‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …