Sunday, 7 March 2010

Chocolate Apples and Floating Pumpkins*

It is officially Spring. Jackdaws were collecting nesting material this morning; the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the snowdrops and crocuses are finally out in force.

Buds are swelling on the climbers and on the apple tree – which means one thing: I am rapidly losing ground on the pruning. Apple pruning should be done while the tree is dormant in winter – but not when everything is frozen solid – and has proved something of a headache the last few years. When we moved here, the two apple trees had been clipped into a dense, snaggly lollypop shape and then neglected to grow long antlers. (Above is a picture of the tree in my garden in Jan 07, it looks better than that now!)

I have spent several winters on a mammoth thinning and rationalisation exercise, but while it is possible to use secateurs and even a pruning saw with a baby under one arm, long handled loppers? Forget it.

So the unidentified Malus (probably Bramley and Blenheim Orange) keep getting away, but continue to crop heavily, which means that the long, unsupported branches bend painfully double with the weight. Climbing trees with one hand to thin immature fruit is quite tricky too. One day soon I shall mount a ninja-style attack, creeping up on them and whipping them into shape in the blink of an eye…(with a range of well known ninja pruning tools).

It is coming up to the annual chocolate-fest that is mother’s day. Don’t get me wrong, I am very keen on chocolate (preferably Hotel Chocolat, Green and Blacks (cherry), champagne truffles or Bendicks chocolate mints, if anyone is interested), but actually RHS membership seems like a pretty good idea as a pressie for mum. It is not fattening, does no harm to the liver and, unlike a bunch of flowers, it lasts all year. A good choice for thinking offspring.

Just read in Metro that Medwyn Williams is going to create a boat out of a giant pumpkin in aid of Help for Heroes. If true, I wish the redoubtable Mr Williams the very best of luck, but can’t help noting the variable success of other unorthodox craft. The Jumblies, for example, went to sea in a sieve (they did, their heads are green and their hands are blue and they went to sea in a sieve). And the Three Wise Men of Gotham, went to sea in a bowl. (If the bowl had been stronger my story would have been longer). Medwyn bach, you have been warned.

Went shopping yesterday. It appears to be 1985 again. I didn’t like it the first time round and I don’t like it now.

Listening to: Rock and Roll Suicide – David Bowie

*apologies for the missing comma in the title but it is better that way.

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