Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Okay, so the weather broke. I suppose I ought now to be apologising for the loss of the sun and the heat, or at least lamenting it and my folly in having complained; but in fact I am in raptures. I can once again think straight. My feet have returned to their normal size. My appetite has come back. And I don’t need to spend forty minutes every evening, the moment I get in, hauling watering-canfuls into the garden to save all my young plants from collapse. The garden only measures something like fifteen feet by twenty-five, but each can only waters an area of about two square yards, and because I know one should water plants thoroughly, not lightly, to avoid encouraging surface roots, I have been wearing myself out with haulage duties daily.

The plants have responded with enthusiasm to being baked to wilting point and then watered heavily each day. My first trusses of tomatoes (Tigerella, Sweet Millions and Red Robin) have set; the first runner beans have set; I am already eating home-grown chard and spinach beet in salads, and I have wonderful fairy pink godetias, egg-yolk yellow French marigolds, and vermillion dahlias, all flowering their socks off, and buds on the pot marigolds and Shirley poppies.

Tonight is the first of the annual Summer Swing at Kew concert series; and it is chucking down rain as if the second Noah were due to arrive any day now. I happen to know that the concert will go ahead whatever happens; nothing short of a lightning strike on the stage would lead us to cancel one of our main money-makers for the year. But anxious people ring the Information Office and say “It’s raining!...” I can’t reply “Yes, dopey, it happens, get over it!” much though I would like to at times. I have to politely and patiently explain that unfortunately the weather is not under Kew’s control and this is an outdoor event and was publicised as such from the start, so please bring appropriate clothing and footgear, and a good dose of the Blitz Spirit to boot.

I suppose I had an old-fashioned, even rather Spartan upbringing; I find their wailing a bit sad. Have they never seen rain before? It doesn’t hurt, you know. It’s just water. When-I-was-a-lass-we-just-got-on-with-it, etc etc.

I genuinely don’t mind getting wet much, since as I know I’ll get home at some point and get dry again. I also don’t mind going hungry for a time, since I know I’ll always be able to get something to eat later. I don’t mind walking to the shops and carrying my shopping back, nor waiting for buses or trains, nor eating a plain supper without desert; nor waxing my own legs, amusing myself rather than requiring permanent entertainment on tap, going to see my mum in Kent for the weekend instead of going to Barcelona… It’s odd; I’m clearly a nineteen-forties person, trapped outside my true time period. I find life interesting and stimulating anyway, without all the frills, and I don’t consider that being mollycoddled is a basic need, much less a human right. Heavens, some folks are as mard as cats!

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