Wednesday 24 March 2021

Paul the Blackcurrant

Yesterday afternoon I found a tall cardboard box outside our door. It contained a tall budding stem in a plastic pot and a smaller, somewhat prickly stem attached to a beanpole. These were our new blackcurrant bush, which I have named Paul, and our new gooseberry bush, which almost inevitably is named Goose. 

Gooseberry bushes are self-pollinating, said my beloved Fruit and Vegetables for Scotland. It did not say this about blackcurrant bushes, so I did some extra research. Apparently it is not good for blackcurrant bushes to be alone, and so I have ordered Paul a spouse, Pauline. 

This morning I weeded, dug and composted the raised bed beside the shed and put Paul in. Then I dug a hole for Goose in one of the beds beside the apple tree, in front of the nodding daffodils and behind the blown snowdrops. Gooseberries are one of Scotland's hardiest fruits, so I am not very worried about Goose. I am a little worried about Paul. 

"I am now going to talk about the blackcurrant a lot," I warned Benedict Ambrose as we went for a short walk along the river, up the hill upon which Romans once lived, and down to the supermarket. However, the blackcurrant was driven from my mind when, on a rather wild bit of land at the end of a half-hidden green corridor, we saw a young deer with short, half-formed antlers. We stood stock still, apart from me taking out my phone to photograph the lovely thing, but he still leapt away. After that he stayed outside photographing distance and was joined by two other deer among the trees and the underbrush. The smell of foxes was very strong, and I was delighted that such a wild bit of Scotland still exists so close to Tesco. 

Upon arriving home, I discovered that I don't have to write for work today but instead read spiritual or professionally developing books. So I repotted Auntie Spyder (a spider plant) and ordered six packets of seeds from the trustworthy birthplace of Paul, Pauline and Goose. Last summer, B.A. and I liked the beans best, so I ordered broad beans, runner beans, French beans, and--hope winning out over experience--peas. I also ordered rhubarb and spinach. We still have lettuce, rainbow chard and kale left from last year, and they did very well, despite me ordering them from eBay. One important lesson from last year was not to order seeds from eBay or Amazon, but straight from tried-and-true garden centres. 

I thought I was behind on gardening, but I had a look at my blogposts of last March and saw that I began the weeding only March 23. Well, today is the 24th and I have weeded half the raised bed and the herb garden, plus planted two bushes and a small Tesco rosemary shrub. (The snow killed my last one.) At Tesco this morning, I also bought a coriander plant and a mint plant because the seeds packets cost twice as much. I shall transfer them in the herb garden tomorrow and hope for the best. And if it isn't raining, I will begin to dig the dandelions out of the lawn.

Last March and April I dug the dandelions out of the lawn as a kind of reaction to the lockdown. Naturally none of us knew that lockdown would last this long--although I must say, we in Scotland were a lot more free in August and October and even December than we are now. My hopes of going to Poland to see my little Godling this Sumer are dashed, and heaven only knows when I will set foot in Canada again. 


As I see I use my blog as a reference tool, I will add that I am almost finished translating Mulieris Dignitatem (Godność kobiety) Chapter III, and today's post brought Rilla di Ingleside, which begins: 

Era un pomeriggio caldo, alle nuvole dorate, delizioso. Nel grande soggiorno di Ingleside Susan sedeva con una certa cupa soddisfazione che le leggiava attorno come un'aura...

Lucy Maud Montgomery's original opener, which you can find in Gutenberg, if not on your own shelves, is as follows: 

It was a warm, golden-cloudy, lovable afternoon. In the big living-room at Ingleside Susan Baker sat down with a certain grim satisfaction hovering about her like an aura...

Another detail that might interest me in a year is that B.A. and I are still drinking daily glasses of Berocca (which isn't cheap) and swallowing daily doses of cod liver oil. We are also slimmer than we were on Ash Wednesday (Feb 17), having given up inter alia snacking. B.A. has also followed my example with the stationary bike in the kitchen. 

I have lost ten pounds, thanks not to the bike, which is more of a mood-lifter than a weight-depressant, but to Lent. The lesson here is that snacking is bad, which perhaps you knew. Daily desserts are also bad, but Sunday-and-First-Class-Feast desserts turn out to be good, if homemade, or at least not terribly damaging. When Easter arrives, I will keep the no-snacking and no-daily dessert habit and cultivate such old-fashioned mantras as "I don't want to spoil my appetite" and "I must watch my figure."  

Also, B.A. has been accepted for a post-graduate diploma course in his preferred field, so that is really the great news of the day. 

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