Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Jane Howard’

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

A cold and strong wind did not inspire me to want to go to work, and Allan agreed that he also wanted the day off.  We could work Saturday instead of Wednesday if need be…even though days off IN A ROW are much more psychologically soothing to me.

I must admit that having Allan pick up volume 4 (Confusion) of Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicle from the library made a day off especially appealing.


Community Building and library garden (Allan’s photo)



bulb foliage in that terrible awkward stage (Allan’s photo)


loads of poppy seedlings (Allan’s photo)

Before I settled in, I got an email from the Port office asking if we could meet with Mark (boatyard manager) to talk about watering; I knew I could not enjoy getting stuck into my book and then interrupted, so I puttered around actually tidying a table (amazing!) and found several pieces of paperwork that had gotten buried.  No overdue bills, fortunately!

At the port, the chilly wind roared.


the view while waiting for the meeting


popping up out of the water

 Mark, used to working around boats in all weather, seemed impervious to the cold wind.  He explained that it would cost a hookup fee and monthly meter cost for any water line run to the curbside gardens, so it was not to be.  He was kind and sympathetic about the problem of having no water access for a couple of the gardens.


We were hoping to get a faucet-in-the-ground installed, under a hatch by the sidewalk, for this garden.  (Allan’s photo)

While we were there, I noticed that the plants in the port office and Time Enough curbside gardens had begun to droop from the drying wind.  The day turned into a workday for half an hour while we watered them.


Allan noticed this bumper sticker by the port office.  We love our Coasties.

I dropped off our invoice at Time Enough Books and met two little chihuahas, adopted from our local shelter.

We drove down to the garden by Ilwaco pavilion and watered a few new plants with the big green, formerly cat little now water jug that we carry in the van.  We did not have a hose with us for hooking up to the pavilion faucet.


new Armeria and a new Agastache (that a person or dog had stepped on, dang it, or maybe just the wind broke it)


wind gusts continued all day

After I went home to read, Allan returned to the Community Building garden to water.


allium in the Community Building garden


Others were also working.


There is always bindweed to pull here from early spring to fall.

Home again, Allan started painting lumber for the new arbor project.



I had work worries on the brain, making it hard to settle in to my book.  After a break to watch Survivor, I finally finished it at 2:30 AM.


This passage, where two teenage girls talk about death after the mother of one died, affected me.  If this is a subject especially painful to you, I implore you to stop reading now and skip ahead to daily installment from my mother’s garden diaries.

The older I get, the more I think about death, but I have always thought about it and have found it just as hard as this to picture “heaven”:



Later the same day…


oops, excuse my thumb holding the page

I eagerly await the fulfillment of my interlibrary loan request for the next book, Casting Off.


1995 (age 71):

May 4:  Went to Lacey to check out new tillers.  Ended up at the Troy-bilt tillers.  It will cost over $1000 but it is what I’ve always wanted.  We will probably trade in the Mantis if we can get a decent price.

1998 (age 74):

May 4:  11:00 to 5:45  Gray skies and cool.  All that time spent potting the recent Spring Hill and Bluestone orders.  I have 2 or 3 days of work getting dahlias and glads planted so I decided I’d better get the mums and dianthus into pots.  It’s a good thing I did.  The Spring Hill dianthus were really rootbound.  They probably appreciate more room.


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Sunday, 24 April 2016

I was thrilled to wake to the sound of the predicted rain, meaning a day of reading book two of the Cazelet Chronicle.  I set aside Love All because I simply could not wait to read Marking Time, both by Elizabeth Jane Howard.

It was hard to put down Love All as one of the characters is a garden designer of about my age.  From Love All:


[Gardeners] don’t come cheap, but if they’re good, they’ll make all the difference.”  !!

I had been so absorbed recently in the first of the Cazelet Chronicle that I simply had to start the second book.


But wait….shortly after I settled in with Marking Time the sun came out.  NOOO.


Brightness outside, interfering with reading bliss.

Although plagued with gardening guilt, I did stay in to read the entire book, after thinking about which I would rather have done, weeding or reading, if it were my last day on earth.


The three cats agreed and also stayed in.  Calvin is on the back of the chair and Frosty is by the cat door.

Just one sight from the kitchen window drew me briefly outside:


a welcome mat of fallen rhododendron flowers by Allan’s shed


Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’


mermaid birdbath


Acanthus ‘Hollard’s Gold’ and hellebores almost over


in Allan’s thoroughly weeded garden

Within less than five minutes, I had returned to my book.


From Marking Time

Marking Time is set in the time of the London Blitz.  If I believed in reincarnation (my favourite afterlife possibility), I would be convinced that I had lived during the Blitz because everything about that time resonates with me when I read a novel or see a film set during that era.  I read up on it a bit more online whilst reading the novel and learned something new to me:  German planes drifted off course while intending to bomb a Royal Air Force site and accidentally bombed civilian London.  The next day, Churchill sent bombers to Berlin in retaliation.  Germany then focused its bombing runs on English cities.  In a perverse way, this actually helped the British war effort because it gave the Air Force time that it desperately needed to repair its severely damaged air fields and it took the brunt of Germany’s bombs away from what was left of English war planes.

“Beginning on September 7, 1940, and for a total of 57 consecutive nights, London was bombed. The decision to wage a massive bombing campaign against London and other English cities would prove to be one of the most fateful of the war. Up to that point, the Luftwaffe had targeted Royal Air Force airfields and support installations and had nearly destroyed the entire British air defense system. Switching to an all-out attack on British cities gave RAF Fighter Command a desperately needed break and the opportunity to rebuild damaged airfields, train new pilots and repair aircraft. “It was,” Churchill later wrote, “therefore with a sense of relief that Fighter Command felt the German attack turn on to London…””  (from The History Place)

For whatever reason, it particularly moves me to read about it.  I recommend the series The 1940s House to get a feeling of what it was like to live in England during those years.

While I had me nose in a book, Allan was absent from the house and I could hear the lawnmower chugging along.  Later, he showed me photos of the other big project he had accomplished:


progress from last week (viewed from Nora’s back yard)







He made cheese toasties to keep my strength up (fortified with some bacon jam given us yesterday by Our Kathleen).


We unpacked yesterday’s door prize of dog treats to give to Dave and Melissa, and gave our cats the two toys.


Frosty looks less than thrilled.

I finished Marking Time and have made an interlibrary loan request for the third book, Confusion. Our day closed with two more episodes of Love in a Cold Climate, keeping with the historical English theme as it is set in the 1930s.


1995 (age 71):

April 24:  Planted the 4 bags of red and yellow onion sets 4 rows east of path and the rest in rows in asparagus patch.  In the fall till the asparagus bed and next year plant veggies in that area.  Started planting the new begonia tubers in “window” boxes and pots.  [The quotations are because they were window boxes not actually installed under windows.]

1997 (age 73):

April 24:  From about 12:30-5:00.  Planted strawberries.  I thought I was done but just before I quit I found another tray so I guess I’ll plant them tomorrow.   I also planted the pots of Gordon’s perennials from last fall into trays.  Most of the dianthus were ok but some of the others didn’t make it though the winter.  I am exhausted.

1998 (age 74):

April 24:  cool—rain—hail  I was going to put tomatoes but it was too cold so I started planting seeds in the kitchen.  I mostly planted low annuals for my color bowls.  I planted from noon to 8:30 with time out to eat.  Tomorrow I should take the new trays to the greenhouse—there’s not room in shop until I pot up the begonias.



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