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An ambitious plan

Updated: Jun 17

Presently we are in a period of uncertain weather, but I am not complaining. The temperature is quite warm, but it is cloudy and there are periods of rain. This is perfect ‘planting’ weather, and I intend to get as many companion plants in as possible. However, it is very tempting to weed as I go, and this does slow the process down. As usual there are many things going on in the McHugh household to distract me from my mission. Grandad is quite settled and contented at the moment, enjoying the peace and quiet of living alone again. I am having terrible trouble contacting the hospital about Jean because they do not pick up the phone. I’m sure this is because they are too busy and I do not want to take up their valuable time, but I have been told to call to find out about her next stage of treatment, but I continue to be unsuccessful. The family try to reassure me saying the hospital will call us if necessary, I know this is true but I still worry. Diane continues on her brave mission to advance decorating in the house, and today she tackles cleaning the very high beams in the lobby. There have also been serious family chats about how to approach sorting out Patrick’s office. He needs to build new shelves to store his past files more efficiently, this is tricky because his immense collection of files are in the way on the old shelving system. Now Aideen has completed her course (bar a few online orchestral classes) she is available to help. After much consultation and calculations of shelf space, we come up with a plan. Aideen is also coming outside to help me which is brilliant, today she starts to weed one of the big beds which will give us the space to plant the courgettes. Weeding this bed is not straight forward because it contains lots of self-seeded larkspur and some Californian poppies that I want to preserve as companion planting. I continue working in the brassica corner, I finish weeding the sprouts, weed the bed of swede and ‘dark maroon leaved’ Chinese cabbage and finished planting marigolds around these beds and the calabrese bed. I am beginning to understand what happens to the reptilian looking juvenile lady birds before they become adult ladybirds. I’ve seen several of them, motionless on leaves, with their bodies bunched up making them more similar to the ladybird shape…very intriguing.

At about 5pm Aideen and I are driven in by the rain and I decide to stay in to do some work on my latest project. This will probably seem like pure madness to everyone, but I’ve decided to write a book. Just to reassure people, I’m not planning on becoming the next Agatha Christie, this is something I’ve had in mind since writing the text for the guidebook. I kept diaries from the time that Patrick and I first purchased Church Gardens until we moved in two and a half years later. (After this, the twins were born and with three children under four, diary writing became impossible!). This was a very eventful time in the Church Gardens restoration story, the transition from derelict ruin to (reasonably) habitable home. I have often thought the diaries and photos would make a good book, that would probably appeal to our visitors. We can publish it ourselves and it might help to raise some money for the wall restoration. When lockdown began and my teaching work became impossible, I thought this is the ideal time to write the book. I then found my ‘hands rather full’ with rapidly increasing care duties for dad and Jean. Now things feel a little calmer with only one elderly person to look after, I thought I should make a start. My plan is to write steadily and pass it on to Aideen to type up…how did we manage when she was still at Guildhall? However, literary work might have to stop at any moment if we return to our previous caring arrangements and my ‘little book’ might remain a pipe dream!


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