Tuesday, September 7, 2021

harvests, shropshire wedding!, holidays, apples, uncertain times...


An unbelievable harvest - one of so many this summer. None of it much to do with us. We just sowed, planted and watered. The heavy old clay allotment soil, which we often malign (so much more tricky than the free-draining loam-over-gravel in the garden) did the rest!

A lovely late-summer break.

A Shropshire wedding to start it off - the apprehension of a gathering, then the sheer joy of seeing old friends and being there to celebrate!

The rest of the time, long walks with our dog, some meals out and lots of reading.

Oh, and apples. The Lord Lambournes are nearly done, the James Grieves are as giving as ever. About to start the Coxes. Later, the Blenheim Oranges and Charles Rosses.

Holding our breath, as we enter this difficult next phase of unlocking, back to normal, or whatever unsatisfactory metaphor one chooses, but at least there have been some happy days.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

first lord lambourne


First of our most recently planted apples. A Lord Lambourne. 

Luckily, we spotted that the one next to it had gone rotten. This one was a little mushy - on the far side - but still delicious. Refreshing, crunchy, subtly tasty. Though the variety is said to be strong flavoured, so perhaps the rot had some effect.

Parentage is James Grieve, which we've been growing for some years, and Worcester Pearmain. Imagined it was a local - west Berkshire - variety but then realised our spelling mistake (Lambourn). In fact the variety was bred by Laxtons Brothers Ltd in Bedford in 1907.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

barley field in july, the spiders, the limits of thought, mental sleights of hand, abundant cucumbers, nearing the end of the maris peer


Three photos taken between 30th June and 22nd July, showing the story of a barley field in west Oxfordshire. While I love the idea of harvest, I can't help worrying for the spiders. Just as I worry for the insects when I strim grass on the allotment. Not that I stop strimming... I suppose the mind gives up on such contemplations. They are too boggling and disturbing.

In the meantime, the trimmed paths of the allotment surround generous plants. Abundant runner beans - and never have we had so many cucumbers! I love J's cucumber soup! Today I dug half of the remaining Maris Peer earlies. Not as firm as last year's crop but certainly delicious!

Saturday, August 7, 2021

wake-up bike ride, rain on the way?, blackcurrants and tea


Sun-still-low-on-the-horizon wake-up bike ride earlier.

Doubt the weather will last though.

Now, some chores done, blackcurrants and tea and catching up with Open Country.

Friday, August 6, 2021

brisk, central oxford (not far off)


Brisk walk earlier in the week at lunchtime.

Through the Parks and over the rainbow bridge.

Astonishing that this view is ten minutes from Oxford's city centre.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

a while, making time, healing, the excitement of reading!, newness within the old traditions, pyramidal orchid, abundant veg


It has been quite a while since I posted last.

Not long after the late June one, we took a week off, part of it spent in Wiltshire (deep in the countryside - deep space). It was there that I realised how exhausted I was after the academic year. A kind of depletion that I've not known that frequently - and I'm thankful for it. After Oxbridge, certainly. After I'd found a new job, having been made redundant. You keep going, respond to all the demands. It's when the pressure eases that you are walloped.

So, I've continued to work but I've also tried to make as much time around that for myself and J and for healing.

I've found reading therapeutic - including the beautiful, involving, shocking, universal The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. I've not yet finished it but I read at every opportunity. It's so good to find a novel like that. It reminds me of the excitement of reading that made me want to study literature and to write fiction myself.

For a time, as mentioned in the previous post, I had to stop walking because I hurt my foot (I had a relapse too). That was a challenge. But now, after a few weeks of walking and cycling again, I'm feeling much better.

I've started walking the route I rediscovered in June again - it's one that I think I avoided because of the memories of walking it with Tufty.

The photo of the pyramidal orchid was taken on this walk back in June - there are quite a few catch-up photos to be posted. I only ever saw the one plant in the old water meadows but one was plenty of itself!

One of the biggest delights recently was taking our new dog on this walk for the first time. Newness within the old traditions. Completely reinvigorating.

In the garden, things have shot away, what with all the soakings. Amazing lilies - and flowering rushes - in the pond. Lots of apples, including some fruits on the new trees for the first time. Blackcurrents from the allotment, and scrumptious firmishly-skinned and buttery-inside broad beans. Fulsome spuds and first courgettes and runners. The allotment is not pretty, what with the weeds and so little opportunity to pull them in between downpours, and some crops have failed, but overall, much that is abundant and delicious!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

toe, first walk, so good!, hemlock, bittersweet, end of term, end of year, chilly


Toe injury put paid to walking for over a week. So good to be out in the fields again today!

Hemlock thick in places. Bittersweet more discreet.

End of Oxford Trinity Term today. End of the 2020-21 academic year. Like no other, but we got through it! Not that all courses are respecters of academic years. Creative Writing ones often never stop.

Chilly today - log fire. Couldn't have imagined that a week ago.