Very little has happened and it’s very tiring

This last few weeks have been very tiring though it seems very little has happened. We had a few lovely sunny days when the countryside was glorious and the birds shouted their appreciation. The dogs demanded the back door be kept open so they could wander in and out at will. Jacqui had a good run at the new area for the greenhouse polytunnel and the raised bed. I managed two good mowings, the first of which was by hand on the top in the orchard. The grass was only sown in March but is already strong and flourishing. One more cut with the lighter mower and I hope to be able to use the sit on machine. Much easier on the shoulders.

Half cut orchard
Tiny little Victoria plums

Everything is bedding in nicely and I was amazed to see tiny plums emerging on the Victoria Plum tree. We didn’t expect anything but a smattering of blossom this first year but several other trees and the raspberry canes are looking good too. It was so hot for a couple of days we had to water the trees in the wood and orchard. As the wood trees are in deep holes cut through the stony layers they are especially vulnerable before they get properly rooted. I am being vigilant and watching for any sign of wilting out there.

The rain came back with a vengeance last week so work outside was suspended. Jacqui had ordered the untreated timber for the raised bed and it was delivered just as the heavens opened again. We are very grateful for the new lean-to as the timber came in 16-foot lengths. We have been able to keep it under cover ready for cutting and setting in the next weeks. This should give us a bed of decent height for – ooh, asparagus! We had an allotment in Bridgwater about 35 years ago and were almost ready to harvest our first asparagus when we had to move. We’ve been waiting a long, long time for another try. The base of the bed is now ready with layers of cardboard and a thick bed of straw, which was abandoned and scattered around us. No gifts refused!

Cynthia being nursed

Much of the last 10 days have been taken up with nursing one of our dogs. Cynthia, the middle dog – daughter and mother – had a very nasty tummy on and off for some time. Tests showed no cause, nor did an ultrasound. Then Jacqui woke early one morning to find her frozen, staring and almost catatonic. A trip to the emergency vet (our own practice but on 24 hr call) helped her a little. Then we had another ultrasound later in the week. Louise, our regular vet, diagnosed a bad neck/back strain and we came away with 3 types of painkillers, antibiotics for the stomach and Valium to keep her calm if necessary.

The poisoned dinner

She refused to even touch the powdered pills in her food, preferring to starve rather than be poisoned. She actually picked through the bowl, lifting out bits of scrambled egg and dropping them on the floor neatly. We resorted to a syringe of mixed liquid painkiller and pills whilst wrapping her neck in a towel to limit mobility that could make her neck worse. She’s recovering now and shows much more of her old self. The bad stomach remains a mystery however. As the land is still waterlogged but a huge amount of slurry spreading is still going on, we were worried about water pollution. The samples came back negative for e-coli but I’m exploring more testing options. We didn’t need the Valium for her though I was tempted to have a couple myself on occasions. Jacqui says I’d have to fight her for them but I know where they are!

We were very lucky to get our plumber back after such a busy season for him. The rain has caused a lot of problems and he’s been overloaded with work but found a couple of days for us. Now we have an updated bathroom with a toilet that doesn’t wobble around and a new heated towel rail that’s not hanging off the wall. We also have a new kitchen tap that runs at a constant temperature and doesn’t turn off at a whim. Luxury.

All excited – last year

This has been the season for the Tour of Italy – the Giro. I love the cycling and it is a good space to crack on and get a lot of the ironing done as I watch on the TV. This year however I’ve almost lost interest. There’s been little real competition for the win as one rider has mopped up almost a third of the stages. It comes to something when the sprint stages are the most interesting. I hope the Tour de France is better but as this “unbelievable” (quoted from the commentators) superman will be riding I rather doubt it.

Even the snails hide from the rain

Well, looking back, I guess quite a lot has happened so it’s not surprising we are so tired. I thought retirement was supposed to be a chance to rest and enjoy different things. We are certainly doing different things and learning new things. There’s always something that needs our attention or is ready for the next stage. I guess that’s really just life and we are lucky to spend it here. The trees, the land, the birds and wildlife are a daily delight.

Hoping for fine weather for all and a happy bank holiday for my UK readers.
Thank you for reading. See you in a couple of weeks.