)

I'm looking out at the garden right now - do you know, I think it might have stopped raining? - and it looks like September or later. The sweet peas I was training up the side of my horrible lean-to shed have flopped over under the weight of water; the golden rod is tumbling hap-hazardly over the steps, twining its dirty golden flowers with the last of the lavender; the black-eyed susans are budding, their stems whipping in the growing wind; my basils are flowering and so is the chervil, delicate fronds and fat leaves that would smell like heaven if the sun came out. I can hear the leaves of the ancient oaks and chestnuts at the back rustling like fall, and the sky is a heavy, laden slate grey. The church bells have just stopped pealing; a practice, a summoning, a rememberance, or a wedding I don't know (I suspect not the latter). My once-christened BBQ is full of water, and the tin buckets that we used for flower arrangements for the wedding are plinking and plunking with each drop that falls in. It's hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago we had a garden party and people were hiding in the borders, clutching their icy flutes of fizz, because the sun was so strong and so hot. I guess that is an English summer.