Thursday, 12 April 2007

Unexpected New View From The Garden

Picture the scene....

Early evening in the hazy sun. All is quiet except for the birdsong.

There I was digging over last year's bean trench to prepare it for the brassicas, appreciating the rich colour of the earth, the peace and the beautiful quality of the light. I looked up, taking a momentary breather. In my eyeline was my neighbour's kitchen. Through his window I casually noticed he was ironing. He moved away from the ironing board, and that was when the full impact hit me - he was ironing, naked.

No I am not joking, nor making it up. There he was in front of his large kitchen window, ironing in the nud. I have to admit I considered reaching for my camera phone - in fact my hand got as far as my pocket but he must have sensed my bad intentions and suddenly he was gone. So sorry, no photos (as yet!).

I don't know what to make of it really, except I am still chuckling at the thought - I mean I've heard of extreme ironing, but exhibitionist ironing? Or is it naturist ironing, not quite as catchy, but it does sound a lot more ethical.

I thought to myself, well maybe he's in a rush to get his clothes ironed - but then I remembered that I have seen him behind that board at the window many times, always shirtless, or at least that's what I'd assumed. The mind boggles but there it is, the barenaked truth - it seems my neighbour is a naked ironer.

Back to the proper garden stuff then.

I finally gave the lawn it's first cut today. Well I say lawn, but it's actually more of a hill, so mowing it feels like an hour at the gym. I was glad to get it done - I can stop worrying about it getting out of hand now.

I spent a bit of time tidying up the pea rows, thinning out where too many have grown and transplanting them at the end of the rows where the cats have been digging them up. Using up every spare stick in the garden I have now re-cat-proofed the peas. It may look a bit of a mess but it appears to have worked as I later spotted one of 'em having a pee in the potato bed. I sowed some maincrop peas in between the earlies, as it looked like there was a lot of space not being used there. Then after I'd done it, I wondered if I'd done the right thing! Time will tell.

I sowed some lettuce (Tom Thumb) in one of the window planters. It's one of the smallest varieties. I'm hoping the planter will hold about three fully grown, as I don't hold out much hope for growing them in the ground, due to slugs, of course. Thinking about next year, I sowed some purple sprouting broccoli in the other planter, using it as a nursery bed. That's about the most forward planning I've ever done in a garden.

Indoors I sowed a couple of globe artichokes. I have never eaten them, but would like to try.

Incidentally, I was amazed to see the size of some of last year's bean roots. They look like parsnips gone a bit wrong - the sort of parsnip you could customise to make a small figure, or a face. The earth left by the beans is looking good though - a little compacted but breaking up OK.

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