Day Tripper

Oh, the excitement! I‘ve been out! And not just once, but three times! It feels like a major expedition each time, making sure I have everything I need, mask, gloves and signed, dated attestation. I was amazed at how many people were queueing for the supermarket, when, by ordering on “Drive”, I could simply arrive at my appointed time, have all the shopping packed in the boot for me, and leave. I’ll be doing that again.

During one of our long distance conversations with our neighbour, we learned of a garden nursery not too far away, that’s very much open; unlike in Britain, anything to do with gardening is considered essential to life here. They’re delivering to collection points in various villages or you can pick up from the business. By doing that, I could collect my tomatoe, aubergine, courgette and lettuce plants the same afternoon. I enjoyed the drive along empty roads, put on my mask when I arrived, but it wasn’t necessary; there was a table by the entrance, on which were several boxes of veg plants, labelled with people’s names and how much they owed, next to which was a box to put your money in. Couldn’t be better.

This morning was market day and I needed veg, so got up early to beat the queues. Or so I thought. The market stalls are now barriered off, so the traders have to serve you, which is, of course, slower than the normal, self service system. The queue for the veg stall I use stretched all the way to the next road, one person every 2 metres; the man has taken on extra staff, but it still meant a wait of 40 minutes to arrive at the stall and by the time I got there, the queue was even longer. Veg bought, I joined the queue for the cheese stall. Fortunately, it’s all very good humoured and I saw a few friends as I waited my turn.

Apart from that, we’ve done more gardening, spending hours weeding the veg plot, which was totally overgrown after winter; some bits look quite good now and we’ve planted lettuce, beans and onions, as well as an experiment on Nick’s part. I bought some sprouting seeds before this all started, which are great, as beansprouts, in salads and stir fries. Nick decided it would be a good idea to become self sufficient in these so soaked and planted chick peas, mung beans, aduki beans and two types of lentil. I’m growing the sunflowers separately, as flowers. We’ll see how they do, but the garden is starting to look good.

We’ve cleared weeds from under trees and shrubs and Nick’s used the last of the cement to start building the “ruined wall” in the back garden; we thought we’d found someone to deliver us more sand and cement, but he hasn’t called back, so we’ll have to wait for that. Some of the new grass under the tilleul is growing and I keep watering the most recently seeded bit every day; there’s a mole living under there, which is causing us a lot of frustration as it keeps throwing up new molehills; Nick digs up its holes and stands over them till they move again, then smashes the growing hill with a sledgehammer. So far, he’s had no luck, the mole seems totally undeterred, but at least it keeps Nick occupied for a while. He’s also built a little roof for the well in the garden; when first we moved in here there was so much greenery in this part of the garden that it was months before we even knew we had a well, but now we use it to supplement our water supply to water the garden when things get dry in the summer. Up to now we’ve had to lower the pump in in spring and haul it out in winter by hand, the well’s 17 metres deep, so it’s a strenuous job, but part of the roof is a housing for an electric winch system, which will make things easier.

Nick has finished the table he’s been making for the sculpture we bought a couple of years ago. We were very used to the prototype, but the finished product is beautiful, with a quite rough hewn top and a very original design for the legs. The finish on it is fantastic, the legs feel like silk; well worth the wait.

I’ve finished decorating the entrance hall now and just need to put up some pictures; if the rain they keep forecasting ever materialises I’ll start filling joints in the new bathroom, but so far the weather’s just lovely. I shouldn’t complain, but the grass is already yellowing and we could really do with a bit of rain, just overnight, ideally!