Honestly, this isn’t meant to be yet another snow post (thawing away, by the way – hurrah!) but I realised I was running out of time to capture my overall view of the back garden. Yes, it is largely blanketed with snow but most things are now in a state of dormancy anyway.
Now we’ve done some work on the front garden, perhaps I should start documenting that too?
You can tell that I’m genuinely blogging from England. Two days of ‘snow’ that many parts of the world would barely acknowledge as a frosting and I’m blogging on the topic for the second day in a row, like a self-appointed blizzard expert.
Yesterday’s snow settled but it was wet and didn’t stick around long, disappearing entirely in an hour or so. This afternoon we had more snow but this was a much drier snow, settling to an inch or two still crisp and even on the ground outside. In English terms, that’s enough for widespread disruption.
Firstly, lunch with friends finished early as they needed to do a reasonably long drive to pick someone up and didn’t want to delay the start. Then the band rehearsal ended up being cancelled. Some members travel from a fair distance and others were concerned about the snow and wet ground freezing up before the rehearsal was over, so I’ve finished off resetting a couple more bits of music and doing some practise at home.
That meant I was, in theory, free to attend the special compline service planned at church tonight. Rather than de-ice the car and chance the roads, I decided to walk but I didn’t get far before it became apparent that concerns about ice were not unfounded and I made the decision not to press on but send my apologies instead. A reflective end to the evening would be lovely but not the possibility of slipping over either heading there or back.
So, it’s no fun for me tonight – I’m already looking forward to the thaw.
I opened one of my Autumn Ruby bottles for lunch today and it turned out to be a gusher. I opened it near the sink but it turns out that I should have opened it in the sink because after the initial “ah, it’s carbonated” hiss, I got a fountain of foam and made a bit of a mess.
There was about a quarter of the bottle left and, after filtering through muslin and then kitchen towel, I got a decent tasting mouthful. However, I won’t be sharing any of this batch around unless it turns out that was the exception rather than the rule.
Gushing tends to suggest either that the beer wasn’t properly finished when it went in the bottle or that it picked up some unwanted additions. I did note that the brew had quite a lot of sediment when it was bottled. I wonder if I should think about more filtering between fermentation and bottling? Perhaps that could give a safer result?
We visited a couple of different garden centres this afternoon, to pick up some soil and some seeds.
First was Six Acres, in Costock, which is a small, independent place. We’ve been there before and had a good nose round their stock of plants. It isn’t a massive place but has a pretty good selection. This one is definitely a gardener’s garden centre.
Next, we headed up the road to the Cherry Lane Garden Centre in Bradmore. Their website boasts, “we really are more than just a Garden Centre”. A cynic could be forgiven for thinking that they are barely a garden centre at all, such is the volume of diverse other good compared to living plants to take home and put in the soil. They had a few of those but I’d say less variety than Six Acres. We came away from there with things ranging from a box of tea bags (just regular ones – it turns out they have a grocery section) and a couple of new bowls.
Seeds? Unfortunately those got forgotten. I think we’ll head to the nearer Hathern Nurseries. That’s another independent and a bit of a blend of the two although skewed more towards the plants in soil than the Christmas lights for the patio end of things and we know exactly where to find their reasonably sized seed selection.
We hadn’t previous done a lot with our front garden, which is a fairly narrow strip covered with stones, apart from removing the calla lily that was getting in the way of the path to the front door… and then multiple attempts to rout out all the tiny lily plants that kept pushing up from bits we’d missed. I think that’s all gone now and we’ve made a start on creating some small beds and doing a bit of planting.
There should be just enough time for plants to get their roots down and it should be looking good by next spring and summer.
Laptops at the ready, Jane and I both logged onto the NHS system tonight to get our booster jabs booked. Fortunately the booking system worked quite well for us, although I’m aware of people who’ve had issues, and we managed to book in for the same centre on the same date and time slot.
We’ve opted to head down to St Theo’s in Thurmaston, on this side of Leicester. Given the political mood music is that everyone eligible should be getting their booster as soon as possible I am distinctly unimpressed by the fact that we’re having to go beyond Loughborough. We’ll be fine (as long as we don’t both suffer immediate side-effects which prevent us from being able to drive home) but there are many people who are effectively being forced to take a long, expensive journey on public transport, exposing themselves to all sorts of unknown people in order to make themselves and society safer. That’s joined up thinking that rises no higher than, say, the level of Peppa the Pig.
I can understand that it isn’t possible to get vaccinations to every ‘holt and heeth’ but I would have thought that every town wouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge. The ONS identifies about 1,100 such urban areas in England (2011 Census data) with populations ranging from 5,000 to 225,000. The 50 or so English cities could probably be broken into town sized units on established boundaries such as London boroughs and, if that is too many units, small towns (population < 20,000) could possibly be removed.
Anyway, we’ll get our jabs in just over a week’s time and have done our bit. Meanwhile, we’ll also get a chance to get a handle on where St Theo’s is, a church which several people in our congregation have got connections with.