My turn to cook the supper tonight...Himself has dead cow casserole, or ought that to be dead cow slow cooker, doesn't sound quite right does it...I prepared that this morning and it's been simmering away since...don't know what to have myself though...macaroni cheese probably.
There are times when I'm desperate for a mountain of fresh salad with proper tomatoes straight from the poly tunnel and a hunk of crispy sweet cucumber...tomatoes in the shops don't even smell like anything at all...and taste of nothing either and I won't go near those ramrod straight cucumbers sealed up in a bit of plastic.
The Victorians had glass tubes they put on small growing cucumbers to encourage them to grow perfectly straight...they must have surely taken them off before they grew too much otherwise they'd burst the glass. And I doubt the gardeners' bought new ones each season...
This cottage had a field...rough with countless tyre tracks from tractors and half buried silage plastic which drove me almost demented when I was struggling to pull the feckin' stuff out...Mikey had grown potatoes and cabbages of course, but like so many cottagers he planted them in the corners of hay fields...a different corner each year.
So I dug and dug and pulled out countless entwined nettle roots and mounds of black plastic and very old shoes and boots...then the interesting bits began to appear...clay pipes and pieces of iron cooking pots and marbles...fragments of brown patterned delph and endless horse and donkey shoes.
There is an ancient Victoria plum tree to one side of the plot and under the heaps of rubbish surrounding it was an entire earthenware flagon...it even had the bung still in place. There were old glass medicine bottles and some of those dark green ribbed bottles which indicated they once held something poisonous...
I never quite knew what I was going to unearth next...there wasn't a single beer bottle or Whiskey bottle though because Mikey was a Pioneer and never touched the drink...
As I dug, I planted and sowed at the same time...drifts of Poppies and rows of Scarlet Runners...Broad Beans and Sweet Williams...we bought the polytunnel and two men who knew what they were doing put it up...it was filled with salad vegetables and a Passion Flower which grew and grew like Topsy...I had a dozen little Bantam hens and a shouty Cockerel...they ate up all the baddies and laid tiny dark brown eggs under the Sweet Peas...sometimes one would go missing and reappear with a dozen miniscule chicks trailing behind her.
One year I sold hanging baskets ready planted, and Himself had to take ours down from the front of the cottage because a customer was so upset that we'd sold all the ones I'd made up. Then herbs in pots and we gave away gallons of goat milk for asthmatics and to rub on the heads of prematurely bald men...when I made up bunches of garden flowers into small bouquets, they sold as I was picking enough for the next batch...
The road was open then so we had a more or less constant flow of traffic past the gate...Martin the Millionaire came past every Friday evening and bought whatever was available...he came one day in a Consul with a red leather bench seat in the front and the top down...his three teenage children glowering in the back seat because they said they were quite frozen with the cold having come all the way from Dublin...
Martin was such a lovely man altogether...sometimes he'd call again on the following Monday morning for more flowers to take back to his wife...the bunch on Friday was for his mistress...
Then there was the truly horrid German who gave me the willies and Kit...the very old lady who lived two doors up...used to say as I passed by...'That dreadful furreigner has been to yours again' she saw everything and everybody 'cos she used to lean on her garden gate. I think she'd exchanged 'words' with the dreadful furreigner at some point.
The Jehovah's Witnesses would come and buy eggs and a lettuce or two and one asked what else we grew and I said there were plenty of runner beans...but he'd not eaten nor cooked them before, so I gave him a brief lesson and he went off happy with his armful of runners.
One day a girl called selling fresh fish from her van...she spent ages showing me how to wrap eggs individually in pieces of newspaper when we'd run out of boxes to put them in...'the way me Mammy used to'
My garden is just grass now...the Bantams have long gone for dinner to Foxes and Mink and the myriad flowers I once grew are just a memory...oddly enough I don't miss the garden as much as I thought I would... the hours I spent weeding and planting are totally impossible now and I'd rather have nothing but grass than a garden which is crying out for attention all the time.
We do have a bed in the front with flowers in it and I grow Pansies in pots...they are manageable and Himself can't cut them down 'cos he's a devil with the strimmer so he is.
My old cats live in the tunnel as does the rabbit in the wintertime...the old Fox still comes to steal the cats food from under their noses but there aren't any baby Frogs hopping about in there anymore the way there used to be when it was damp...
Times change of course and something else comes along to take its place...from digging gardens I now dig for Irish history and Viking ancestors...and don't get blisters and backache while doing so!