Pandemic Ponderings #23

Beware the simple task!Painting the decking is a simple task, it usually takes me a day of moving stuff, cleaning, painting and moving stuff back. In normal times getting supplies is a simple matter of going to the local industrial estate to click and collect.We were fooled by two half full cans of our favourite decking paint in the shed. Two of them should have rung alarm bells but it didn’t. Given the luxury of time the deck painting this year has the added glamour of a borrowed power washer, a scrub with soap and some gentle moisturising.With two of us painting this was going to be simple. We would each start at opposite ends and meet in the middle.All went well, the sunshine was fabulous and we made good progress. The paint looked a little different from what we were painting over but we were confident of drying resolving any concerns. Drying did not present us with a gorgeous dark charcoal. More like the charcoal of a barbeque, multicoloured from white to black.The decking paint possibly from two different summers had not overwintered well. On reflection our decking takes a tin and a bit to give good coverage. We had used the partial left over tins left from two previous seasons. Loads of time made us hugely tolerant. We would just consider this an undercoat.In Britain DIY businesses are running click and collect services during the lock down so buying a new supply of our regular Decking Paint shouldn’t have been a problem. Well that was a rabbit hole I hadn’t expected to disappear down for quite so long.Locating the paint was easy enough on many sites but having it in my basket and purchasing it any time before Christmas proved to be impossible. It seemed a multi grey deck would be the look for us this year. To say nothing of the stern warnings about my frivolous purchase being way down on anyone’s delivery schedule. In the face of such opposition I gave up.Our town has one of those huge, cheap outlet stores for food and many other random things you didn’t know you needed. We were in there for some essentials when Charcoal decking paint from an unknown brand grabbed our attention.So cheap we couldn’t not buy it. Two tins so we could use the same technique of both painting at the same time. Not all Charcoals are the same, this one was quite a vivid, lively grey. Not our thing at all but needs must and we finished the job, same technique. When we met in the middle we matched. Then the internet got involved. What you need with grey decking apparently is a ‘ pop’ of vivid orange. Asking an artist for vivid opens up a world of tangerine/orange/ yellow/red or in our case some old theatre prop paint in fluorescent orange. Swifter than you can say Seedless Jaffa an old fruit box that we use as a garden coffee table was turned into a fluorescing creation of truly orange vibrancy.In a heartbeat the decking was restocked with chairs for five people , the vibrating orange table and various planters. Not only that but the cheap out of town store had forced us to buy solar panel Christmas lights, so at night we twinkle,and like something from science fiction the fruit box glows.The simple job took 4 days …

Snowdrops

My first snowdrop of 2020. Known as the February Flower expected to appear at Candlemas on February 2nd. Always earlier in Southwest England. Stories stick to this little bulb which is the first to bloom in Cornwall as a sign of approaching Spring.

In the Creation story, it was gifted to Adam and Eve by an empathetic angel after they were cast out of Paradise following the apple incident. Gifted to give them hope of a future beyond banishment after their great transgression.

Neil Gaiman also gave the Snowdrop a positive spin in his novel Stardust giving it magical qualities.Character Tristan carries a small glass snowdrop to protect him from witches bad spells.

Not all myths and stories that are woven around the Snowdrop are positive . The Victorians blamed Snowdrops being brought indoors for causing the death of family members but the Victorians blamed lots of things for the death of family members. It can be known as the Death Flower.

One intriguing coincidence is that the snowdrop is believed to be the herb Moly mentioned in Homers Odyssey. Moly was given by the God Mercury to Ulysses to protect him from forgetfulness caused by poison. In the same poem it was also used to cure group amnesia . In the twentieth century it was discovered that the bulbs of snowdrops contain Galanthamine, an alkyloid used to manage Altzeimers Disease.

Advent#15

Foraging.
Last year I was gifted a beautiful Christmas wreath. It lasted more than a month and when I came to throw it away I noticed it was formed on a very substantial frame. The frame went into the garden shed along with all the other really useful things we archive for an undisclosed moment in the future. Today, our morning dog walk was also a foraging trip for winter greenery. We didn’t particularly plan to break any rules or trespass but secateurs on a dog walk do give a scintilla of being up to no good. It’s a good thing we hadn’t planned anything bad as we met some friends, Mike and Shirley, as we set off. They were dressed as proper walkers, it would never do to implicate bona fide walkers in sculdugery.

The nature reserve where we walk is beautiful, so we just talked and walked for a while.

Soon enough though, a lovely bag of greenery had been harvested and as luck would have it, on our return journey, we also found some thrown away bits and pieces from old flower arrangements that had become virtually dried. It was all gathered together in the kitchen and something festive was created, fueled by tea, naturally.

I’m not sure how much this resembles a traditional Christmas wreath but it cost nothing and will brighten up our home for the last seven days until the Winter Solstice.

A Planter, or not?

IMG_0655.JPGOh dear, yesterday, we popped into Stax Reclamation to buy a door to turn into a garden table. Barely 5 seconds in, we were seduced by this old water tank with printing on the side. Only there for a few minutes we could have bought loads of things. I particularly liked the old dentist chair with clamps to hold the patients head still. We didn’t buy the door though, a fine excuse to browse again.