The first of this year’s Black Russian tomatoes. Sadly, split rather badly, almost certainly a result of my having been away at my Mum’s for four days last week during our recent record-breaking temperatures! Still, it will make a welcome addition to my lunchtime chicken sandwich.
My much-loved welders’ gauntlets have finally given out. For over thirty years they’ve defended me against splinters, prickles and scratches – everything from pulling out brambles, via pruning roses, to putting uncooperative moggies into the cat-carrier for trips to the vet. But there’s an afterlife for the gauntlets, cut into strips for use as tree ties and similar, so I haven’t seen the last of them.
New ones ordered – they’ve come down in price a lot and now only £5.99, whereas I think I paid about £15 for these ones!
Various bits of lawn at my Mum’s are deliberately left un-mown for much of the summer, because they’re home to orchids. It’s a bit early yet for the Pyramidal and Bee orchids, but there are plenty of the Early Purples and other wildflowers.
Rather than its usual opening all at once, the ceanothus is has opened over a period of a fortnight or so. Some blooms are almost over, others yet to open … but this is probably it at its best. Still very few honeybees about – though there are a few bumbles, and decent scattering of the resident tawny mining bees from their nests in the concrete path.
This evening the first flowers have opened on the purple-podded snow pea. The plants seem quite happy on sticks a couple of feet high, so here’s hoping for purple pods in the near future!
This morning an NHS letter arrived, offering me an appointment for the heart clinic at the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch – a followup to the 24-hour ECG I wore in November. Sadly, it conflicted with the holiday on the Norfolk Broads, which this year is booked much earlier (June, rather than September), so I had to rearrange it.
Not as easy as it sounds! The phone number given on the appointment letter kept trying to make me use the online portal (which it said was given on the letter – it wasn’t), and then asked for the appointment reference (which it said was given on the letter – it wasn’t). I gave up, and went to the portal … which also asked for details not on the letter. It finally allowed me to sign in using my NHS account, and from there it was a ten-second job to rearrange things!
Now fixed for July 1st, though getting to the Alex may be a problem … there’s only one direct bus, which is very much under threat from Westminster-imposed cuts. Rail, or a succession of buses, don’t appeal, so it may have to be cabs both ways.
Some five years ago, I hand-pollinated an amaryllis flower with pollen from another amaryllis I had (since deceased). It worked, and there were seeds, which I sowed. They came up as little grass-like things, the best of which I kept and potted on.
I’m now down to four of them, which I water weekly on Sundays. To my astonishment and delight, this morning one of them is showing signs of a flower-spike – the first ever! I’ve no idea what it will be like (it may be horrid!) but after five years of waiting, I kinda hope it’s a nice one.
Opened this morning – Iris reticulata. It really get too damp in winter here for them to survive for more than a short time, but they’re a cheering sight so I buy a batch every couple of years.
Tree is now in and decorated, assorted cards stuck in the postbox, and I’m starting to feel as though I’m getting ready for Christmas (which is never one of my favourite times of year).
Over at my Mum’s. Clear skies but exceedingly chilly yesterday, so a fire was called for, and this morning there’s a sprinkling of white everywhere after overnight brief snow showers.