Picking up the pieces…slowly.

I had planned on jotting down some thoughts about England and stress and 21st century life under the capitalist system this week, but as relevent as that all seemed on the boat back from Blighty daily life has distracted.

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I got back to discover that Hal in my absence had done a blinding job. Incredible. Feckless ? Feck not. A second sowing of haricots à rames (first lot were an offering the the great mouse in the sky…), thistle corner cleared, regular picking done, weeds held at bay, celariac planted out – The only cock-up was letting Paul lend a hand one evening, where he promptly weeded out the parsnip seedlings hmmm…lesson learned ? Don’t let a geek in yer garden without strict supervision. It’s a good job he’s done such a sterling job on the new song, couldn’t be cross if I tried. Only wondering if I’m too late to get another sowing in ?

A major preoccupation this week has been the realisation that with bumper harvests looking likely for many of the crops, preserving and conserving season will soon be upon us and so to that end preparation has begun in earnest. We’ve attacked the terrace kitchen extension, adding work surface and an oven. The plan being to move all cooking activities entirely out of doors – making it possible, if the urge were to sweep us up, to begin the much needed house kitchen renovation. Well, we won’t count our chickens, but the idea is there. The improvements to the exterior will make life a lot simpler and put an end to me running between the two spaces looking for lost dishes, pots, knives….and it also means we now have a much improved space for filming the cookup vids, planned to begin very soon.

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Another urgent job this week has been cleaning up, refilling and hanging the wasp traps. With all this beautiful weather we’ve been having, the little bleeders are out in force. I’ve already been got once and swell at the very thought so in a bid to reduce the summer consumption of antihistamines and steroids have tried to jump the gun – timely intervention methinks as they’re already well occupied just a couple of days later .

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shove some pipe into holes in an old water bottle, some string around the neck….
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fill with saturated sugar water, add colour if you fancy, tighten the lids…
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hang up and watch the deevils swarm….

They’re simply made, upcycling at its best. The idea came to me from my brother who’d seen them in action in mexico – that was a few years back now so they’ve been well tested and really do work. The beauty of these little beasts is their weatherproofness (is that even a word?) no refilling, just a steady stream of wicked, waspy visitors. I’ve jazzed them up a bit this year with a spot of food colouring, I was wondering if any colour was particularly attractive – but as the yellow ones look a little too much like urine samples and will shortly be turned red it’s a bit early to say.

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Anther nice suprise this week was a dawn tour of the woods . Our beech, chestnut and oak woodland sits on a northfacing hillside, overgrown and treacherous, and until now seen by us as nothing more than a rather inconveniently placed source of wood. Till now that is. During the absence of his girls our boy moved in – with a vengeance, he’s been slashing and burning, cutting paths and clearings and wow…freed of the constraints of staring at ones feet whilst clinging to dead wood one begins to see how very beautiful a space it is and how much more so it could become. We’ve discovered the hugest hawthorn, rivaling the supposed oldest tree in France in St Mars La Futais (also a hawthorn), an enormous x made of giant beech, craters and hollows that call to mind the bombardements so harshly felt around here…so many possibilities, and so few hours in the day, argh…

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Well that was some of my homecoming. I’ve also had some good animal love, eaten fabulous food, got back to work in the garden with a much needed morning in the greenhouse and slept on the terrace. The fire is alight under the big bath as I write, and I plan on having a good hot soak when I get back tonight, the sky is beginning to clear and I hold out every hope for a starry, starry night to light my way.

We had a really fabulous holiday, but right now I couldn’t be feeling luckier or gladder to be home.

À la semaine prochaine,

mandy x

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