Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Good news

Well, fairly good news. When I got out of bed this morning it was raining. Now, given this country's reputation for being wet that might not sound exactly like good news but here in Brighton we have had no rain at all for ten days. And then it was just a bit in the morning, soon over, and a very light shower in the evening. This morning's rain didn't last very long either. We do really need rain. Already crops are failing for lack of it and the soil in the garden is like rock where it isn't just dust. It means I am having to put the hose on the vegetables just to keep them alive and growing - and that doesn't do my water bill any favours. It also means the vegetables I do grow are getting more and more expensive.

I have been toying with the idea of giving up growing vegetables. These days I find my back dislikes the digging and weeding involved - another of the disadvantages of getting older. What I would like to do, I think, is plant a small orchard. Actually, what I would really like to do is own a large-ish orchard. I like the idea of fruit trees spaced properly apart so that they can grow to their natural size, unlike so many commercial orchards, with the grass beneath being cropped by sheep.

A psychoanalyst would probably decide that this "wish" of mine is really a subconscious desire to return to the womb or some such. You see, I was born and brought up in Kent when that county was still known as the Garden of England on account of its orchards and hop fields. Although we lived in the town of Gillingham, orchards weren't far away. Indeed, there was one hill only a few miles distant which afforded a 360 degree view, all over cherry orchards. In the spring, anyone standing on that hill could imagine himself standing on top of clouds as there were billows and mounds of white blossom all around. One of my oldest memories is of going to the nearby village (as it was then) of Rainham and taking the footpath running along the side of the churchyard. Immediately behind the churchyard was an orchard (I don't remember what fruit) with sheep grazing. Whether it was right to do so or not, we would sometimes take bread (yes, bread) to feed the lambs. I'm not sure they appreciated the food on offer, but they were tame enough to come and investigate.

Well, even though the rain has stopped now I shan't have to use the hose today as I expected to. That will give me more time to print out Lions Charter Night menus.

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