Sumer is icumen in

‘You’ve got an allergy to the garden,’ he pronounced.

I wasn’t impressed.

‘What, after 14 years?’

‘Yes. Allergies come on suddenly, especially in old age.’

I had done some gardening on our first day. I was threatened with the evil hedge-cutting machine if I didn’t prune the plumbago round the gate which I did in the heat of the day. Complete with hat, natch.

Jasmine, plumbago and pelargoniums
Jasmine, plumbago and pelargoniums

Leaving La Linea around 7.40 am the temps were 27/28. Arriving on the coast at the finca around 10 am they were the same. No idea what it was at lunchtime. Next doors told us the weather has been hot, hot.

In the cool of the evening, it was pointed out some of the rose blooms were dead. As if I hadn’t noticed. I dutifully dead-headed.

Next, although el jefe (the boss) hadn’t pointed it out, I started on the winter (pink) jasmine. Now it’s finished flowering I could cut back the remains to tidy up the plants. From memory, I think they flower on new growth, so it’s important to cut back the old as quickly as possible. This could have been the source of the sore throat and coughing.

Meanwhile the veg garden needed little attention. Carrots, garlic and lettuce grow happily together. The odd stray basil seed and spinach seeds have found their way in. No matter, this will be the last crop before the heat of summer.

Happy veggies
Happy veggies
Carrots from the veg plot
Carrots from the veg plot
Nasturtiums, flowers and leaves are tasty, not sure about pods
Nasturtiums, flowers and leaves are tasty, not sure about pods

José has been diligently watering for me, so they haven’t all dried up in the absence of rain.

This lettuce has bolted but it has a pretty blue flower. In fact I think it’s escarole (broad leaved endive as opposed to the curly one). I had two packs of lettuce seeds, one was red, the other was escarole, and as this isn’t red, it must be escarole. It’s germinated well, I’ve got some nice succession crops coming along. What I didn’t do, was tie up the leaves, or cover them, hence, no inner white leaves.

Escarole flower
Escarole flower

From my DK Organic Gardening book:

Runs to seed and becomes bitter in hot sun.

Varieties for winter: Batavian Broad Leaved and Escarole.

So that’s clear. Definitely escarole. Not sure I’m bothered about bitter leaves as I like sharp greens anyway. Might attempt a cover up of some of the later plants as an experiment.

The same book told me to cut back my artichoke plant after it flowered to 12 ins, which I dutifully did. Four side shoots sprouted. By the end of March last year I had four artichokes. This year? Nada. Except, finally, at the beginning of June, one tiny blown crop. Huh. Don’t believe all you read in gardening books.

Sad lonely artichoke
Sad lonely artichoke

Look at this succulent coming into bloom. Looks like asparagus. Maybe I should source some asparagus crowns. It costs £2.50 for a decent bunch in Gib from the veg shop, and €1.19 (on offer) in Spain from the village super.

Wish they were asparagus
Wish they were asparagus

Indoors, the bathroom sink appeared to be leaking. Or a dog had peed in the bathroom. We put a bucket underneath to test the leaking sink theory as opposed to a dog having a leak theory.

I went to the toilet at night and thought I saw a faint shadow. Looked again, nothing. Then it moved. Scuttled. I gave a slight scream. Well, I thought it was slight. Partner didn’t. He encountered it (dead) the next morning when he was fixing the sink – the rubber seal had gone. Our theory regarding the cockroaches is that they come to our place because we don’t spray, so they scuttle out of next doors into ours. The spray smells disgusting and I don’t want to breathe it, and I don’t want my dogs breathing it. Or my geckos.

Such excitement in less than 24 hours. And I haven’t even mentioned Spanish drivers.

Rules of the autovía:

Give way markings on the slip road mean the person entering the autovía has right of way.

The person entering does not need to indicate.

Indication does not mean, I intend to move over when it’s clear.

Indication means, I am pulling on right now so get out of my f****** way. Even if you are a dirty great big Land Rover.

When in doubt, always speed up, even if slowing down or maintaining the same speed would involve a safe clear entrance onto the autovía. So much more fun to play chicken and escape someone’s bumper by inches.

The sign for the autovía says ‘Autovía. For your safety’.

Still, there is always cycling. Partner went on his daily cycle ride and noticed a new bike shop. He stopped to talk to the owner. He had eco-bikes. KTM. Would Partner be interested? At €3,000. No. Partner pointed out his shopping bike was the ultimate in eco-bikes. Thrown out outside our house and recycled (so to speak) by him. Recycling is far more ecological than buying new. Although I appreciate it doesn’t boost the economy in quite the same way.

Apparently the bike shop owner cycles. Sometimes. He also has three De Loreans, a Ferrari, and his daily runabout is a Disco.

To end with a greedy demanding dog …

Give me that sandwich!
Give me that sandwich!

55 comments on “Sumer is icumen in

  1. I hope he gave pods some of that sandwich! ;) Lovely to learn a bit more about your vegetation… loved those carrots! I like Jasmine too. Very nice, lighthearted post… now get back to work! :D


    • Not sure. Pod only likes bread with butter. And that was butter free. So probably not.
      Home grown carrots are just … mmmmmmm. I’m going to grow some more, come next crop rotation of roots. I love the jasmine. The combination in the garden means we have it all year round.
      Work. That’s an interesting one. I was contacted today by an old girl from my school who read the blog post I did about selling off the family bronze. Was I any good at research. Yes. Oh good, can I get on with x, y and z? No. Not without remuneration. I have paying customers who come first. I ain’t researching auction houses and inheritance law for nothing and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to. Mind you, when you charge … £1000 … for an interior design consultation you can probably afford to work for free. But I don’t so I can’t. Rich people have a habit of pissing me off sometimes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tell her I’ll do for ten G’s :D Some people do have a bloody cheek, though. Like, you owe them something for knowing them? Lol Your garden looks really nice btw.

        Our cats love butter… not the bread, though. ‘give us butter, keep nassty bread! :D


        • I don’t have a clue who she is. Although she has stopped pestering me now. Must have been the point about her exorbitant rates that I mentioned.

          Tosc will eat the bread. Snows? Licks off the yeasties and butter as well. He is cute though :)

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I can see – and feel – the shimmering heat in those photos, roughseas.

    We ate the new growth on our (last year’s) kale this year. Apparently, before the flowers come out, one can slice off the ‘shoots’ and add some garlic – it was yummy. Didn’t have a chance to eat it again, as the flowers came out too quickly! We’re just planting our ‘this year’s’ crop today – have squash ‘sets’ and seeds, cucumber seeds, tomato sets, and assorted others. OH, and I’ve got herbs started. We gave up on carrots, our ground’s too rocky. Poor carrots are terribly misshapen, although it’s one of the veggies I love the most – few things taste as lovely as a freshly-pulled carrot. A few wipes across the pant leg, pop off the tail at the bottom. . .yum.


    • Fresh carrots really come into their own I think. Toms are good, and our broad beans were. Oh and potatoes. And garlic. OK pretty much everything!!

      There is a lot of sun in those photos. And most were taken early. Certainly the garden ones. The día del pedal was just turned eleven. Who in their right minds cycles at that time of day in Spain? Seriously? My partner leaves for the town shops at half eight to get there when they open at nine.

      The kale growth sounds like cutting cabbage and getting the new shoots. Yeah. Wecould have eaten the artichoke stalks. Maybe. But, they didn’t appeal. I like the hearts.

      I’ve got loads of parsley and basil, so I usually bring a plant or two back each time. Sown some more cilantro as that’s all gone to seed, hope it’s not too hot for it. Mint is ok, but not prolific. Went mega in the UK. Still got some thyme. Dill died in five minutes flat, oregano was ok, but faded in the end. Chives :( Interesting the good UK herbs hate my finca! Hardly surprising. Oh and the rosemary is lovely, bees adore it too. Good luck with all yours. Take it R will be in charge in summer?


      • Yes, he’ll be in charge. When we were going through the seed packages, I held up a package of cilantro and he just wrinkled his nose. His reply was, “What the hell am I going to do with THAT?” Something’s telling me it won’t make it to the garden. .. :)


  3. I hate the Autovia – mind you driving on any road in this part of the world is dicey. I cannot believe the highway code is taught in Gib. The amount of people who jump red lights (on pedestrian crossings – swerving to miss the pedestrians) and go straight through junctions when they should give way etc etc. Winds me right up! Your veggies look fab. We’ve just got chillies and citrus this year.


  4. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but I “grew into” allergies at about 42. Mouldy house. Couldn’t taste for a year and then, from time to time after that. It was the worst thing anyone could have cursed me with. Fortunately we moved out of the house (we had wanted to buy it – imagine?) – the owner wanted his sister to move in. The new place wasn’t damp and the allergies cleared up – pronto. Now they only return in spring, when the wind blows and when the farmers spray. Sigh…

    I do hope that whatever it is, is short lived and that you outgrow it as I did!

    I have no doubt that Partner shared his sandwich with the Pod…..


  5. Jealous of your carrots. I have a recycled bike. Bought new by some bloke for £700 but he sold it to me at a car boot for £35. Very happy I was. Still am… that was years ago. ;-) Indeed I improved the comfort by about 100% yesterday by putting the saddle up. Have no idea why I didn’t before – something to do with being able to put both feet flat on the ground and not tip McMini off, I think.

    Not sunny here but it is hot. And I’m sneezing, too.




    • Carrots aint easy here. But. Yum.

      Bike lecture. Hip height for saddle. Tippy toes not flat feet. Rob van der something has a great book. Height of saddle is critical.

      I think my sneezes will go. It just happens. Crap though isnt it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely. Thanks for the bike hint. That’s about where it is. It was feet flat because McMini was on the back in his seat and tended to wriggle… and I mean really wriggle, more like flail to be honest, it was grand mal seizure style flapping about of limbs interspersed with gleeful whoops and shouts of joy. After that, I kind of forgot for two years… yeh, I know but the Mum thing does that to a person. It’s much easier now he has his own bike.




        • Partner is bordering on anal regarding saddle height, so much so, he’s got me into it. It does make sense reading the theory about cycling and getting maximum power from the pedal stroke. MacMini sounds like I imagine what it would be like carting a dog around. Except they would no doubt jump off/out at the sight of something To Chase. Possibly the worst was me on the tandem. If I thought Partner was going too fast and I started exhibiting Out Of Control symptoms I would jump off before we crashed. Trouble was doing that he invariably fell anyway :D (unlike me though).

          Liked by 1 person

  6. The pot of succulents is very nice. Yea, the rich one would have ticked me off too. The rich “always” want lesser folks to work for free. I’ve seen that scenario many times. The pics of Snowy are so damn cute.


    • I like succulents. And living in a hot dry climate I think they are sound plants to have. Plus aloe vera is so useful for any skin problems, cuts, bites etc.

      Ah, you read my comment to Kev :D If I’m going to give my time for nothing then it will be for animals. But I’m not some little slave to some woman who charges an absolute fortune in consultancy fees. Money’s limited and I can’t afford to work for nothing spending a day researching on the internet. Apart from anything else, food needs to be cooked, dishes need to be washed (no dishwasher), the flat always needs to be cleaned, and as the vampire upstairs was partying on from 4.30 am I was extremely tired.

      My partner did a small job for someone, say half an hour’s work and was happy with the pay. He was telling an acquaintance about it, who said ‘that’s a bit mean’. Yet, when partner was doing a job for this same acquaintance he expected two hours work for the money partner earned in half an hour. Partner left after a day’s work. It’s all down to perspective. And greed.

      I’m afraid Snowy has us wrapped around his little dew claws.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t have a dishwasher either. Speaking of work and getting paid. It seems that the nicer a person is, the more you will be ill treated. I’ve seen it time and time again. There is no respect or a return favor for doing countless things for folks. I just get so disheartened. Just go my feelings hurt by my son’s girlfriend . I have given her and my son so many things. I asked for a simple favor and she made excuses that it will have to be another time. I will remember.


    • Time at the finca seems to be suspended. It’s a strange vortex.

      The traffic rules leave us perplexed. Although we have been here for years, the sheer disregard for the rules of the road still amazes. I wonder how people got driving licences.


  7. I would have given your doc lip for his old age quip!
    I think your succulent may be what is called Mother-in-law’s tongue. Don’t quote me. Have no idea the correct botanical term.
    I am seriously jealous of the sunshine over there. I am wrapped up in jersey’s and a woolen bobble hat – without the bobble.
    Down here it is frakking freezing. Mist like a London fog blown up from the valley, which is now shrouded. It rained too. In winter for the gods’ sake! This is Johannesburg. It’s not supposed to rain in the middle of winter. Even a report of snow over in Lesotho.


    • My doc? You mean my partner? Used to his quips after a few years.

      No. MIL is sanseveria. Got that too. Luckily not got the MIL.

      I never moved for the sun. He likes it. Makes no difference to me. Love fog and mist though!

      Saves on heating bills though :)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m not familiar with the autovia, but I am familiar with the type of driver you describe. How more people don’t killed or maimed on the road due to aggressive driving I don’t know. There’s always some lout who seems to think he’s on a Formula 1 course, and to hell with everyone else, whether they be a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian.

    Love the “greedy, demanding” dog. He just wants his cut of the goodies, right? And when the taxman comes you best pay up.


    • I’m sure it’s little different to your freeways, although mostly two lanes, sometimes three, very occasionally four but only in a merging or filtering scenario. It’s not just the speed. It’s the sheer ignoring of give way signs. Merge in turn is one thing, but give way is clear. Well, not to Spaniards.

      In the country it’s another matter, sheep, draught oxen, horses, most people are courteous. They just lose it on the autovia.

      The greedy demanding dog is improving. He doesn’t bark and grab any more. The new one is good too. We shared yeast extract on toast today to her delight. The little one remained on his chair. No toast without butter for him.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. The header photo of Snows is my favourite. He clearly ‘owns’ that chair and I am sure everything around there. :D

    ‘Old age’ – what old age? LOL! The clever folks say that ‘allergies are due to immune system pathways that lead to inflammation after an encounter with allergenic proteins in the environment and that these proteins are often from plant pollen, animal dander, insect venom or certain foods. ‘ Hmmmm…. guess we’re getting old then. :D Who cares?

    You can always send me some of that heat though. Not very cold here but too cold to start with my summer garden. The previous tenants that lived here didn’t do much gardening and I can’t wait to start with my veggie garden as well. Good ground here. Hope I can do as well as you do with your gorgeous veggies and flowers. I would be a happy veggie as well if I grew in your garden. :D

    Love the Escarole flower. What a beauty!

    Awww, even I felt sad when I saw the lonely artichoke. Don’t believe everything you read ever. LOL! But I am sure your arti will have some new mates soon.

    You do have stunning succulents there darling! Yes, if only they were artichokes. :D

    So, you still have problems with the roachies? They should make a law against neighbours who spray nasty stuff and poisons in their gardens and homes. If those stuff can kill a cockroach, what won’t it do to a human or animal and it will definitely poison the geckos. Nasty people!

    Seems in every town or city there will always be bad drivers. Clearly some folks don’t care about the rules or others safety or their own. They should force people do ride bicycles. Don’t you think that would be better? Way better for the environment as well.

    That’s a lot of money for a recycled bicycle and I can see how the owner can afford a Ferrari. Wonder if they’re recycled as well? I think partner have a snazzy bicycle though. :D

    The last shot took the cake! Adorable! Looks at that little face! Here he can have anything he want. Who can resist a cute little demanding face like that?

    Otherwise, how are all of you doing? And what is Tosca up to? Lots of Hugs and Kisses to all of you darling. Take care. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the header photo shows his spoiled life! But, practically, he likes to lie outside, he’s albino, so a sunshade works (plus it was a freebie).

      I did wonder if I was becoming allergic to dogs :D

      My garden seems to look after itself. Probably the lack of pesticides :)

      We don’t have too many, just usually when the neighbours spray. I’m guessing our geckos eat the unsprayed ones but the chain effect does concern me.

      They do try and encourage cycling round here eg the Cycle Day on the photo of families, young kids, oldies, but not us. Group cycling for the sake of it isn’t our thing.

      Neither are expensive bikes. Lost count of the number we’ve rescued when people threw them out. But, with Spain’s poor economy, people are getting rid of cars now, not bikes!

      He knows he can have anything he wants. That’s the problem! Toscy is not so demanding. She just reaps the benefits as everything gets shared equally.

      Hope you are fully settled in. It will soon be two months, so you should be :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, he definitely deserves to be spoiled. He is such a darling! :D

        Not really the dogs or their hair I would say. Mostly pollen that stick to the hair and lack of pesticides in a garden is always a good thing. I would think your immune system is just a little bit down – as we age it does happen. Get some vitamins and look after yourself. Us women tend to think of ourselves last. :D

        That is the main problem – the chain effect. It is a concern.

        I wish they do would do it all over. It would be nice to see only cycling in town, instead of cars. :D

        That sounds great and it’s a good thing I’d say.

        Of course he should have anything he want. With a face like that, who can resist anyways?

        Awww, isn’t that sweet. Clearly she didn’t have the same ‘spoiled’ upbringing that Snows had.

        Sure are and some days I am totally bored as cleaning the house is so fast and I can sit for hours at the back and watch the birds enjoy the seeds and fruit. So much that I forget to blog or even go on the internet. LOL!


        • Just a load of stress around right now. Money. The usual. :( it is affecting us both. We worry about our future. What future? Cycling is good, just, not easy to transport doggies …

          But, I loves my boy and girl. They can have what they want. Just like your birds :)

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know exactly what you mean. I think it’s a worry all over for all of us who have to work to earn a living.

            Yeah, you can ask that again. What future? When I see what a struggle it is for young people to find decent jobs, I still wonder how some of them can still bring children into the world. What future is there for them?

            It is and not easy for sure. We should think of a plan to make it easy to transport doggies, especially energetic ones like Snows and Tosca. :D

            I don’t blame you. Anyone who can’t love them isn’t right in the head. LOL! Of course they can have what they want. They are special babies and adorable. Yes, just like my birdies. We do love our nature kids, don’t we? :D


          • Yes. Agreed. The future doesn’t look too bright to me. At whatever age.
            I should probably harness them up, husky style, and let them pull me around. They have boundless energy so that might work.
            We love most non-humans. They are undemanding (apart from at breakfast time – thought about you yesterday, we had cheddar and tomato and onion sandwiches, toasted) and don’t cause problems. All they want is a peaceful life, food and somewhere to live. Yet look at our monkeys. People steal their environment and get annoyed with them. Bad people 👿

            Liked by 2 people

          • I feel the same. Some days I just don’t have any hope either.

            hahhaha! Now that’s a good idea. I think they will love that and that is a fact.

            We do indeed and no matter how demanding they do seem to be, they do it in such a way that you just can’t take offense.

            Oh, yummy! That sounds delicious. One of my fav snacks indeed. :D

            Well said. That is all they want and definitely deserve. Yes, that annoy me as well. The people, not the monkeys. People didn’t ask their permission when they took over their habitat. Bad and stupid people indeed.

            Liked by 2 people

          • I always try my best to be. No use in being negative or pessimistic. Doing my best to ‘go with the flow’. LOL!


          • You don’t have to tell me that. Each day is a struggle, but as long as we have our loved ones and furries, a roof over our head, food in the tummy, everything is all right because that is already a lot to be thankful for.

            It sure does and I guess that is why I don’t have much patience with most people, because of all the effort it takes just to stay sane and optimistic. Bad things happen, bad people are everywhere. All we can do is be the best we can be and try to make the world a better place. :D ♥

            Liked by 1 person

  10. Very interesting and fun to read post. All of your plants and veggies look great. That one artichoke did look a bit lonely. The purple flower on the lettuce plant is beautiful. It sounds like the bike shop owner does very well….those are some expensive rides he has. Snowy is looking very good…did he get that sandwich? We send lots of hugs and nose kisses, Mags, Chancy and Pooh


  11. Got some smiles from the pup pictures. We’ve been under extreme heat warnings (100 F with high humidity) and it’s so bad Molly goes out expecatantly looking forward to play only to quickly decide she’d rather go back to sleep under the fan. With the heat/air inversion allergies are pretty bad right now here, too.
    It’s so typical of summer: Roaches tend to come in looking for water – it’s a battle but dogs have usually discouraged the unwary invader.
    Obviously the bike shop owner has his maraket pegged. The prices are stunningly high – and that people will pay that is even more amusing. My old one keep rolling along. (Probably an antique now)
    Enjoyed your pictures ( I beat back our plumbago recently – it will not take the hint). The carrot is a great picture! (going on blog break shortly. Headed to mts for a while – not long enough!)


    • Pup pix are indulgence for the pup minded. No fan here. Motor packed up ages ago. We would put it on for Pippa but these two aren’t as big and furry.
      Our bathroom is nice, cool, shady, perfect roachy place. Wouldn’t be so bad if they stayed still, but they move so suddenly. Wretched scuttling.
      Bike shop owner seemed like a wheeler (ha!) and dealer to me.
      Plumbago makes a great hedge. Partner loathes it, I love it :D The carrot was delicious :)
      Buen viaje. Enjoy the cool mountain air. Play well Molly.


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