Gardening In A Pandemic & Adventures in Photography; The Living World

Puffins Reflecting On The Prospect Of A 2020 Bash
Manual Camera Setting. F Stop 5.6. S/S 1/640. ISO 100. 18-55mm lens © Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

Welcome back to the greenhouse. I touched on it briefly in my last missive from the garden, but one of the problems with having an inordinate amount of time on ones hands is finding something to fill it with. Saturday morning I had the pleasure of Mrs C’s company for several hours. She isn’t as rough as me, by a long chalk, and consequently the weed population took a bit of a kicking. I pottered about, as usual, weeding the tomato stitch, while she took on the wider elements. I’m not saying it won’t need doing again, there are always weeds, but her input has meant less to do and more time to plan what to write about.

Zucchini Flower
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

I could have called it a courgette flower, but thought you might like a bit of pretentiousness. There isn’t a lot happening at the moment, beyond things growing. I’m pleased to report that progress right through the house is going a little better than expected and a lot better than it could be. I have a mouse problem, which is taking some sorting out and neither of the cucumber plants have survived but I think it’s quite possible to live without home grown cucumber in ones life. Everything else (furiously touching wood) is going along fine, about half of the tomato plants are already in flower. The peas, broad beans, runners and one french climber are all budding and, contrary to my usual methods, I planted three Borlotti beans directly into the soil which have all germinated. More on these next week, if the pesky mice don’t get them.

$64000? Will They Fruit?
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

The butternut squash (grown from the seed of a bought squash) are looking extremely healthy and I’m hopeful they’ll fruit although it’s equally possible they won’t as they may be sterile male/hybrids. If they do develop into fruiting plants I’ll probably have to remove the smallest of them as they take up a lot of room. Squash makes good soup and a nice base vegetable for a meat free stew or curry, so they won’t be going to waste.

String Em Up!
© Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

After the recent warm spell I kept an eye on the night time temperature forecast and decided I could get away with removing the tomato fleeces. I “strung” them up on Thursday this week, removed the temporary support canes and also the fleece support string. Several of the plants are now over two feet in height, a good start to the season. You can see the vents are open in the roof, I go around in the morning and open them at around 7.30, closing them, dependent on the weather, as late in the evening as I dare.

Don’t Think Much To This Social Distancing Lark
Manual Camera Setting. F Stop 5.0. S/S 1/200. ISO 200. 18-55mm lens © Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

The pandemic continues to dominate our lives, so much so that filling time, especially for someone as easily distracted as me, without watching loads of crap telly or drinking oneself into a daily stupor can be a challenge. I said my piece on it last week and I’m not really any the wiser than I was then. I took a 50 mile round trip drive on Wednesday and walked up Dale How near Crummock Water, before walking a mile or so along the shoreline of Buttermere and finishing up with a wander along the river that runs through Borrowdale. There were warnings everywhere, posted by both The National Trust and The Parks Authority, telling me how to behave and where I could go. The bridge across Dale How beck was fenced off with a metal gate, which I removed. I have a right to roam and saw this as an imposition on my civil liberties. A small act of insurrection in a world gone mad.

Swans Aren’t Solitary Animals, Makes Them Angry
Manual Camera Setting. F Stop 8.0. S/S 1/640. ISO 125. 18-55mm lens © Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

Of course, when you’re out walking, with only a small dog for company and other people as rare as a hens tooth, the mind tends to wander. I saw, at a guess, between 30 and 40 people, including an Italian family with 2 small children (I heard them speaking) and a black family. So much for the “The Lake District Is Racist” trope, so beloved of the Liberals in charge of The Parks Authority. Everyone acknowledged each other, I even had a conversation, at a “safe distance” with a biker from Inskip; there were quite a few bikes on the roads. Over the last week or two, now there is a more “forensic” focus on things, the usual suspects are turning to how the pandemic might have been handled differently had there been a Labour government in place, or even had there been a different, less stumbling and more pragmatic approach from the incumbents. I like to think that shielding of the most vulnerable, a suspension of mass gatherings and an acknowledgement that over 99% would survive Covid-19 virtually unscathed might have made us more accepting of the concept of Herd Immunity, but, again in my opinion, media pressure scotched that approach and the government, in my opinion, was all too willing to go along. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know, but that won’t stop the questions.

Herd Immunity, Can It Work?
Manual Focus F Stop 5.6. S/S1/4000. ISO1600. © Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

At the risk of repeating myself, the whole concept of Lockdown has been relatively easy for my family and me. My eldest daughter has continued to work full time. Mrs C and the youngest daughter are both working from home and although the restrictions on movement are frustrating it isn’t really a hardship, apart from not being able to see the eldest in person. Shopping is relatively painless and the local Farm shop/butcher is well stocked and open every day. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like for those who’ve lost their livelihoods and are living without a garden or an accessible open space, but there’s little I can do about that. I joined the village committee that was set up to help the elderly and vulnerable, but I haven’t been called on as yet and probably won’t be. All in all, apart from the fact that there are people in the house all day and I can’t use my office as much as I’d like life carries on much as it always has.

Swimming Against The Tide
Manual Focus F Stop 5.6. S/S1/1600. ISO1600. © Colin Cross, Going Postal 2020

Summat’s niggling away though, I find it hard to believe that sheer incompetence has us trapped in a kind of stasis that looks likely to continue for some time. I can’t quite get my head around the fact that the word of a discredited Europhile “scientist”, who claimed we were facing half a million deaths without draconian Lockdown measures, was taken as gospel by people who should have been fully aware of both his politics and his track record. I struggle to comprehend how shutting down the very things that are the life blood of our economy while at the same time allowing as many as two million people to enter the country through our airports, completely unchecked, makes any sense whatsoever. I’m aghast that it seems impossible for our Border Force and our Home Secretary to get to grips with the continuing flow of “refugees” crossing the Channel, aided and abetted by a French government which is acting against our interest with impunity.

I really want to believe there aren’t Globalist/Deep State “bad actors” at work here, but the more I observe, the less convinced I become. Back to the tomatoes it is.

© Colin Cross 2020

The Goodnight Vienna Audio file