Friday 26 June 2020

Mediterranean Weather

I had no writing duties on Wednesday, so Benedict Ambrose and I carved out some time for a long country walk. The sun poured down. It was so warm, he actually wore a Panama hat instead of opting for first degree burns. We started at one of our favourite places--a rural patisserie--and walked some distance to a village with an eleventh century church. It was once a pilgrimage site, and we read the signage across the road with interest. Apparently suffragettes came along and set fire to it in 1912 or so. Everything but the stone (local red sandstone) was destroyed. Fortunately the obsession with Gothic Revival wasn't over yet, so the knighted architect employed to fix it did a good job.

The church is in a small village with heartbreakingly beautiful houses and decent if homely modern houses added on. The views of the variegated fields and hills were breathtaking. We thought about following the road to the sea but our planned route was a circular one, so we opted to look more closely at the village and to finish our circuit of the area. 

There was not much to see in the village but houses and gardens and a red postbox. After a rest on a strip of grass by the main road (the sun was really beating down), we walked onward through a wood and saw, to our left, a stable block so grand and Palladian I took it for the local manor. The local manor is a 19th century castle, now turned into charming apartments. There were also farmhouses and what must have been the castle's old kitchen garden, the wall perfectly intact. 

It was a long walk back to the bus stop, especially in all that heat. However, we continued on along over two bridges and then along a burn and then through fields, taking a last rest by a dungheap, which was not as terrible as it sounds. Then, checking the time, we strode on and at last saw, from the top of the hill, the village from which we would take a bus homeward. 

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and, as usual, one of us checked property prices when we were snug in our own sitting-room. When I was thoroughly rested, I went outside and picked off the horrible aphids (greenfly, really) from my vegetables by hand. I read somewhere that you can vacuum them off, too, and as we have a handheld DustBuster, I will indeed try that. 

Yesterday I was at my desk from 10 to 6, so there were no grand walks. By the late afternoon it was positively hot, though, so when I left my desk we went for a modest walk to the Firth of Forth and even ambled along the beach. As our beach actually has sand, it felt almost like being on the Mediterranean. As we are relatively remote, the beach wasn't crowded either. There was definite social-distancing going on. 

So that's two absolutely glorious June days in a row, tempting me into thinking perhaps tomatoes can grow outside in Scotland after all.  

Speaking of gardening, B.A. put out sliced cucumber in an aluminium tray in the veg trug in the hopes of annoying the greenfly thereby. It's all very hands-on learning, this gardening wheeze. Next year I will plant a border of "companion plants" to fend off the greenfly in the trug and sink beer traps  in the raised bed to drown the slugs. 

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