Laid low all summer

It wasn’t much of a summer.  Well, here it went from cold and dry to hot and dry to a bit of both.  Then when the rest of the country was saying “no more rain, please” we were saying, “no, more rain, please!”  It’s finally arrived, just as I’m fit enough to go outside and do some work again.

June was cold, but the garden still needed tending to keep it under control.  I had suffered from a niggling hip injury since February, and went and tore a muscle so that I could hardly move, let alone walk or garden.  I managed to pace myself to get my last bird surveys done, but they were slow (demonstrably so, as it’s a set route with start and end times. I took 25% longer than normal).  Then I started to feel a bit better, had a couple of train trips and went down with flu a couple of days afterwards.  That put paid to July.  Although as it turned hot, once I was out of bed I relaxed in my lounger if I could put it in the shade.

I managed to stick my head out of the back door mid-month in order to see a few shooting stars – thank you Perseids – and got back to playing golf in the last week of July.  Three games that I played very nicely in.  Relaxation is the key.  The last Sunday in July I got up from the sunlounger, caught my foot, and went down full length on the (hard) grass.  Ow, I thought, feeling my arm from tip to shoulder – and along my neck.  Seven weeks later and it’s pretty much better.  There are still some things I can’t lift at certain angles, but I played golf this week without having the key tendon/ligament lines taped, and it was ok.

I’ve done a few things in the garden if I could do it one handed, like sow winter lettuce, and eventually transplant them. I’d like to thank my neighbours for their kind help with numerous jobs around the house, ranging from grass cutting to gutter clearance!

I’ve had a simple run out in the garden for the guinea pigs, who have done their best to keep the grass under control.  It’s more complicated as they don’t all get on together, so they come out in relays.  They seem to enjoy it, though.  Most have been well, although Hector has had trouble with abscesses, a problem exacerbated by having to wait for me to be well enough to drive him to the vets.  I don’t think it made too much difference, though, since the vet gave me phone advice and I had the necessary medicines in already.

I rebelled in the last week of August though, and took my arm in its sling off for some holiday trips – north, south, east and west in Norfolk.  Well, I never did get east.  I had a great time visiting the North Norfolk Railway, Gressenhall, the Iceni Village at Cockley Cley, Grime’s Graves, Castle Acre, Creake Abbey and Titchwell.  The weather was very pleasant, and I felt like I’d really had a holiday.

Now the much-needed rain is here and I’m wondering how to recover my garden from it’s overgrown state.  Same way as last year, I expect, wait till it dies down in winter and pull out the unwanted stuff.  I’ve had good courgettes and beetroot, though, disapppointing beans, good chard and carrots, and I’ve kept up with picking caterpillars off my unnetted broccoli and kale.  The broccoli was a sacrificial crop anyway, to keep them away from the kale.  Only a partial success, I think.  Large whites definitely prefer the smooth broccoli, small whites don’t mind either.

But the winter veg is planned, and we should have plenty of fresh leaves to get us through, unless we have another big freeze.  I’ve got another log fire going today.  I hope it’s not a sign of things to come.

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