I had a long, glorious (messy, painful*) afternoon in the cottage’s garden.** I’m still (just about) in that delightful if self-deluding phase early in the gardening year when you think you’re going to get it RIGHT this year. I was hacking back and clearing out and tying up and rearranging ( . . . pots) like someone who (a) had a clue and (b) had a prayer.
However I have discovered a new use for knitting—I mean a new little irritating waste of time yarned over by having some needles handy: waiting while the frelling watering can fills. Arrrgh. The drought and the evil wind continue, although the evil wind is subsiding, having knocked down my delphiniums and petal-shredded my roses.*** The back garden is so—ahem—densely planted that it is a kind of self-mulching situation, and I have to water every damn thing in a pot slightly less often than you might think. And watering the back is fairly straightforward: I leave the tap running into the plastic half-barrel and run back and forth with cans. It’s a lot of work—and BOOOOORING—but it’s easy.
The front of the house including the two stairs have to be watered every day because it’s all individual pots on pavement and the cul de sac the cottage is on tends to be a bit of a wind tunnel the way the little inter-house space behind my greenhouse is a major if miniature wind tunnel. There is no way to do this watering gracefully. I can use the same tap-and-water-barrel system except it involves running around the house, through two gates and the greenhouse, which is a dangerous obstacle course when you’re carrying heavy watering cans, and down the side steps, which are steeper than the front-door steps and railing-free. The alternative is to carry watering cans through the house—the tap and plastic barrel are at the kitchen door—across the kitchen floor, which (somehow) invariably means mud and water all over the kitchen floor as well as negotiating two doors and a hellhound gate and the hellhounds themselves, who find the process interesting. ARRRGH. And the alternative to that is to fill one nice clean lives-under-the-kitchen-table watering can, easily manipulated because you still have a hand free, at the indoor tap in the kitchen sink. It takes a little longer but there is (generally) less bad language. This would be the preferred method but for the BOOOOOREDOM of standing there waiting for the tap to fill.
I don’t wait any more! And I get a row of hellhound blanket done about once every two cans! It’s a brilliant system!
* * *
* Souvenir (de la Malmaison, the demon-curst) managed to stick me in the forehead with such unrestrained glee that I had blood pouring into that eye—it stings—and when I got indoors to clean it off I was too filthy to go upstairs where there’s a mirror over the sink and it still took me several minutes to get my hands sufficiently scoured at the kitchen sink to deal with the situation—by which time I had said YAAAAAH and simply put my head under the tap, which then meant I had a wet sweatshirt to get out of. . . .
** Barring an embarrassing little visit from Niall. I’m learning Cambridge minor on handbells, right? Ewwww. Gruesome. Bell methods break down into leads, which are, at least in all the methods I’m ever going to ring, defined by when the treble gets back to the front and, er, leads. As you’re struggling with a ratbag method, you will be getting a little farther and a little farther into it before you inexorably break down and have to start over. At some point it would be very helpful not to have to go back to the beginning every time. But—woe, woe—the iPhone bell ap won’t let you start anywhere but the beginning. Anguish.^ So, trembling with dread and loathing, I fired up the big-daddy full-computer bell programme—which I have never got on with, but it lets you start at any lead you like—on my laptop and . . .
It refused to work.
So I emailed Niall, who said he could stop by on his way to ring another handbell peal in Havisham Wedlock or some such outlandish place this evening and sort it out.
And the frelling bell programme worked perfectly. We didn’t do anything different than what I’d done earlier!^^ He did show me how to start on different leads however.^^^
^ And brickbats to the designer. Who I’m going to argue with about this.
^^ It was probably just responding to the presence of someone who has rung hundreds of hours on its clone. Which means when I try it again. . . .
^^^ But see previous sub-footnote.
***This sort of thing always reminds me of opening our garden on the National Garden Scheme at the old house: Weather Terror was always extreme, since—say—an unseasonable (but perfectly possible) hailstorm the day before an opening could totally wreck your garden. I love delphiniums, and they are fabulous with roses, but they are so fragile. And even the tough stuff is not going to be looking its best after several tons of ice crystals the size of quadruple-ought buckshot have been dumped on it.
Please join the discussion at Robin McKinley's Web Forum.