Did you know I had a blog? I'd nearly forgotten about it.
Heck, let's be honest. I'd completely forgotten about it. It wasn't until last week when I was reminded of a smart-assed post I wrote in 2006 about lemon-flavoured toothpaste that I thought to look it up, and look at it again. I'd imagine by now the three or four people who once had it bookmarked in their browser have deleted the entry in some tidy-up or other, but on the odd chance someone feels inclined to look... Hi!
So. What have I been up to since the last time I wrote a letter to the void? I...went to the New Forest for the first time, and loved it. Spouse and I went for our 2nd wedding anniversary this April. It was really lovely. I even took pictures. Have a look!
These are actual highland cows, actually wandering around the village of Brockenhurst of their own accord, minding their own business. The New Forest (established in the 10th century) has always had grazing rights for the common folk on the common land, and while they now have cattle grids everywhere to keep the animals out of gardens and off of the A-roads, they have lived here and done as they pleased for thousands of years (that grass is not mown--it all looks like that from constant, careful nibbling) that the people are expected to look out for them, not the other way around. My travel was regularly interrupted by ponies, cows and donkeys in the road. And the odd pheasant.
The best thing, though, that the New Forest offered? SPACE. We could walk for miles and see horizon in every direction! We could pull off the road and just look! It was Quiet and open and natural and just wonderful. We managed to get there at just the right time, before all the families with small children showed up and made the wildlife all sticky, so it was like adult swim--a place that is usually full of screaming children that for a brief, beautiful window, grown-ups get to enjoy.
OH! and I should mention! I drove a car! On the Left! For a week! And I only panicked for like a third of the time. It only took me 5 years of residence here to build up the courage. I rented a Vauxhall Corsa--quite nimble and comfortable.
A herd of Shetland and New Forest ponies, wandering around on the Common that these folks' houses back up on. I don't know if you, dear reader, have ever encountered a Shetland pony before, but I hadn't, and I Squee'd so hard that one of them actually looked up from munching for a moment. The little one on the right side of the photo is smaller than my desk.
All right, enough "what I did on my vacation". Back to the important business of Plants. This year I'm of course raising tomatoes and courgettes. The snails have already destroyed the middle tomato plant in the picture, one of the courgettes (not pictured) and a dill that was actually fairly well established, I thought. They are mighty vicious little monsters. We kill the ones we find, and to make it easier to root them out and make the place unwelcoming we cut down and cleared out the ivy that had taken over the trellises long before we moved here. The motive was three-fold--the ivy was taking over and beginning to do structural damage, we wanted to reduce habitat for pests, and we want an area to put in a workbench. Bye-bye ivy.
I tried my hand at foxgloves this year. I really like them! I planted them last summer and overwintered as the packet said they didn't mind. They lost a bit of foliage but did fine, and actually this photo is a little old--the rest of the foxgloves have sent up stalks and bloomed, but the azalea is a little past its prime now so I figured you wouldn't mind a picture from last week when both were blooming happily. Peony because it's that time again. I quite like what my camera did with this picture, though I should mention the colours are all wrong. The peony is a gorgeous red, not toner-cartridge magenta.