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James’ Birthday

6 JUNE 2020


When I went outside this morning I went straight to the sweetcorn beds to see how they were faring. Depressingly, more plants had been knocked down by the wind, and even more frustratingly some of the ones already staked had still collapsed. It is very hard to stake sweetcorn because the plants are basically like large grasses… where do you put the string so it doesn’t slip down? Some of the plants now have two or three pieces of string trying to splint them to their canes. Sometimes it does feel like you are fighting a losing battle, especially when later in the day we have a heavy thunderstorm with hail! It is at times like this that you are reminded what an insignificant speck on the planet you are as a human, when faced with just a fraction of nature’s muscle power! You can imagine what the sweetcorn looked like after the storm… another dozen plants down and everyone of them splashed with mud and another lot needing extra ties. Meave tries to cheer me up by reminding me about last years crop which was brilliant, so I will persevere… we do all love sweetcorn!

It is James’ 30th birthday today, I feel very sorry for James because he had been planning exciting things for this significant birthday, particularly as it fell on a Saturday. His parents come over for a visit, bringing with them an amazing BBQ which has been bought for him by his brother and friends. Before leaving, Janet (James’ mum) asks if I grow rhubarb, well I do have a bed of bionic/monster rhubarb. We break off some stems and take a picture of Janet (who is quite petite) dwarfed by the ‘umbrella like’ leaves. She looked like a Beatrix Potter illustration!



The girls, knowing about the gift, had bought various food goodies for James to make a birthday BBQ and I was very impressed to see he did not let a thunderstorm and a torrential down pour of hail stones put him off playing with his latest toy! Luckily he had erected a gazebo over the BBQ. We had a fantastic meal at tea time – very unusually for us as normally we eat closer to midnight. We all hope that James enjoyed his day even though it was a bit quiet.

Before being called for this magnificent feast, I took the opportunity to plant the new Yew bushes. I have already planted about 54 Yew bushes in a hedge around our new compost yard – these plants were salvaged when they were dug out at James’ work and thrown in a skip – the 18 new Yew bushes are to complete the last sections of the hedge. I am incredibly pleased with the original plants, which have mainly thrived and are putting on new growth. Only one has completely died, amazing considering what they have been through. The new Yew are much smaller, but they are healthy and will catch up the others quite quickly. The good thing about the extreme weather is at least the ground gets a decent soaking.




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