I was woken on the morning of the storm’s arrival by flocks of Anser brachyrhynchus (pink footed geese) flying overhead. They leave early every year, their departure for summer in Greenland and Iceland heralded by honking. Now their calls were tinged with hysteria and punctuated by squawks of alarm. The windows rattled, the doors shook and the chimneys tootled a counterpoint to the poultry panicking in the sky above. The meteorologists have been salivating over the coming tempest for days. On schedule as promised, Doris made landfall on the north-west coast of the UK.
Helleborus orientalis “Red Lady” (Lenten rose)
I wandered around the garden, tying back anything that had escaped its moorings. I moved quickly through occasional squalls and driving downpours, wind assisted, although perhaps that’s my personal problem. All of the heavy duty supports had withstood the assault of the weather. Sod’s Law states clearly that anything which must be re-attached in a bit of a breeze will have long, sharp thorns, or branches which lash you in the face, or both. Frenzied and inventive swearing drifted over the rooftops, to harmonize with the moaning house and quacking wildlife. The ancient yew trees at the end of our plot have never looked so lively. Neither have the cats, who completed their ablutions as if they had a gale in their tails and rocketed back through the door as if jet propelled.
Primulas (primroses) for planting
Attila regarded my scratched and spoilt features with considerable agitation; usually I don’t come back from a little horticulture in quite such a tattered state. Immediately he volunteered to shop for supplies, in case conditions worsened and we were confined to quarters. I waved him away, so well wrapped in outer layers that he looked like a beach ball wearing large black boots. Upon his return, we delved into bags of produce for re-stocking the fridge. Vegetables stashed, the last of his treasure comprised a wide selection of lilies from Lidl, £2 for three or four bulbs per packet. Pink “Lollypop” and “Muscadet”, white “Rialto”. Bondage wounds forgotten, I arranged them in the kitchen, where I could admire both them and his acumen. How lovely, I knew exactly where I wanted to plant them. My mind was awash with plans for candy sweet, sugar coated subtle confections of petals.
Last of the lot were bags of “Salmon Star”, which gives you a clue as to the colour but no real hint as to the aggressive shade. I hadn’t the foggiest notion where they would fit and get enough sunshine to bloom. I dare not leave the placing to my spouse, who has no problem with clashes which put the wind up me. Unless I take a strong hand, he would be siting orange next to cerise. Into every life a little rain must fall.