We knew that today everything would run a little later than normal. For a start, we had our Waitrose delivery which all had to be put away. Then we received a fairly long telephone call which we were not really expecting and this all conspired to delay us. So Meg and I decided to take our car down into town today. I must say that I had an ulterior motive because having picked up our newspapers, I was keen to visit a store called Broad Street DIY (formerly Broad Street Hardware) This is the kind of store to which all the local plumbers, decorators and jobbing builders will make their first port of call because it will nearly always have the specialised ‘thingamobobs‘ that they need in their day-to-day work. The particular attraction for me is that they always have a collection of wood offcuts outside the door. In particular, they typically have several staves which are 4cm square by 80cm long and with a goodly point put on them. As such they are can be used to secure large shrubs, small trees and goodness knows what else. I can only speculate what other people use them for but apart from their gardening uses, with a notch in the side to accommodate a rope they could no doubt be used as a guy rope to tie down a tarpaulin. The next time I go to Broad Street DIY I must ask them what other people typically use them for. Whilst I was there, I bought some coriander and mint seeds (about which more later) and some of those nice hefty rubble sacks much beloved of builders – but why are they always bright blue and never green I ask myself? We then went to the park and bumped into our amazingly energetic 87-year old who regularly walks at least 7km a day at a fair old pace as well. We exchanged tips (well observations, really) how to keep on going and going into one’s advanced years. One can’t always say that exercise is the elixir of life as one of my mathematics colleagues at De Montfort University in Leicester dropped dead of a heart attack whilst jogging – and he was only in his 30’s as well.
After lunch and a customary doze, I knew that I had to complete the project that I had set myself for the afternoon which was to finally despatch the remains of the chopped-down-but-decaying vegetation to our brown bin. Everything had to be chopped into about 8″ pieces first and the bottom of the heap was rather a slimy (and slug-infested) mess to which I was not looking forward. However, Miggles the cat came along to receive her mid-afternoon treat, have a drink of water, jump on my lap for a stroke and a fondle and finally jump off my lap to supervise the rest of my afternoon’s activities. I had intended to start on a job to put a brick edging down the side of my curving path in Mog’s Den but time rather ran away with me and I got diverted into ‘doing something’ about a scrubby piece of sloping land. I have a sort of plan for this will come to fruition tomorrow. At the very top, I have put some of my ‘push in’ plastic fencing to stop detritus rolling down the hill after a heavy rainfall. Then I have cut a narrow trench into which I am going to ‘peg’ a piece of board purchased from the hardware store this morning and just about the length I need. Then I am going to put in a little bit of willow fencing (courtesy of ‘Poundland’) and in the reclaimed area I am going to put two vegetable troughs with basil in one and coriander in the other. Finally, I have a bit off bare earth without any evident use but I suddenly decided to try and transplant some mint from elsewhere in the garden. But when I went to explore where I knew I had some mint growing, the mint plants have been rather overrun by a holly hedge and not helped by an absence of rain water, nutrients and sunshine. But there are some individual little mint plants so I think by the time they are rescued, transplanted and get more some light, fertiliser, watering and a bit of TLC, I may have another mint bed in operation. They say that mint spreads like wildfire but I must say I have never been so successful with it. However, what has emerged in Mog’s Den, in a type of unplanned way, is a miniature herb and veg garden and I am hopeful that in the fullness of time, I will manage to dash out of the kitchen and cut a handful of mint, basic or coriander whenever I need them. I also intend to eat the beet leaves this year as well as the globe roots themselves which are, of course, incredibly good for you.