Do people even deadhead in December? Well, that is what I found myself doing last week.
The month of December sees a lot of footfall to the Vicarage; just very kind parishioners dropping off Christmas cards and presents. For this reason, I was very conscious of our front garden looking very grubby. The Vicarage gardener has gone AWOL again!
I decided to take matters into my own hands and started deadheading and trimming the overgrown hydrangea bush. The large flower heads were drooping and were such an eyesore!
I quite like the winter when everything is bleak. I love looking at the bare trees that have been stripped of their leaves. However, this winter, everything around me looks grubby . Take our hydrangea bush for example; by this time of the year, it will be completely bare but this year half the leaves are still intact. Wait for this… there are even green buds appearing on its branches. I have never seen anything like this before! The same is repeated everywhere else in the Vicarage garden. Not one tree has been stripped bare. It feels like as if someone has not done their job properly😁😁.
I like a slow start to my day but the Thursday before our holiday was nothing like my usual start to the day. The Mhinisteir was out at a church service and we were expecting the tree surgeon to chop off the conifer trees. The Mhinisteir assured me that they will not be bothering me. Excellent I thought…..
Just as I was entering the shower room, the doorbell rang! I took a quick peek at the window and it was the tree surgeon and his chum. They were young men and I most definitely wasn’t going to meet them in my dressing gown so I ignored them and went ahead with my shower! When I came out, they were still in the driveway instead of the garden. Mmmm….. I got changed and went to greet them from a distance. They said all was well. Great!
I went to the kitchen to do the dishes when I suddenly saw two faces smiling at me through the kitchen window. Just for a split second, I assumed that they were that of the tree surgeon and his chum but no it wasn’t. Instead they were from OpenReach (British Telecom). They were not due until Monday!!!! I went to the door and they introduced themselves and said they were here to do some work on our telephone line. I said that we were told to expect them on Monday. Apparently, the people coming on Monday will be dealing with a different issue but these men were going to work on the telegraphic pole. Just then I remembered the Mhinisteir had an important zoom meeting with our Bishop!!!! Oh great I thought! The meeting was really important as it had to do with the safeguarding issue that I had wrote about some time ago. The men from Openreach assured me that the internet connection will not be affected.
The tree surgeon and his chum were working away in the garden until 3pm. Just as they were leaving, our cleaner arrived!!!! By then, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait for her to leave…..
Anyway, the good news is that the conifer trees are gone and there is so much light coming into the Vicarage which is wonderful.
The next day we got a telephone call from the Diocesan housing department informing us that the tree surgeon’s chum’s girlfriend had tested positive for Covid19 and so he is having to self isolate! Thank God that we didn’t have any close contact with him!!!
I can’t believe that we have already come to the end of July but boy am I thankful?
As mentioned in my earlier post, I had two social events to attend. Well, actually it was only one as the other was a visit by our young friends from the capital.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I was not looking forward to both occasions. The visit from our young friends was before freedom day and the garden reception was immediately after that!
Let me start with the visit of our young friends. Due to Covid19, the arrangement was to meet them at a nearby pub for lunch or so I thought. On the morning of the visit, the Mhinisteir announced that they will be coming to the Vicarage. Mmmm…. I thought the whole point was to avoid meeting in an enclosed space. Anyway, they finally arrived and guess what we all hugged!!!! Earlier on, I had told the Mhinisteir that I will not be hugging anyone!!!!!
Off we went to our pub lunch and sadly it was a disappointment. Things were so chaotic and they made us sit in the hot sun with no shade whatsoever!!!! All the food arrived in takeaway boxes!!!! What is wrong with proper crockery and cutlery???? As mentioned elsewhere in my blog, the UK service industry should take a leaf out of the Americans. They know the true meaning of customer service! Despite the chaos, we all had a good time and it was so wonderful to catch up.
Now, let me move on to the garden reception…. I had already decided on my outfit the moment we received the invitation until the Mhinisteir sprung on me the “dress code”! I like dressing up and am never without lipstick but am not a hoarder so I tend to buy a few classic pieces that are going to last me for a very long time. I am pleased to say that I stuck with my decision.
On the day itself, I was very nervous as this event was taking place after freedom day! Anyway, the evening came and off we went. It was a beautiful summer’s evening. The huge garden was beautifully set up. We had a good flow of beverages and canapés. I stuck to fizzy water. At one point, We ended up chatting to a couple while trying to maintain social distancing but it was so difficult as the couple kept moving towards us and by the end we couldn’t move any further as our path was blocked by a large tree!!!!
For those interested in who wore what, sadly, it was quite obvious that for most, very little thought had gone into the dress code. There was at least one person in gym wear!
All in all, it was a good occasion but I am so relieved that my social calendar is empty again!!!!
I was involved in a rescue mission at the weekend. The Mhinisteir told me that he had heard a loud thud on his study window when he was on a zoom meeting. We both immediately went outside to look for the bird. It wasn’t difficult to find it. It was a female black bird. She was lying on her back and I could tell from afar that she was breathing. I went to take a closer look but she started flapping her wings without much success. The Mhinisteir told me to back off as he thought I was frightening her!!!
Anyway, I went back inside the house and did a quick google search on bird rescue! I put on a pair of gardening gloves and went back out again, this time without the Mhinisteir as I didn’t want him to hamper my rescue mission. As I went closer to the bird, it started chirping loudly, very loudly. I gently nudged her to her side and within seconds she was off or so I thought!!! She certainly did fly away.
When we came back from Church on Sunday, I decided to water the plants. Something which I don’t tend to do on the Sabbath but it was a really hot day and the plants were withering. Just as I was watering the plants, I heard some noise. Upon closer inspection, it was the female black bird and again she was on her back. It was obvious she was badly injured and she didn’t want me near her. There was absolutely nothing I could do apart from ensuring she was in a dark place and away from the village cats!!!! I also gently sprayed some water on the bush that she was hiding under so that some water might seep through to her beak.
Sadly, she was dead the next day. It was sad but I think it is for the best because there was no point in her suffering.
Can someone please tell me what smart casual means? I have an invite to an evening garden party and the dress code is smart casual. I don’t do smart casual because I don’t like the sound of it and in any case I only do formal.
I had already decided on what I was going to wear until the Mhinisteir dropped the dress code bombshell. I think it is a bit too late to go clothes shopping but I am not sure that I need more clothes. The biggest challenge that I have now is to try and “convert” my formal outfit to smart casual which seems like an impossible task.
Our weather compared to this time last year is very different. It is humid and wet. I for one am not complaining as I quite like this weather compared to the extreme heat where you can’t sleep at night!
One of the big tasks this week was to tackle the mountain of washing that needed ironing. I am the sort who irons everything that goes into the washing machine so I inevitably accumulate more things to iron. I also have been doing something naughty. I have been leaving some of my dresses in the ironing basket for another day but whenever that day comes along, I have new washing that needs ironing so the dresses never got a second look!
My new found hobby has also been taking me away from the mundane but very necessary task of ironing! I am not even sure I like ironing??!! Some days I think I love ironing but other days it feels laboured.
At the end of last week, I gave myself a bit of a scare while gardening. I began to feel quite unwell and had to get back inside the house. Since then, I have decided to stay away from the garden for a wee while. It is a blessing in disguise as it means I have more time to focus on ironing. I am pleased to report that I have ironed every item that found its way into the ironing basket!!!!
Finally, another good thing to happen this week is that the gardener is back! He has come back with great gusto and has transformed the garden. Well done to him!
Recently, I have discovered a new pastime. I never thought that I would enjoy my new hobby this much but I have surprised myself. For health reasons, I am not able to commit more than half an hour each day and even that it can only be on good days.
I have always enjoyed a tidy garden but have NEVER spent any time tending to it. It is just not my thing(neither the Mhinisteir’s). We have always paid someone to cut the grass and keep it tidy.
In any case, in a place like the Scottish highlands, you would only want to be in the garden if you want to be eaten alive by the midges!!!! For those who are not familiar with midges. You can read about them here. If it is not the midges than it is the weather. We rarely got good weather in the summer.
Until some weeks ago, I had never done weeding in my whole life.
We are having the same problem with our gardener as with our cleaner (same company!). As mentioned before, I like things to look tidy.
Our garden was beginning to look messy and that was when I decided to take matters into my own hands. We tried getting in touch with other gardeners but none was available.
At that time, I only had a pair of secateurs. I have since added a weed fork, rake, lopper and the most recent purchase is a pair of shears. It has taken me a whole month to figure out how the weed fork and rake worked! Being left handed doesn’t aid anything!
Ever since I started doing very gentle tidying up of the garden, I feel wonderful and can’t believe how much I enjoy it. Needless to say that the garden is looking wonderful too. However, I stop at tidying. I have no desire to plant or grow anything.
On Saturday morning when I opened the front door to bring the milk bottle in, I was faced with a battalion of what I can only describe as maggots! The porch was covered with these whitish grey creatures. Needless to say that the cool bag containing the milk bottle was crawling with them too. I just assumed that the torrential rain had brought these maggot out of the ground!
I was horrified to be later told that they were caterpillars!!!!!!!! Aren’t caterpillars not meant to be green in colour??? Maybe I was thinking of Colin the caterpillar but on a serious note I really thought that caterpillars are green in colour!!!!!
Another thing that happened that weekend was overnight the stormy weather had blown away ALL the leaves from a certain plant that was next to the porch. I didn’t like that plant (planted by a previous occupant) so I wasn’t at all sorry and quite frankly didn’t care.
Fast forward to today, I learnt that it was the caterpillars that had eaten all the leaves which explains why there was not a single leave on the ground!!!!!!!!!
The Mhinisteir was angry on Friday afternoon which I thought was very unusual for a person who is always normally cool and calm. I wanted to know what happened but was also careful to tread carefully.
We have two Conifer trees in our garden that have grown out of control. I hasten to add that these trees were not planted by us.
If you are a Church of England clergy or spouse reading this, living in Diocese owned Vicarages, please please don’t try and turn the garden into Kew Gardens! Please think of those who will come after you. Most stipendiary Clergy can’t afford to keep your Kew Gardens going.
Regular readers will know how difficult it has been for us to find an honest gardener. You can read about this here. At the moment, we do have someone for grass cutting but we need a tree surgeon for the Conifer trees.
The Mhinisteir contacted someone for a quote. Sadly, he decided to change his quote twice, increasing the price at both time which was what made the Mhinsteir angry.
Rural living has its own set of unwritten rules like no grass cutting at ungodly times unless you are a farmer where you have special dispensation.
On Saturday, I got woken up by some loud noise. Surely it was too early for any kind of work. As I lay in bed, I started wondering what that noise might be? The man who cuts the grass in the churchyard doesn’t start work until 8.00am and in any case he didn’t work on a Saturday. It sounded like a lawn mower but I was quite sure that it wasn’t. The Mhinisteir was still sound asleep. Mmmm. Curiosity got the better of me so I got up to look out of the window. Guess what I saw?
It was pouring rain and some numpty was “destroying” my neighbour’s garden with a digger. He looked too young to be operating a digger. My young neighbour lives alone with her two boisterous dogs. Until Autumn last year, there was a fellow living there too but not any more. I assume she got some young rookie to do a bit of digging for her but failed to realise that you don’t start at the crack of dawn just because you feel like it. It reminded me of this scene in the Good Life when the Goods and the Leadbetters fall out.