just a few images of my summer – being retired means you can relish every minute!
because June is bursting out all over – the garden just beckons me and I have to go. For hours I’m digging and hoeing and sweating and attacking my major enemies Ground Elder and Docks. There are many others like neetles but these actually have very shallow roots and at least the butterflies like them so I just try to come to an understanding about territory so we can live in relative peace. My potatoes look happy and the broad beans healthy. Peas will need their supports (which is rather a fag) but I’m pretty sure I have some pea netting I bought a couple of years ago so will hunt that out. Leeks and cabbages are trying their best and I have every faith in them. Courgettes have very quickly broken cover throwing out wide green leaves so I am hopeful for a good crop. Lots of other seeds haven’t emerged yet but as a gardener you must have patience (it has taken me years to realize this). You also need to accept the disappoints of plants looking great then wham, bang turning into a sad, weak, wilted little disasters. But all in all it is wonderful to be out in the warm fresh air messing about with the soil.
So my knitting has now been sidelined. In fact I am trying to be more organised and not so slap dash. Ideas need to be noted for future reference. I have only just realised how much I have been working out with colours and shapes, designs and textures and unless you stop, think and record you could be wasting all that work and information you have been gathering by not taking note of it. But pattern writing is quite difficult even if it is your own pattern. So I am trying to find a compromise where I can write a vague description which gives the jist of how you achieve a certain effect. BUT the garden is weeding out (!) all my energy at the moment but I am hoping that as I get use to wheeling barrows etc etc etc I will recover quicker and find time for both my loves. Of course walking the dog is always fitted into the equation! And the evening is always a time for handknitting or crochet.
Well, today I have been clearing around the polytunnel skeleton because we will be re: covering it very soon. Oh how I miss my polytunnel. When the weather is nasty you can disappear into the tunnel and find something nice on the radio and be amazingly productive with seed plantings and transplanting young plants and feel warm and dry. Having greenhouse or polytunnel just makes gardening more creative and nurturing. I’m sure my plants would tell me to ‘shut up’ if they had the chance – I not only talk to them but sing as well! Poor dears they are a real captive audience.
I finished my very enjoyable Collagraph course. Just a couple of things I did. Highly recommend the experience to anyone.
times are hard. It seems the whole world is struggling and I’m in there thrashing about with the best of them.
But I get on my local bus and Alan the driver always greets me by name as he does most of his passengers. And if Davy, who uses his bus pass to gently while away the day by just sitting and observing to and fro on the local journey up past the Beauly Firth, can help someone with a pram or a suitcase he does with pleasure and a shy smile. People are basically kind and friendly – we all need a pat on the back occasionally and we all blossom when we are acknowledged for just being a person. Because I am retired and my hobbies are quite isolating climbing onto ‘my’ transport taking me into the ‘world’ has become a simple pleasure. Now and then I do miss not having a car but I only have to look at the debit and credit accounts on owning a car and I know for once I’m on the right side.
Not long ago I signed up for a course at the Highland Printmakers Studio ( should be able to link this but sorry I haven’t got there yet). A really great place full of creative energy and very helpful, friendly artists who are eager to share their enthusiasm. As I have no knowledge, or experience of printmaking I just found a course that still had room which was Collagraph. Never heard of it but thats what I wanted to go and tackle the unknown! Next week is the last of a 6 week course and I have really enjoyed myself. Back to childhood covered in glue and ink, thank goodness for aprons. I have started drawing again I have been made more aware of shapes and textures and my first love colour was given free rein but in a new constrained way. I loved the way you created a ‘block’ you printed from with paper, card, bits of fabric, cotton thread, string pretty much anything that would work all torn or cut into shapes and glued onto card – the net bag lemons and oranges often come in add brilliant texture.. Then you applied printing inks – hard work this as you had to rub into all the edges then remove some etc etc etc. or you used a print roller for a different effect. The inking is up very interesting as there is always an unknown element after its been under the press. So exciting as all the protective layers are stripped away and you gently peel the dampened paper of the block to either a shocked silence or a little yelp of pleasure. I am now busy at home making a ‘block’ for the last session – its been a fun experience and pushed me gently along a path I know I want to explore and enjoy much more.
Just wish the weather would cheer up a bit. But the potatoes are coming through and so are the cabbages and leeks must check on the broad beans. Indoors my tomatoes seeds have germinated as have the cucumbers and peppers so now I have to nurture them onwards and upwards. The polytunnel eventually gave up the ghost this winter but we can re-cover it so all will be ready (hopefully) by the time the tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers need to be in their warmer home to grow and produce some wonderful fruits. I realise with gardening you either love it or tolerate it or hate it. Like most things I need to get into the mood but once in I love to garden. For me its a great big adventure playground and in fact this year I am going to put up our big green canvas tent to use as a summer house plus the barbecue and a mattress and a sleeping bag and my summer holidays are sorted. The dog will be delighted! If you want to join me bring a tent (and the sun) I’ve plenty of room and you’d be very welcome!