Sunday, May 1, 2022

frost..., planting the last of the spuds, the tenant of wildfell hall, who's this?, country memories, the land, james ravilious


Should have kept my mouth shut. The very next morning after I last posted, there was a frost...

Isn't that so gardening? You brag about flowers or your crops and wallop, there's a swarm of aphids or a burst blight... Or a late April frost.

Hopefully it won't have done too much damage to the apple and pear blossom but...!

The frost did look amazing, though, on the lawn and leaves, in the dawn sunlight. And the rest of yesterday was gorgeous.

Planted the last of the spuds in the afternoon - just Maris Peer, Desiree, Nadine and Nicola this year. And, just as I was stowing the potato dibber, I realised that I'd not taken a photo of it - last year's will have to do. Not that it was that easy to use this time, with the ground rock hard and as dry as anything. The sides crumbled into the hole and help was needed from a trowel.

This morning, I finished The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It's taken, what, about a year? With a gap in the middle, when I read other things. Loved it. Felt sad to be leaving that world after all that time. Wish I had the leisure, nevertheless, to read these big Victorian blockbusters in only a few days. It's not simply that you keep wondering, Who is this person?, when you read them over months - well, I do nowadays. Thank goodness for Kindle search and online 'cheat' notes for school kids. It's that read in a short space, you get that amazing sense of immersion and energy. Mind you, it's great to have any time to read.

Just before going to sleep, I've been reading poetry. Over past week's it's been Vita Sackville-West's The Land. Wonderful! It is a bit weird when she goes off on one, about things that obviously mean a lot to her but which seem a bit impenetrable now. But brilliant when she evokes the countryside and tasks like ploughing and threshing.

I'm old enough to remember the countryside when it was something not too dissimilar to the one she describes - the old ways persisted into the 60s, even into the early 80s, when I was a junior land agent, spending time in south Shropshire and deepest Herefordshire. Sackville-West's poetry brings back those memories. As do the photographs of James Ravilious.