stop a while and join me for elevenses …
Why don’t you pull up a chair … and we will have a chat … before I go on holiday next week. Can I interest you in a cup of coffee and a cocoanut macaroon … or maybe a ginger snap.
I have picked a nice little posy for the table; chive flowers, sweet rocket, nepeta and a cornflower, all looking a little bedraggled after all the heavy rain we have endured just lately.
Elevenses is a quintessentially British ritual and a highly civilising one, at that. So it amuses me that it takes a bear from Darkest Peru to remind us of the pleasure of that moment halfway between breakfast and lunch that is perfect for a little sit down and a reward. Paddington, never one to miss an opportunity to eat (he carries marmalade sandwiches in his suitcase in case he should ever run short of sustenance), enjoys his elevenses of bun, cocoa and chat with Mr. Gruber in his antiques shop on Portobello Road. It’s wonderfully cosy and irresistible, and a fine example of civilised living to all readers.
Winnie-the-Pooh preferred honey on bread with condensed milk, and for the Hobbits, elevenses is a meal eaten between second breakfast and luncheon.
So, back to today … as I said, next week we are taking a little holiday at the coast for a few days … my friend is taking care of the garden for me … but if it carries on raining like this there won’t be an awful lot for her to do in the watering department.
“All year I wait for spring, and now it’s here I’m greedy for every minute of it; and yet hours pass when I’m inattentive, and ungrateful. It only lasts two or three weeks, this explosion of life reborn, and I have only twenty or thirty more springs to watch in wonder: I need to remind myself that this is it, now, this is the best of life, this is what I will remember on the dark evenings, and in old age. So I sit at my keyboard and lay down these thoughts, to pay public tribute to this May morning, before it is gone again.” (William Nicholson)
The last few days I have woken up to rain, rain and more rain. Those hot, sunny days earlier in the month were summers’ false start. I always get taken in … think, this is it … here comes summer. But no … so eager was I for summer to start that I forgot to keep enjoying the end of spring. It is hard to remain optimistic when it is grey and drear outside … when just wandering around the garden leaves your clothes soaked.
The long range weather forecast is not looking good … do I pack summer or winter clothes or a bit of both? There isn’t a lot to do in Norfolk when it rains … I want to be able to walk feeling the sun on my skin … ditch the trousers and bring out the shorts … leave the knitwear in the suitcase and wear light cotton tops. Is this too much to ask?
I have been preparing the garden for our leaving … everything is planted out … all those annual flowers that I tended so carefully so that the garden would be a glorious splash of colour … all the vegetables have been found a place. I find myself not really wanting to go away at the moment … it has come around too quickly… and I feel unprepared in my mind. I realise that once the car is packed and we are on the road to our destination I will be okay … but it is always a wrench somehow … leaving the familiar behind … even if only for a few days. The garden will keep growing without me and will be greeted with delight on our return when more flowers will be in bloom and others will be gone.
We have always been lucky with the weather on our little jaunts … will the weather gods look down on us and feel pity … and send a few rays of sunshine our way. Will the slugs and snails breathe a sigh of relief at our leaving and munch their way through all the fragile, tender plants that they so enjoy … without my unrelenting vigilance … only time will tell.
When we return home June will be in full swing, this extract from ‘The Wind in the Willows’ describes it beautifully:~
“Purple loosestrife arrived early, shaking luxuriant locks along the edge of the mirror whence its own face laughed back at it. Willow-herb, tender and wistful, like a pink sunset-cloud was not slow to follow. Comfrey, the purple hand-in-hand with the white, crept forth to take its place in the line; and at last one morning the diffident and delaying dog-rose stepped delicately on the stage, and one knew, as if string music has announced it in stately chords that strayed into a gavotte, that June was at last here.”
So this will be my last post for a while … well, only a week actually … let’s not be too dramatic. I leave you with the first rose to open … looking a bit battered and sorry for itself … there are two mice living in the compost bin … and the visiting racing pigeon is still with us … and the snails are proliferating. Who says this isn’t a haven for wild life.
One last photo of the greenhouse strawberries as requested by Rosemary at Share My Garden ~ my friend will pick those that ripen whilst we are away, so they won’t go to waste.
‘Til I return, I hope the sun shines on you too.