Sunday, 2 April 2017

Saturday 1st April 2017

Tony arrives from New Zealand next month! Eeek!!

Double eek!

Yes, we enter another month, and as the pages of the calendar pages turn, the weather outside turns very springlike indeed. Although Saturday was going to be mostly dull, Sunday was going to be glorious, so, lots to do, and lots of time to do it in.

As Jools had already been to Tesco, so no shopping needed. And with the first flowering orchid spikes had been seen in Dorset, it was time to go to check the local colonies of Early Spiders. So, with the weather being bright first thing, after coffee we go out in the car to Kingsdown.

Kingsdown is a nice place, but only has a narrow street running from the top of the down to the beach, and with cars parked on alternate sides of the street, it is always a challenge to go down there. I mean there are nice houses on the high street, but traffic would be a nightmare.

Primrose Anyway, at seven in the morning, we are the only car about, people are walking back from the paper shop or walking dogs, doing the usual Saturday morning things And we are doing our normal things, looking for orchids.

We park on the bottom road, I take my camera and walk onto the SSSI area, I know by now by heart where the orchids are, so walk on the paths, taking the correct fork, and about 20m along I find at least seven very health rosettes, some putting up spikes. THey look very healthy, much better than last year when they were wind burnt.

Early Spider Orchid Ophrys sphegodes Nearby there is a huge area of primroses, most the usual yellow colour, but mixed some fine pinks. They look fantastic in the early morning sunshine.

So we go back home for breakfast, or should we go to Samphire Hoe? Only one answer, really.

Eighty nine So, back along the Deal road, down Jubilee Way through the new junctions on Townwall Street and up Shakespeare Cliff on the A20 before taking the turn off to the Hoe. Last year the main group of spikes had migrated to near the car park, but I had already heard that the site is very dry from a lack of rain over the winter, so few spikes were showing. But that doesn't even cover it: I saw no more than twenty or so spikes, most very small and poorly looking. One did have a spike, but at least two weeks away from flowering.

Even worse was the fact that the Dexter cattle are still on site, keeping the vegetation down right where the orchids grow, and compacting the ground even more. I also fail to find any Coltsfoot either, just a couple of very sad looking dandelions along beside the track. If there is rain, the site might improve and the orchids recover. Needless to say, if conditions are bad, the orchids will lie dormant for a year and come back next year, stronger.

It is half past eight, by the time we drive into town, it is quarter too, which means I can park outside the barber's, and get in the queue for a mangle. I am second in the line, so just wait, listening to the banter, revolving around football, beer and sickly children. I get in the chair, and I am shorn, and feel much better for it.

We go back home for more coffee and breakfast, arriving home at just about half eight, with the whole day before us, and all our chores having been done.

Saying that, I had done a check in the freezer and found one pack of sausages and lots of packs of chili and bags of frozen corn. So, that means a trip to the butchers was called for, as Jools fancied steak for dinner that night, and I had been wanting to have roast beef on Sunday.

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris Back into the car, and onto the Sandwich Road, past the massive housing development, where 5,000 new houses are being built. We are dreading at how poorly the roads and infrastructure will cope with all these new Dovorians.

Out to Sandwich, then taking the Canterbury road before striking out over the marshes to Preston. I park the car at the garden centre, Jools goes to look for flower pots, and I go to buy some meat. On top of beef joints, steak, I also get a few bags of wild garlic sausages, with are just wonderful, and made from local ramsons. The boys are pleased to see me, and ply me with fresh doughnuts, filled with jam or custard. I buy one of each, but am given an extra one of each, because we look like we need an extra doughnut?

Jools didn't find what she was looking for, so we load the meat into the car and go back home, listening to Huey as we drive. The countryside is coming alive, new growth wherever you look.

There is the Merseyside Derby on the radio at half twelve, so listening to that I prepare insalata caprese for lunch, and also season the steaks for dinner, allowing them to absorb the ground peppercorns I had ground up.

Liverpool win 3-1, which is just the precursor to the three o'clock kick offs, and Norwich playing at Aston Villa. I had no idea or expectations about the game, so a 2-0 defeat was no real surprise, but disappointing as it really does kill the season off for us. Once again, thoughts go to the fans who made the trip, with the team not putting in a performance that they deserved.

At seven, I cook dinner, and once again, even if I say so myself, it is a triumph. Nothing really quite like a decent steak cooked rare, with home made chips and smoked garlic mushrooms. Yes, we know how to roll.

1 comment:

nztony said...

I made it into the blog! (I don't miss much!)