Last night Gail called to ask if I was going for a walk today and could she come with me. She’s in Southampton for the Sunday turnaround and, with Mitch at work, I guess she was at a loose end. To be honest the plan was to walk in the forest tomorrow while Commando does his eighteen mile training run but I’m never one to turn down the chance of a little extra curricular walking.
We met up mid morning and, as I didn’t want to put her off, I decided on a nice gentle circular route, showing her some nice places she can walk on her own if she wants. The sky was overcast, with a threat of rain to come, but my weather app said it would hold off until late afternoon so I figured we would stay dry.
We started off with Millers Pond, chatting as we walked. Gail is not enjoying the Frozen North one little bit. It must be hard to be away from Mitch all week, especially when they’ve just got engaged. The office up there is big, the method of working very much everyone in their own little box, she misses our cozy little team where everyone muddles in and helps.
Gail was surprised how long Spring Road was and, when we got to the pond, we sat for a while on one of the benches and watched the ducks swim towards us through the gaps in the lily pads that cover the surface of the water. “They think we have bread,” I told her, “lots of people bring bread to feed them so, whenever they see people, they think there might be bread. One of these days I’ll bring some.”
Just then we noticed a woman with a dog walking along the pond path from the direction of Station Road. She stopped on the opposite bank and began to throw bread into the water. Gail laughed as all the ducks who had been looking at us eagerly dashed off as fast as they could towards the bread. All except one, slightly dim, duck who hadn’t noticed what was going on and sat looking at us expectantly. Some ducks, in their eagerness to get to the bread before someone else snapped it up, ran across the tops of the lily pads. Comical doesn’t come close to describing them.
Nicely rested we carried on, under the railway bridge and along the butterfly walk through Mayfield park. Last time I came this way I came from the other direction and ended up taking the wrong path and coming along the top of the high ridge looking down on the butterfly walk. Today there were no butterflies, at least not that we saw, just lots of bees. Mind you we were talking so not as much attention was being paid as normal.
Once we’d crossed the little bridge things started to get a little muddy. Time for my plan to change, especially as I wasn’t wearing my hiking shoes and Gail was just wearing canvas trainers. Instead of walking through the woods and picking up the path through Jurd’s Lake we strolled up to the Archery ground and up onto the road. From there it was a short walk down to the shore.
Unfortunately it was quite windy along the shore. We stopped for a little rest but, with all the glass now removed from the beach shelters it was not the most comfortable of rests. For some reason they have also replaced the wide concrete benches inside the shelters with stupid slanted shelf things a bit like the useless seats they put in bus shelters these days. They’re only about five inches wide which, lets face it, even the skinniest arse in the world is going to find uncomfortable, plus they’re slanted at about forty five degrees. What is that all about? Don’t they want people to sit there? We didn’t stay too long.
On the green by the sailing club two men were just getting a large boarding kite into the air. I’ve seen people kite landboarding on this bit of green before and not really known what they were doing but now I’ve Googled it it seems they use a large skateboard and the same kind of kite that kitesurfers use to surf the land. The wind that had caused us so much trouble was perfect for their needs. By the time we’d completed the loop back up, past the green, to the village we’d walked about six and a half miles.
We parted company not far from the place we’d met up. Gail said she was worn out and was going home for a sleep. What a lightweight! Still I guess a short walk for me is a long walk for most people. Hopefully I haven’t put her off coming for walks with me because, even though it meant not seeing as much and taking hardly any photos, it was nice to have a walking companion for once.
The rain came down a little while after I got home which was a pain. There was work to be done in the garden that couldn’t really be put off. The garlic needed harvesting. The scrapes on the ordinary garlic were beginning to throw off little green shoots and the stems had fallen over. My plan was to try and plant the tiny little bubils in the scrapes and hopefully get some seed garlic from them. They won’t produce garlic bulbs until the year after next but I figure it’ll be worth the wait.
So I found myself out in the rain digging up garlic. They’d all bulbed up which was good, although some of the bulbs were quite small. The small ones I’ll plant for next year’s crop. The scrapes looked really heathy so I broke them up and planted them in seed trays. Whether they’ll grow or not remains to be seen but its worth a try.
Most exciting of all I harvested the elephant garlic. The plant with the big flower yielded a huge bulb almost the size of my fist. The other plant, with the small flower, was less productive, just two cloves, but nice big ones. There were also some little corms growing from the roots, apparently these will become single large cloves by next year, I’ve poted them up and I have my fingers crossed. The flower heads, I’ve put into bags to dry in the hope of getting some seed.
We had roasted elephant garlic with our dinner tonight, just one big clove each. It was amazing, sweet and mildly garlicky. Much as I’d like to eat the rest I’ve decided to break them into individual cloves and plant them. Next year there will be more elephant garlic than we know what to do with. Hopefully I can get some of the seed to grow to. It takes about three or four seasons to get to the bulb stage but wouldn’t that be something?
My final job in the garden, before I got completely soaked, was to check out the courgettes. The first fruit is almost ready for cutting and there are several tiny ones waiting in the wings. I have plans for that courgette so I’m leaving it for now in the hopes it grows a teeny bit more before I need it. Despite the abysmal germination rate, one plant from about ten seeds, I will most certainly be planting them again next year.