Sunday 31 March 2013

Freeze Dried

Neither of us have seen anything quite like this bizarre weather. We are not complaining that it is unseasonably dry after last summer's sogginess but we are amazed by the weeks of relentless NE cold wind. We used to get NE winds in North Kent, of course, but generally only for a few days. I think I am correct in saying that we had our much trumpeted drought from Valentine's Day round to early March (19 days) and then just a few days of wet before this NE wind arrived on 9th March. That has now blown almost continuously for the 3 weeks since, bringing plenty of clear skies, bitter, frosty nights and just very occasional dust-like frozen snow.

The soil is dry enough to raise dust and what small amount of water there is in the soil is frozen, so unavailable to plants. The poor things are suffering frost/wind-burn like you would not believe, even the known drought-tolerant Mediterranean herbs like Rosemary and some hardy species like Verbena bonariensis (Purple verbena) and perennial wallflower. All the new growth, encouraged into motion by the warmth of our false spring is frazzled, curled and dead like the worst drought. It is one of those things - we assume the plants will recover and produce some new growth from still-dormant axial buds when a proper, more honest spring comes along, thawing the small amount of water that is here already and supplying a top-up.

So, yesterday we completed out dutiful paying of respects to the late James Harrinton. We were off down to the big, drafty, unheated church in Loughglynn for the service, which turned out to be a full Mass (I gather this is unusual for Holy Saturday). The church was packed with maybe 300 folk. We saw John Deere Bob in there sitting away to one side at the back, and we were joined in our pew by neighbour, Una C. I have my first Irish cold bug so I feel very bunged up and moopy, and sitting at the back of this church for an hour had me chilled down to the kidneys. Liz got on OK in a woolen suit and the vintage mink coat (those two thicknesses of 'cloth' even made the pew feel comfortable!) but we were both relieved when it was over and we could shuffle outside into the thin sunshine.

In matters of etiquette I take my cue from JD Bob here, and he had his black woolly 'Thinsulate' hat back on his head within seconds of stepping out into the car-park, so I did too. Also, he was not going out to the grave yard with the hearse and procession, so we took that as permission to also depart and get back into the warm, light the range, walk dogs, do shopping and, in Liz's case get into 'Domestic Goddess' mode baking and food prepping for our guests the next day, now today of course.

Today we are hosts to 2CV acquaintances John and Carol Mellor. I vaguely recognise John from 2CV events gone by, from his pictures in Facebook, but do not know them in any real sense. However, John is organising and fronting up a holiday tour 2CV convoy (They call them 'Raids' in 2CV land) for his Bristol-based 2CV club local group (The Bath Tub Club) in Summer all up and down the West of Ireland and is over here this Easter weekend to 'recce' the route. We saw his notices in the club magazine and, as their route is passing through Connemara, an hour or so away, we decided to offer our house and grounds as a port-in-the-storm, respite from bad weather if they get it, warm dry place to recover, fix broken cars etc. John is delighted with this and, although he agrees the official route is a way off here, has accepted the offer to call by on his recce to get fed and possibly stay overnight. We are doing him slow roasted lamb and assorted other bakery etc. Should be fun and nice to meet some new friends.

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