13 April 2015

the 2015 asparagus post



In keeping with tradition, here is this year's first asparagus as it appreared two days ago marking the definitive start of spring. Everything else is miles behind - not a seed sown, or a potato planted though they are ready to go.

Time to get on. Hands to get dirty. Changes to be made.

09 April 2015

grey, grey, grey



It seemed until recently as if every day, indoors or out, was full of grey and somewhat perversely I was finding pleasure in it knowing that it surely would not be long before the wind died down and the sun came out. Looking out of the window on a cold, wet day made me revel in the warmth of my sewing room, the industry, the chunter of the overlocker on a wobbly table. Even the coat I was making was blue-grey. This is good, I thought. The colour of a cold spring day.

We had some time off and went out and about - to  Cliffe Pools to look out for birds across the bleak expanse of water. There were birds there of course but the most sensible were keeping out of the wind. Another time, when the cloud lifted later in the day, we whizzed down to Sheppey hoping to see some raptors (tick) and then through Elmley where the sun finally penetrated the murk and heartened the lazy hares and daytime owls. Redshanks paddled and dappled and lapwings mobbed a threatening harrier. I pencilled down the types of  birds we saw that day, some thirty odd.

From Harty, across the Swale

Back at home I tried to Walk in Her Shoes, but there is something about walking too long on hard pavements that plays havoc with my frame. In a determined walk from home to west to Bethnal Green, south to Shadwell and back again it was more grey that caught my attention, including some wonderful visible mending of the granite kind in the appropriately named Hemming Street. The next day my hip ached and I settled on a trip to the allotment for fresh purple sprouting broccolli and rhubarb to make this clafoutis for a group supper, not too heavy to carry up Highbury Fields on a windy night and suitable for baking in a dodgy oven. (Rhubarb clafoutis: not sure I'd vote with the ayes a second time round.)

Hemming Street stones

Then more  light at the end of the tunnel.  The sun came out. The air warmed, The buds on the horse chestnut tree on Mile End Road tentatively came into leaf. And it was in the lifting of grey, we said our last farewells out in the countryside to bright, generous friend, with vibrant spring flowers*, snippets of rosemary, gaunt trees hung with great natural pom-poms of mistletoe and wondrous birdsong. It was, despite the sadness, a rather glorious day. When we got home, I took myself off for a long circular walk for more birdsong, stepping out of the way of weary mothers and children, skateboarders and cyclists, all making their way home after time in the park. It ended with a beautiful sunset over London.

Now, back at home, I am quarreling with the wardrobe trying to find something that can deal with the fickleness of April, something versatile and cheering and preferably not grey. Might something blue be a start? Or green? Or maybe yellow is the answer? I can feel some comforting needle activity coming on.



*She especially stipulated "no bloody lilies".