Archive for the ‘Did’ Category

Making a slow start to a Saturday morning, with stirrings of comforting emotions. Just listened to a tribute to the song “I will always love you” by Dolly Parton on Radio4. In the same way as millions of others, my wife Barbara and I would sing along to this, very loudly, in the car; my best memory of this is on a sunny day on the M40 on the way South to visit Beth in Brighton. I hope that this wonderful, small memory reflects, in its own small way, the truth, as I understand it, of a quotation from James Baldwin, on today’s Facebook for ‘Follies of God’, which appears on my page for some reason from time to time: “Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.” —James Baldwin (THE FIRE NEXT TIME; Vintage Books & Anchor Books).
Inspiring indeed. Today I plan one big, extremely satisfying gardening job while the sun still shines – cutting back the rambling Montana clematis on the side of the house. That may not seem relevant to what has gone before but it is, to me. On a later blog I shall experiment with uploading a photo from somewhere – a tool that I discovered as part of WordPress just the other day, while exploring the Dashboard with my friend Barbara. Now for the old shoes, the steps, secateurs and brown bin…

Jill and Edward now have William, Léo and Toby and Beth and Jim have James Francis, born 7 July 2020. I have recently renewed my interest in an allotment in a small way, thanks to my friend Ian who invited me to share a patch on his large site.

Sadly Barbara died from sepsis on 15 January 2023 after many years of painful suffering. I had had a serious heart attack in April 2022 and seem to have recovered very well with 2 more stents, thanks to the wonderful skills of all involved, from the 999 call handler to the paramedics and Dr Karim Ratib at Royal Stoke Hospital. Thank you to the NHS too!

Quick email I’ve just sent to a friend in Australia. Made me reflect for a moment on some of the better parts of life at the moment:

“Just receiving a few seeds and seed potatoes from the organicgardening catalogue – beetroot; cabbage x2; dwarf beans; onion sets and lettuce. 
The company are a bit ramshackle for ordering online but they get there in the end. You ring up to sort out an inaccurate e-mail  and it’s like interrupting an old dear in her potting shed with a scrap of paper and a stub of a pencil which she licks occasionally – very warm and comforting. They’ve just been taken over by a big seed company so we’ll see how that works out.
Going to a concert at the Victoria Hall tomorrow night, looks good:
Looking forward to getting through February and some warmer days; nevertheless, I got out in the garden the other sunny day and it was very pleasant to get some tidying up done, filling the “garden-waste” brown bin with leaves and dead foliage from last year’s plants. Even hung some laundry out on the line today but the wind was so strong I collected some of it later from the flower beds.
Six Nations Rugby starts this weekend.
Supper-time and bed beckons.

Results of tests show coronary artery disease and I’ve received an appointment to have an angiogram and probable angioplasty at Royal Stoke Hospital on 17th January 2018. Looking forward to meeting the pre-op nurse on 11th and the cardiology team on 17th, when I shall have lots of questions prepared. In the meantime, all Christmas festivities went well, decorations are now down and today Barbara and I visited our allotment aka Alice (first time we have been able since early November) where we found a great deal of weed suppressant cover had been laid down on the crop beds – by my plot neighbour Ian. That’s what real friends of Ian January 2018

My log of my allotment activities. She’s called Alice.

See also from September 17 2013 which I’ve just noticed!

Encouraged by my partner Barbara, I enquired about an allotment on Saturday 14 September 2013 at the Rotary Charity stall at Alsager Civic Centre; after a chat with Derek Hough, the President of Alsager Gardens Association, he gave me the Secretary’s phone number. I arranged to meet Mel Buckingham at Alsager Gardens Association shed in Cedar Avenue on Sunday 15 September. He showed me round part of the whole site and allocated me a quarter plot at 26-A2, see below. It was totally overgrown with waist high weeds but Mel reassured me that they were of a type that pulled up easily! There were signs of a plastic box, some raspberry canes and fruit bushes. It is a long walk from the entrance gate and is adjacent to the wire fence bordering the site and the playing field.

On Tuesday 17 Sep Mel, accompanied by his sheepdog Floss, delivered my key.

This is the view through the boundary fence on Cedar Avenue playing field, before I started or could visit:

Here endeth Chapter One