Friday, 9 March 2018

My French Life




Pinks (oeillet d'Inde)  


Did you know they’re called pinks because they’re frilly, not because they’re pink?  I didn't.



The garden is still a mess but I see there is life poking out here and there.  I’m digging up weeds today when I should be editing my latest detective novel.  It’s as though there are two of me, and the one who likes to be outside wearing gardening gloves and standing in mud is generally the winner.

I do keep popping back to the laptop, not to check a spelling or deliberate over a comma, but to follow the progress of my youngest son who is sitting on a plane waiting to be taken to Singapore.  He was supposed to be travelling with a friend, but there’s been some mix up over passports and so he’s on his own for the time being. 

Still waiting on the runway.

Back in the garden, I inspect the new plants I purchased in Saintes – the most beautiful French town, and on my doorstep – on Monday.  A man pitched up with his wares, a real French raconteur.  His prices were irresistible and so I loaded my bags, eventually managed to pay, laughed at his 'I love you' routine and promised to marry him when I left my husband - all in the name of getting a bargain and being pleasant, you understand.  Anyway, I’d put my purchases out in the fresh air and watched from my back door as rain bucketed down, suddenly turning to hail, thrashing anything that moved, including next door’s cat who’d been bird watching with his evil twitching tail.  I was glad he got his comeuppance.  Now, there’s bright sunshine and my plants seem fine.  I think I’ll dig in three pinks under my kitchen window, some primroses by the back door and leave the others where I can view them as I stand at the sink (daydreaming and scheming, not washing up). 

I wander round the garden eyeing up last year’s successes and failures.  I’m a serial mover of plants.  They don’t get much peace in my garden.  But most of them survive and some flourish.  Like my Mexican Orange bush, which is taking over a little too raucously.  I’ve cut it back and moved a rose that was being stifled, but big is big – nothing can make it downsize really.  What I need is a larger garden.  Must tell my husband.  He wants to treble the size of his garage for his motorbikes – the ones he has and the ones he wants to have.

I’m inside again, reading about pinks.  They need coarse sand, it says.  I don’t have any about the place and can’t think of an alternative, apart from skimming the impasse for some chalky pebbles.  I have a bucket and a rake, but do I dare?  My neighbour, who owns the land to the front of my house, has a big white van and thinks very little of running over my hollyhocks if provoked.  Perhaps I’d better go to the garden centre and buy an inadequate and overpriced bag of grit and be done with it.

Update: Alfie is eating his way around Singapore, and I’ve visited two garden centres whose staff knows nothing of coarse sand for planting (‘...pas en France, Madame!’).

Not sure I'd like an Indian pancake for breakfast...

Happy Days 








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