It all started really well, my garden was beginning to look good, flowers flowering, roses budding, and the tortoise warming up nicely. I have even grown tomatoes in special tomato grow-bags which have done what they were meant to – so exciting picking tomatoes from my own plants! We had loads of days of hot sunshine and by the time we got to St Swithin’s Day in July, it was all set fair for the rest of the summer.
We had drinks, lunches and teas in the garden on more occasions than I can remember and several days on the beach. Children of mine, you will know that I don’t really do swimming, or getting my hair wet, or cold English sea. But this year was different, I have now swum in the sea more often than ever in my whole life – three times! And I got my hair wet, totally by accident mind you, because the waves were a bit too wave-like and splashy, but I didn’t have the usual wobbly hissy fit. Plus, swimming makes the Hocking’s ice-cream afterwards, complete with chocolate Flake and a dollop of clotted cream on top feel slightly less guilt inducing. My favourite beach at Northam Burrows was bliss, acres of sand, blue skies, blue sea, and the ice-cream van parked conveniently close by.
My garden has never looked better. Gertrude Jekyll I am most definitely not, but I have to say that my roses have been extraordinary. I love David Austin roses and this year they looked splendid. I picked them often and they looked just like the photographs in the David Austin brochure – might even have to send them a few to show how even an incompetent gardener like me can grow something so totally beautiful.
Then August arrived and it all went badly wrong, it rained a lot, strong winds battered everything down, the tortoise sulked and so did I. Grey overcast skies do nothing for one’s mood, and the invitations to various friends, family bods etc to come and enjoy hot days in Devon sounded rather empty. I blame Hurricane Bertha entirely which must have done something to the jet stream to change everything so much. We have even had to have the central heating on in the evenings recently. All our summer guests enjoyed themselves though, if you can’t spend the day on the beach or Exmoor, you can always enjoy the most amazing local food, so lots of Devon Ruby beef, fish, clotted cream and damsons, not to mention the cakes and crumbles that a rainy day insists on.
Today is the last day of August with Autumn arriving in a few weeks, children will be going back to school in a few days including those lucky enough to be in my beautiful daughter’s new class in London. September is usually a wonderful last hurrah of the summer and from the forecasts looks like it may be. I don’t have to put my garden chairs away quite yet, my roses are once again covered in huge buds, so I have put the white wine and the rosé back in the ‘fridge and am looking forward to several more sunny lunches in the garden with the tortoise. Now where is that Prosecco that I won at the Filleigh Car Fest?