Diary of the Plague Year: Day 77 31 May 2020: A walk to Froe

The last day of May.

I decided to walk to Froe to collect some veg from J who lives in the Hobbit house.

The heat, even at 4.30, was blistering, and it is quite a steep climb, especially for a fatty like me who has not done a great deal of walking during this lockdown. Every day, I see the same people walking past the house on their constitutionals and keep thinking to myself that I will do the same.

The walk to Froe winds up a hill through woods and next to a stream for some of it. Three cars passed in the hour it took me to get there. All I could hear was birdsong, insects, the wind in the trees and a sudden waterfall. There were two horses in a field full of yellow flag and cow parsely. As I climbed higher, I looked back and the sea had appeared in the distance.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 27 11 April 2020: Hommage to Hieronymous

Having spent the last few days throwing my little mower around and really putting it through its paces I have grown very fond of it. It has mowed its way through really rough grass and weeds and sometimes to a horrible grinding noise as it came across stones, which it contemptuously spat out – sometimes as far as 15 feet. I am not given to anthropomorphism, especially when it comes to inanimate objects but I feel the little Bosch deserves a name, if only for conspicuous gallantry in the field – “arise, Sir Hieronymous”. It is a machine only meant for mowing small suburban lawns and it, like me, has had to acclimatize to a much tougher country life. Perhaps it dreams of a civilized semi-detached residence in Sunningdale …


I now have a haystack in the corner of the field and three distinct areas of mown meadow.

I have close-mown all around the trees in the orchard and have ordered wildflower seeds.  I had estimated the area by some fantastic amount but actually it is an area roughly 50 metres square. Somehow I had calculated 600 metres square!! I will sow the wildflower seeds here.

The next area is at the back of the house next to the painting shed.  I have close-mown here too and will just see what come up.  Ditto, the area across the path under the tree.

The rest of the meadow has been strimmed to height of about 3 cms and it will be interesting to compare.

It turns out I have done exactly the right thing if I want to sow seeds incidentally so am feeling quite optimistic about the wildflowers.

My lovely neighbour, Fionnuala,  has just given me a big bag of grass see which I really need to vamp up the paths in the orchard.  God, gardening is exciting …


Diary of the Plague Year: Day 24 8 April 2020: Wildflower meadow continued …


This morning started off very misty but the sun soon burst through and today was like summer. It was hot work mowing and raking.

According to the purists I have gone about this arse over tit.  The meadow should have been mowed in October/November. Well, I wasn’t here to do it so that’s that. It has now been mowed and I am in the process of hauling the cut grass off it. Some of it I have close-mown, leaving some of it just strimmed as a sort of control. It will be interesting to see what comes up. I just hope I haven’t thrown out the baby with the bathwater though I imagine any seeds in the grass will have been disturbed and dispersed and so as spring seems very late this year maybe no great harm …. what I need now is a deluge. The forecast is good for the next couple of days. I honestly didn’t think I would be happy for it to rain ever again after the winter we have just had.

On the radio – L’apres midi d’un faune.

Diary of the Plague Year: Day 23 7 April 2020: An accidental fern garden

A fern and moss garden seems to have naturally formed along the old garden path.

A great deal of moss seemed to grow during the winter months and there is little colony of ferns and mosses forming quite serendipitously. It would be almost impossible to plan. I love it when this sort of thing happens in the garden and the plants seem to decide for themselves.