A very sad day
Diane has desperately been trying to find out what has happened to the horses by posting messages on our 'village voice' website. A disturbing response has come back suggesting the owners have destroyed the horses. We are horrified by this news and Diane and I shed many tears, whilst trying to work outside, trying to prepare for our garden visit, tomorrow. I had got up at 6:00am to try and make up for work not done yesterday. I start by clearing the terribly overgrown raised bed adjacent to the polytunnel. This bed has our original vine at one end, and the horseradish at the other end - both of these plants are rampant monsters! Also the horseradish must be related to the brassicas, because it is a 'magnet' for cabbage white caterpillars, in-between these 'giants' are rhubarb and blueberries. The Rhubarb has reached gigantic proportions, I've never seen such big leaves. This has had serious consequences for the blueberries which were growing at the back of the border behind the rhubarb. They have become completely covered, resulting in them being starved of water and light - its a miracle that they have survived. After removing the weeds I clear a decent section next to the horseradish and I move all the blueberries into this spot. Before planting I sit them in a tub of water and cut them back, hopefully this will be their final resting place! I then attack the vine at the end of the path, cutting it back extensively and removing a huge bramble and some enormous nettles that were growing within it - I am quite stung and scratched as a result.
After this I move on to some more civilised weeding - the four little apple tree beds at the top of the garden which I weed and plant with my remaining geraniums. I then attack the pea bed, which is a job everyone has been avoiding. It is very overgrown and it is difficult to 'weed' because it is easy to accidentally pull out the peas. This crop of peas is very disappointing in comparison to the first crop - only a few have survived and their growth is poor. However, the soya beans at the end of the bed are doing very well and have produced quite a lot of beans already. Finally I weeded the leek bed which was full of seedling borage. Poor Diane is very upset and distracted all day, unsurprisingly, and she has arranged to meet up with a couple who had also been concerned with the welfare of the horses and had been bringing them water as well. Shortly before we meet them she receives a brief message indicating that the horses are safe.
This is obviously an enormous relief, but the whole episode has caused great anxiety and it is impossible to verify what has actually happened. She is still worried but now we are at least hopeful the horses are still alive. This is a national problem with horses- it is common for horses to be left randomly on private land to fend for themselves - it is time that the situation was addressed by official bodies.
Aideen goes to visit Janet (James' mum) for a 'cake making' lesson which is very useful as later she returns with four cakes (coffee and walnut, lemon drizzle, chocolate and fruit cake) which we can use for the garden visit tomorrow, this is brilliant because it saves me from a late night baking session! At the end of the day, there is a heavy downpour, so I retreat to the polytunnel to tidy it up and weed the central border, until it is too dark to see!