This week has got off to a leisurely start as we've taken a couple of days off work. So I'm writing this post in real-time rather than later than I'd hoped, which has been all too often the case lately, or a short-time in advance, which is mostly my ambition. Our plan is to tame the garden as we've not been out there much at all this year, with busy weekends and with everything else going on. Strangely the fantastic weather hasn't helped us either, as when we've had time to garden, it's been too hot and I've been melting.
But we've already managed a day of gardening this weekend, and have plans for more so we should make the progress we want to. It's not all hard work though, as we also took some time out on Saturday to celebrate MOH's birthday, which was in July. Yes, it's been that kind of summer.
As we were heading over the heath in Blackheath we couldn't help but notice the larger than usual geese population, which seemed to be everywhere you looked. Quite a sight, and friendly from where we were. I never quite trust geese and this was as close as I planned to get.
We were heading up to Borough Market as MOH was keen to try the pasta at Padella, that didn't quite work out though, as despite their website saying there's usually a 30minute wait in peak times, when we arrived at 6.30pm, they weren't anticipating tables to be free for another three hours. I've nothing against eating at 9.30pm, but not when I'm at a restaurant so much earlier, and usually we aren’t at restaurants so much earlier. Needless to say we declined, but I'm sure we'll return at some point in the future.
It wasn't all lost though as there's plenty of restaurants around, and we've tried (and failed) to get into some of them before. Brindisa was one of those, it was a change of cuisine, but tapas was fine. When we were offered a table straight away we couldn't quite believe our luck, and pleased with ourselves accepted. The next interaction should have been a clue though as we were given the menus (including the drinks menu), asked what we wanted to drink and told we would only have the table for 90 minutes. Quite some welcome!
Next time a restaurant gives us a time limit as we sit down, we'll decide if we want to stay and then adapt our ordering style to match, ordering a few dishes at a time to control the flow. On Saturday the sherry flight which we ordered as an aperitif arrived with every single dish we ordered and the staff were getting quite frustrated with us as there simply wasn't enough space to put anything down. I resisted asking for a bigger table, but only just. As a result some of the food was only just warm by the time we ate it, and we resumed the sherry flight after we’d eaten the rest of the food.
And still they were hurrying us. It was disappointing as it wasn't cheap - eating out isn't is it? The food was good, it would have been better eaten warmer, and if I was in charge of paying the bill, I wouldn't have paid the service charge. The disappointment was doubled I think as it's somewhere where we'd wanted to go for a while, but now, to me it equates to a soulless fast food restaurant, and not one I'd hurry back to.
Maybe it’s always been like this, and up until now we’d been spared, who knows. But there’s nothing truer than the old saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression, because now I’d choose other restaurants over this one. And the toilets weren’t anything special either, so no loo series from there!
Usually we go out much later than we did Saturday so when we got home, even after a drink in the pub, it was much earlier than we thought, which while it wasn't a bad thing was a bit disorientating. But we were fresh for a day of gardening on Sunday, so every cloud and all that...
We couldn't remember the last full day of gardening we'd done before this, and this morning my body remembered how much of a work out gardening can be. I'd meant to order a new ladder for the garden, so that it arrived while we were off but in the busyness of getting ready to go on leave and a brain like a sieve, it didn't happen. So we've been planning jobs that don't need a ladder, as the one we have is even more rickety than it was last year. It's so bad that I won't go up it while MOH isn't home, but even he's not keen on going up it now, so we've splashed out on a super-duper new six-foot adjustable feet henchman garden ladder.
Which no doubt will arrive just as we're going back to work...
Instead I spent time with my tomatoes, which I used to refer to as a farm. Not this year, a jungle would be more appropriate. It was getting to the point that I almost couldn’t get into the greenhouse without fighting them off, but they’re tamed now and my hands turned green in the process.
Other jobs included tidying the gabion seating area, which gets the afternoon sun. In front of the seating blocks many foxgloves had self-seeded and MOH has been under strict instructions not to trample them, or weed them. Yesterday I finally saved most of them, adding some into the gabion planters and some into pots. I've told MOH I've saved more than I think I need, in case they don't survive, but in reality I can't quite resist a free plant and I'm sure I'll always find somewhere for them.
As we enjoyed the afternoon sun on a short break we realised the weigela behind us was quite large and the whole space felt a bit hemmed in. The space in our garden bins was probably just about enough to take its trimmings. But by now MOH was keen to get out on his bike (code for bored of gardening) and we debated if we should start this. We decided cutting it down wouldn't take long, the time would be in clearing the branches and getting them into the bins.
But less than an hour later the space looked like this - quite a difference isn't there? - and all of the cuttings were in the bins. Just. Phew.
It did reveal some ivy happily clambering up our neighbours walls and across their windows - whoops - that's now on the way to being tamed too.
But it has sort of scuppered my plans as we were supposed to spend two days filling the bins ahead of their collection, and then another day filling them again. We'll still do some gardening today but hopefully some with less volume-producing waste. My compost bins are already full, so they're not an option and while we do put some twigs and branches in there, we wouldn't use them for the larger branches, they take too long to compost.
I've been noticing how the seasons already seem to be changing this past week, with dew on the grass in Greenwich Park and conkers. Yes, conkers, in August and more berries than I remember before at this time of year. My garden's also getting in on the autumn act as I've noticed some cyclamen flowering already and some of our colchiums.
While I'm glad to see them both, with their delicate colours, I'm still not sure I'm ready for autumn. Perhaps we could do a deal weather, and have an Indian Summer - hands up if you agree?