1 EAGLETON NOTES: Home and Gardening

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Friday, 2 April 2021

Home and Gardening

I am stiff this morning. Yesterday the weather changed and the rain and gales were superseded by full sun, light or no wind and bitter cold: perfect weather for doing so heavy work in the garden. So that was where I spent the day. I dug out some more cotoneaster roots to make way for wild flowers and Leucanthemums. I dug out Geraniums which had almost stopped flowering because they were busy fighting for dominance of that flower bed with the Astrantias. A lot of the Astratias have gone too. I also cleared a mass of Mombretia which had become unproductive through being overcrowded. The hundreds of Daffodils in beds around the garden spent a day trying to revive themselves from the gales but many were simply too far gone and a lot of the flowers had simply broken off.

I love Astrantia as individual flowers but when they get overcrowded they lose their individuality and their collective beauty is not great.

I've got a lot of seeds germinating in the polycarb and on the bathroom floor at night for those needing a constant warm temperature. The bathroom floor has underfloor heating but until now the last thing I've though of was using it to germinate seeds.

The pond is full of frogspawn but I've not seen a single frog this year which is unusual.

My trip away was successful. Well I assume it was but I've not had the result of my bone scan yet which is  unusual. I had my scans and the drugs trial review was okay and I have my drugs for the next 16 weeks until the next review.

What struck me most when I was away was the total lack of traffic on the main arterial route (the A9) through the Highlands from Perth to Inverness. In 50 years of travelling that road I've never seen it so empty.

Whilst I was away the Scottish Government changed the Covid level for the Islands from 4 to 3 so the day after I got back we were able to meet in a cafĂ© (a maximum of 6 people from not more than 2 households).  So I've been having morning coffees in The Woodlands with friends instead of phone/video chats. Yesterday was an exception. It's back to The Woodlands this morning.

43 comments:

  1. I was wondering if you'd survived the trip south. Good to see you made it back safe and sound.

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    1. Thanks Adrian. Safe and well and enjoying Level 3!

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  2. My word, you have been busy! I still have to tackle spring cleanup and I need to replace mulch and add stones to the paths, but I suspect that it will not be as strenuous as your full-on attack! It must be very encouraging to be able to get together with others again. We are going in the opposite direction here when we will re-enter total lockdown at midnight - for the third time! COVID is really starting to wear us all down!

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    1. David, I was speaking on a group chat with a friend in Calgary last night and he was making the same point. On the Island we have the highest rate of vaccinations in Scotland and although we've had a few outbreaks they have been very quickly contained. Yesterday I heard my first Skylarks (two) of the year which was an advantage of being outside all day.

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  3. I think it is time to remove this offensive comment, Graham.

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    1. I didn't think your comment was that bad, David. 8-)

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    2. Thank you David. I was out all morning so unable to remove it. The person who writes those spams is quite unhinged.

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  4. It is good to have you back Graham. You obviously didn't hang about resting after your trip though!

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    1. Thanks JayCee. I really miss Blogland when I'm away from it although I do sometimes get the opportunity to read blogs on my phone but it's not so easy to comment. I just spent the night after the hospital visit and then came straight home. The problem is actually having to go down early. I went on Saturday because the Sunday ferry would have meant driving 250 miles in the dark. Living here (like on your Island) one never leaves mainland travel for appointments until the day before in case of weather or other transport cancellations.

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  5. Hi GB! Ah, the A9... I remember it well! Drove that very route the first time (and second, and third...) that I visited my beloved Scotland. Glad you were uncrowded - must have enabled you to enjoy the scenery more.
    Just noticed that you and I both mentioned "cotoneaster" in our most recent posts - I have yet to receive mine (ordered from a catalog) but am looking forward to planting it (ground cover kind) and hoping it spreads as advertised.
    Many happy returns of springtime!

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    1. Marcheline, the cotoneaster is a very dense ground coverer but it has stubborn roots when you're trying to remove it! I hope that it works well for you. I hope that your previous trips are not the only ones you will make up and down the A9.

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  6. I travelled up the A9 on a motorbike one summer and recall it being rather quiet at the time - and beautiful for that. Sounds like you have wasted no opportunity to get stuck into the garden - first fine day and all that...

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    1. Tigger, you were indeed fortunate. I've found it busy both winter and summer in recent years although now that it has average speed control cameras it's a lot more pleasant and safer. One thing last year's lockdown did was make my enjoyment of gardening into something between a passion and an obsession.

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  7. You've been away for a long time. welcome back with your good news.

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  8. I think I would be resting. Glad to see you back again blogging.

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    1. Thank you, Rachel. My gardening has become rather an obsession.

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  9. Good to see you back. I've been digging out weed roots from a border beside the neighbour's holly, lilac and elderberry for much of today. It's surprising how long it takes. It always looks like a little job but it isn't.

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    1. Tasker, your last sentence is a masterful understatement. I was having to use a large pickaxe and a wrecking bar on cotoneaster roots to get leverage so it must have been even worse for bigger bushes like yours.

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  10. You've been very busy in the garden. Removing established root systems can be really hard work. You will see your rewards in your garden before too long.
    Alphie

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    1. Alphie, it certainly is hard work but very rewarding (once you've got over the stiffness the next morning 😂).

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  11. It's so nice going down covid levels isn't it and having a bit more of interaction with other humans, we did it for 6 weeks in lockdown level 4 so there was only 1 of us 4 working and I just binge watched tv series I downloaded. Glad you're doing some Spring cleaning in your garden too.

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    1. Amy, it's been a week of meeting people for coffee at The Woodlands. You can discuss so much more that you can in a phone or video call.

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  12. We have an Astrantia in a large pot; it is just coming into flower. As neither my wife or I can remember its name, we call it the 'Astrazeneca'.

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    1. Cro, I am always getting Astrantia, Aquilegia, Astilbe and all the As mixed up.

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  13. Glad you are back safe.

    Bet it felt wonderful to be able to meet up at The Woodlands for a coffee, a little bit of "normality" (whatever that is these days).

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    1. Jayne it has indeed be wonderful to get a bit of normality back although my time in Glasgow seemed 'normal' in a way even though there was no real socialising. Whilst I was away I read about your Ospreys and saw that you were making preparations for later in the year too. Life is slowly returning to whatever the new normal will be.

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  14. You are doing well to work so hard in the garden. It's better to have too many flowers rather than not enough I reckon but I know some can become a problem. I don't garden any more since moving into the village, Some residents do but we opted for an apartment with a very small garden.I had a bad back when removed here. It has improved now that I'm not working in a garden. Glad you had a successful trip away and that you can socialise in the coffee shop again. We had a three day lockdown due to the virus escaping from a hospital from overseas returnees. But now the authorities have it under control so we are out of lockdown for Easter.

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    1. Diane, my garden is such an important part of my life at the moment but I can see a day when the hard work would no longer be possible. So I've been planning everything with a view to minimising the harder work in the future. I'm glad that your outbreak was quickly brought under control.

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  15. My gardening experience reached a peak in 1994 when we moved into a house in California with a lovely rose garden. Before this I'd had very little time or inclination to garden mainly just ensuring I had a yard full of Jonquils to keep pace with the little town in Georgia; "The Jonquil City of the South," where I grew up. Anyway, back to the rose garden. I read everything and did everything required to keep this garden healthy and robust. Alas, (I love that word, alas!) the garden faded through the years until it was a sad little area with three bushes left when I departed for higher ground in New Mexico. Gardening is not my strong suit. However, Graham, I do love your garden and eagerly await for more photos.

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    1. I'm sorry to hear the story of your rose garden. My Dad loved his roses but where I live the soil and the weather are not good for roses. However after 45 years last year I gave them a try in large containers/pots in a relatively sunny and relatively sheltered place on a patio. They thrived and re-paid my attentions many times over. I'm hoping that I have the same success this year and that last year was not just a lucky one. I love the word 'alas' too. People used to use 'alas and alack' in writing and drama too but I very rarely hear 'alack' any more.

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  16. You have been a busy man, Graham! I've not been a very busy woman...and the status quo shall remain today. The rain has begun here again...being Sunday I intend nestling in with the paper and a few cryptic and "quick" crossword puzzles. And, of course, a couple of warm, Hot Cross buns with lashings of butter and raspberry jam...accompanied by no guilt!

    Take good care...enjoy your Easter weekend... :)

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    1. Lee, this morning my body agrees with you that I was busy and rather wishes that it had also taken your advice. Ah well. After a few more coffees all will be well.

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  17. Good to see you safely returned to Lewis, gardening and socialising. It almost sounds like life as normal. Sounds like the polycarb is a huge success, no comment about the bathroom floor except for the chuckle that gave me. And it's wonderful that you enjoy a hard day's labour, it would do me in. Enjoy your gatherings at The Woodlands. I will picture you there enjoying the conviviality.
    polycarb and on the bathroom floor at night

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    1. Pauline, I read that and I laughed. I managed to get your meanings one way and another. It helps knowing and sharing your sense of humour over so many things.

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  18. Sorry, Graham, I mucked that up, didn't I?

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  19. It's good to see a post from you, Graham. A successful trip and positive news of the Covid level on the island is great to hear. I've forgotten how it feels to enjoy a drink inside a cafe. Only yesterday, I found myself yearning for the simple pleasure of a visit into town followed by a coffee and toasted teacake :)
    I hope you receive your results soon. X

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    1. Jules has said it all for me. That is exactly my feelings - except I crave my Toast and Marmite in my local café.

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    2. Jules I do hope that you manage to enjoy a coffee and toasted teacake out soon and before the area is overrun with escapees from the big cities. Because I used to go to the Lakes right through the winter (I lived in Liverpool at the time) I never thought of myself as one of the hordes from the cities who clogged everywhere up with their cars even though I was one. I have been desperately looking for a picture I took one winter in the mid Sixties of a friend and I on top of Haystacks in the snow on a fabulously clear day. We probably saw no one else on the fells all day. We were staying in Grange-in Borrowdale. Sorry. My mind wandered.

      Lesley, I would have been having the Marmite too. I had three (yes three but very small) eggs from my neighbour's chooks for my breakfast with, of course, toast and Marmite.

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    3. I've been out and about over the weekend and I'm happy to report that, as yet, I haven't seen any hordes :)

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    4. That is really good news, Jules.

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  20. Gardening work, as rewarding as it is, can also be very hard on a physical level. I have never had my own garden but what little I have done when my parents had their allotment was enough to make me exhausted and rather offering to do what needed doing in the shed, such as washing up and cleaning.
    It must be so nice visiting a café with friends! I have no idea when that will be possible again in this country.

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    1. Meike, I've been following as far as is possible the different decisions being taken in various countries and the outcomes so far. In the beginning I think that few would say that the UK's Prime Minister got anything right. However, he listened to the experts when it came to vaccines and right from the very start authorised and pumped money into vaccine development and purchase when many others were tardy or arguing over price. So now after what many would say was a series of mistakes and bad judgements his one good decision is paying off handsomely in that a very large percentage of the adult population has been vaccinated. And we are providing vaccines for poor countries as well. Who knows where we will all end up but we can live in hope.

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