The downside of these lovely, longer, lighter evenings is that whenever friends pitch up for bridge they can see the garden and say things like: “I know you say it’s your contribution to wildlife but there’s more grass in that border than anything else. Those dandelions are seeding everywhere. When are you going to start weeding?”
My friends are mostly keen and knowledgeable gardeners and my neighbours’ garden is well kept, so it behoves me to make an effort and at least stop my weeds encroaching too far onto their patch.
As the picture shows I’m pretty clueless when it comes to gardening despite the best efforts of my green-fingered advisers but I’m a willing digger and I have some special seeds to plant, to commemorate Katie and Alex’s wedding last month.
Fingers crossed, I’ll get the seeds in before they go dozed – remember the days when that happened to golf balls? – and they’ll flourish. There will be photos.
Indoors, my plants are doing remarkably well. I talk to them nicely; I try not to overwater them; and so far it seems to be working. Perhaps they’re celebrating the coronation of a king who was talking to his plants when it was regarded as beyond eccentric, long before it was seen as quite normal and sensible. His time has come…
But I need all the help I can get!
Thursday a week ago, I was at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the last time this season, to watch Spurs make Manchester United look good for most of the first half. We conceded early, as usual, down our right, as usual and the guy beside me didn’t bother coming back after half time! I tried a slightly different tactic, going for a cuppa just as the second half was about to start.
“We might score now,” I said to Linda next to me. “It’s worth a try,” she said.
By the time I got back with my cup of tea, Linda was ecstatic (I exaggerate a little but not that much – we Spurs supporters are grasping at straws these days): “We’ve got a corner!” she said.
We didn’t score immediately but, glory be, we clawed our way back to draw 2-2 and could have won…But, then, so could they…
We have two more home matches, the first against Crystal Palace this Saturday afternoon and, heaven help me and with apologies to all my republican friends, I’ve decided to stay at home and enjoy the pageantry of the coronation in comfort, with friends with more royalist leanings. There’ll be red, white and blue bunting, coronation chicken, quiche, fizz (English of course, from Cornwall) and lots of commentary on the attendees and the outfits – and puddings. Perfect.
Last Saturday, less grandly, two friends and I headed for Edgbaston to watch Warwickshire play Surrey, the reigning county champions. We took the train, then treated ourselves to a taxi from New Street and headed for the Tom Dollery Lounge, where the members gather. We were in raptures! It wasn’t grand or posh, it wasn’t particularly busy and we felt at home immediately. It was a million miles from the football. So much more relaxing. As long as no one of yours is playing!
We were getting a coffee and asked a wee girl in a pushchair if she was opening the bowling. “No,” said her mother, “but her daddy is.” Blimey, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever be rubbing shoulders with Harry Kane’s wife and kids. As it turned out Daddy was Dan Worrall, one of Surrey’s opening bowlers, who scored what the Warwickshire match report called “a merry 35”, to frustrate the home bowlers.
“You didn’t tell us Daddy could bat too,” we said indignantly. “Now and again,” came the reply.
Warwickshire were walloped, narrowly avoiding an innings defeat and losing by nine wickets on the third day but we loved it all and will definitely be back.
We were lucky because the rain held off – we’d left our brollies at home – and we didn’t have to sit there looking at the covers. We could take drinks, alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic, to our seats outside and it was all very laidback and civilised. No doubt test matches and one-day games are very different, with the ground packed, full of raucous fans and no need for the players to create their own atmosphere and excitement.
Another difference from football was that there were announcements to let the spectators know what was going on! The floodlights were put on near the end and we were immediately told why in some detail, what was allowed and what wasn’t. How refreshing. No keeping these fans in the dark.
It was local election time in these parts and you’ll be delighted to know that I got my postal vote in in time, having put my X in the appropriate places. I found it amazingly tricky to find out much about the people who were standing, trying to delve behind the names on the leaflets but perhaps it was just my lack of technical expertise. The party websites were woefully short of detail, so in the end I took a punt and am hoping for the best…
Think it’s time for a new picture of Alice, living in the moment.