25 Jul 2015

Seven Days



This time last week I was sitting at my computer in a right old blue funk. Thankfully, since then, my week has got a lot better - apart from one tiny blip of the caterpillar kind.

So why the frustration?  My local borough has an annual gardening competition. After much pondering and loathing of form filling, I decided to enter with about 8 hours to go before the deadline. The prize (should I be so lucky) is garden centre vouchers and I'd like more fruit trees. I like to do things thoughtfully so this online process (answers and photos) took a chunk out of my day.  And then at 7.14 pm (deadline midnight) and just before I'd pressed SUBMIT, the form closed down taking my application with it!  Too tired to start again that night, I gave a big sigh and started over on the Saturday morning. Just in case.



Following that dismal Friday night, Saturday was a fresh slate.  My son was working at a festival over the weekend with late shifts; in his absence, I was able to eat delicious vegetarian meals (he's a carnivore) and just relax in the evenings. Normally there's a steady stream of his friends coming and going. While it's always lovely to see them, bobbing up and down answering the doorbell is not conducive to calm.

On Monday, I spoke to the organisers of the gardening competition and was told that my entry/ies would be accepted. (The first one survived the shut down with a bit of searching.) Apparently I wasn't the only one gnashing my teeth on Friday evening. Some discussion ensued as to which category my entry should go in - environmental, individual or community - and whether each collage of photos, above, counted as one of my three images or was, in fact, bucking the system. The latter, I think. Still, no points for not trying.

Serendipity continued to flow on Tuesday when an elegant and totally fabulous bouquet arrived. This was my prize as a runner up in a Pinterest competition to win tickets to RHS Hyde Hall flower show. At times like that, I'm pleased to not be first.  Anticipating something from Interflora, I toyed with the idea of sending the bouquet elsewhere. (I don't like the idea of hothouse flowers imported from another continent.) So glad I didn't - this package was a visual treat from the moment it arrived. A slim elegant box opened to reveal carefully picked and packed roses, lisianthus (new to me), eucalyptus and limonium with a card giving tips on arranging and care of the flowers. + a relevant quote hidden under the flowers. Gorgeous.



Wednesday was City Farm day. I'd taken a couple of small children to see the brand new piglets; they (the pigs, not the children) were huddled together asleep in a far dark corner so we were thwarted.  Instead, we were invited into a new visitor pen to stroke and feed some goats which was much more interactive and fun with both children coming away glowing from the experience.

Thursday. Aaah, lovely Thursday. I was up early to go to the passport office on my son's behalf (he's away at yet another festival).  On the return journey the train could take me no further than Camden Town. Walking the rest of the way, I discovered the Oxfam bookshop in lower Kentish Town. I can't resist a bargain and the first thing I saw was a Carol Klein veg book for £2 which I'd been about to order on Amazon. How lucky was that!  I picked up several other books but had to limit myself to five, bearing in mind the walk ahead of me. (Even that was a stretch!)



And the day got better: in the afternoon, as I set about starting to prune the plum trees, I made an amazing discovery.  High up in the centre of the tree, I have a plum. Yes, just the one, a big fat beast of a fruit.  I searched the trees for any more but no. Just one.  Still, it would be churlish to chop the tree down now, wouldn't it?



The rest of the day was spent weeding, deadheading, planting … and picking off about 30 caterpillars from my brassicas. Rather obviously, these were Large Cabbage Whites and Small Cabbage Whites. No, I didn't net - a lesson learned too late. They also like nasturtiums so had landed in the perfect spot. Although the damage looks dreadful, I think the plant should be okay, especially if I keep an eye out from now on!  (Four more had appeared by Friday morning.)



And so to Friday. With the promised heavy rain in my thoughts, I started in the garden very early and managed three hours of planting, picking and tidying before the rains started properly.  The water butts are all but empty so I absolutely relished the continuous steady downpour of water, soaking into the ground. That should keep the plants happy for a while. I believe we're in for another dose on Sunday which to my mind will be excellent.

+ to bring the week full circle, I was contacted late afternoon on Friday by the organisers of the aforementioned gardening competition with the news that my garden has been shortlisted!  I'll be receiving a judging visit next Friday which is a bit scary - although lovely Chris Collins, the ex-Blue Peter gardener, will be with the Mayor and other judges. I think I'll still be nervous though.

24 comments:

  1. What a week. Let's hope it all leads to a happy ending!

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    1. Yes, it was pretty action packed - even for me! I'm not getting my hopes up about a win in the competition - I'm sure others will have much more impressive gardens - but it's still nice to be shortlisted.

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  2. Ooh, how exciting, and well deserved after all the form filling horror. I'm wishing you the very best of luck. Great book bargains, I love Oxfam book shops. CJ xx

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    1. Oh how I loathe filling in forms. My brain just shuts down so it was an effort to think of appropriate answers.Thanks for sending lucky thoughts but we'll see; I don't like to get my hopes up. Finding the books was great and probably just as well I was walking as there were several titles I reluctantly returned to the shelves. Although I may have to put in a more regular visit there (and find some more bookshelves!) Cxx

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  3. Glad to hear you still managed to get in despite the glitch, and a nice rest of the week too! Good luck on the competition!

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    1. I think many others got locked out too soon as well so the organisers were duty bound to accept late entries. Just as well because, next year, I might have just run screaming to the hills! Thanks for good luck - fingers crossed, eh?

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  4. What a week! The collage idea is the sort of thing I do too and often get away with it. It works well on eBay. It seems everyone is getting a heavy rainfall except for us. Maybe today.

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    1. Yes, hopefully a calmer week ahead, although I'll probably now be tidying the garden like mad. I keep telling myself that a garden is never finished although the Friday judging has been a good catalyst for finishing a number of odd jobs that needed doing! Hope you got the rain you wanted, Sue - have a good week!

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  5. Well done and a good example of stuff happens and some of it annoying and some of it good. Yes full water butts weather. https://backlanenotebook.wordpress.com/

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  6. Sounds quite a serendipitous week (apart from the caterpillars). Wishing you lots of luck in the competition. Let us know how you get on.

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    1. Some weeks are like that and make you feel invincible. I wish they'd happen more often! Thanks for good wishes and I'll certainly report back, whatever the outcome! :o)

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  7. It sounds as if you had many "good" moments through your week! Hope it continues this week and all goes well for your visit. I'm sure they will be very impressed with the garden.
    Sarah x

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. A surprising amount of work was done prior to the judging visits and it seemed to go well but I have to wait until the end of August for news. :o) x

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  8. Oh gosh!!! How EXCITING to have been shortlisted!!! Good luck with that! Your week sounds heavenly, except for the caterpillars of course....the books are a fab find, and the roses a real treat. And of course you can't chop the plum tree down now!!!xxx

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    1. Being shortlisted was both thrilling and a bit scary. I suddenly looked at the garden and thought, crikey, what a mess! There's been lots of weeding and planting and watering going on so, hopefully, it will be alright on the day. The plum tree has definitely earned a reprieve as I've since spotted a few more plums - I think I may have about four now!

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  9. Wow, what a week! Well done on being shortlisted and on finding those Oxfam bargains. What do you think of Carol Klein's book? I'm tempted by it but I already have quite a few on the subject.

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    1. I know, lots happening! Thankfully this past week has been a lot quieter, one day rolling into the next. I think Carol Klein's book is excellent; I had it on loan from the library and found myself constantly referring to it even though I've been growing veg for years. I've also got way too many books on a variety of gardening topics but I think this book has a good layout, is really easy to read and has lots of good advice.

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  10. Good luck with the competition!

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    1. Thanks Damo! Much appreciated! I know you'll appreciate how entering competitions can be both challenging and fun. Nice to have good wishes from everyone. Cx

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  11. A busy week one way and another. Good for you for entering that competition, and good luck.
    Happy reading. Flighty xx

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    1. Yes it was a roller coaster of a week, thankfully the past week has been a bit calmer, albeit with lots of gardening to get the garden ready for judging. I just now need some more time for reading! C xx

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  12. what a wonderful post! reading about your week - ups and downs - has made me smile - so many lovely moments in your life. i'm stuck int at mid-winter office workers rut right now!
    good luck with the competition!

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  13. Good luck with the competition. At least you now have some excellent reading to help you relax after such a varied and at times, frustrating, week.

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  14. Another new (to me) blog, hello Carol and thank you for your lovely comment. What a week you had but tempered with lots of good things. Good luck with the judging which I think is due today. I remember Chris Collins from when my children watched Blue Peter and I seem to recall he is a good egg!

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Caro x

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