Well, the recovery from Flu took rather longer than I had thought it would. Last week was still a bit of a struggle, but day by day my appetite, and strength returned, to the point where I would say I’m about 80% back to normal. As I mentioned last week, I think that this was only the second time I have had Flu, so I’m hoping that that’s my lot. Interestingly I discovered during the week that of the seven of us that went walking in Derbyshire 2 weeks ago, 4 of us got ill within a day or two of our return. Some passed it on to family members (me included), so we have not done our popularity very much good. Even more interesting was that both Jennifer, and daughter Emily, had the Flu jab because they are asthmatic; Jennifer avoided the infection, whereas Emily went down with it 2 days after I did. They apparently receive a different dose of vaccine, which seems a bit odd.

I was thrilled on Tuesday morning, whilst driving halfway along the Moyns Park drive, to see an unusual looking bird fly ahead of me and perch in one of the beech trees that form an avenue. I slowed down to get a better view and was delighted to see a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker sitting obligingly on a small branch displaying its beautiful plumage. I regularly see Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, and Green ones are quite common, but this little fellow (similar in size to a Nuthatch) is quite elusive and rarely seen. Boom!

When the sun shone on Friday it was like a huge cloud had been lifted….oh it had. It felt as if the drab grey sky, the gloopy mud, and on-off rain was never going to go away, but lo! Sunshine, and frost, and clear blue sky arrived, and all was well with the world. I can handle the cold when it’s nice and bright like this, it’s good for mind, body, and the garden, long may it continue.

I don’t want to worry you, but it’s now December and only just over 3 weeks until Christmas……eeek!! How does it do that? I mean sneak up on you like this? It happens to me every year. I suppose I should start thinking about planning my shopping day. The strategy is to get in to town early, with focus, determination and enthusiasm, and then gradually get worn down by the misery of hot shops that stock nothing that you want, and that interminable festive music that tortures you on your tour of Babylon, until all that you want to do is get the heck out of there. I really wish that we didn’t get sucked into it. Oh, and I absolutely hate Christmas jumpers!

We need to start talking about arrangements for Christmas vegetable orders. My line of thinking is currently as follows: normal delivery and order arrangements for the next 2 weeks, then no orders in the week commencing 16th of December. The order deadline for Christmas will be the evening of Wednesday 18th, and I plan to deliver on Monday 23rd December so that the vegetables will be as fresh as possible for the festive period. The exception will be for order collections at Wyken on Saturday 21st. I just don’t think that I can do a normal round of orders on the 20th and then again before the big day. I would like some feedback from you before I make a final decision. I will copy and paste this paragraph and post it in the covering email, because I know that not everyone reads the blog.

As for this week, there will be cauliflowers, cavolo nero, leeks, parsnips, beetroot, swede, turnips, garlic, carrots, chilli peppers, ‘Cara’, ‘Allouette’ and ‘Charlotte’ potatoes. Green Hokkaido squash and large Butternut squash. There are oranges, lemons and kiwi fruit. Apple juice, honey and Spinach & Red Onion pesto complete the offering. I have a few green peppers remaining, but some of them will have varying shades of red on them.

We have had our Spanish ‘daughter’ Esther staying with us since Thursday. This is an annual treat that we look forward to with anticipation. It has been 20 years since she first started to visit us, initially as a very young language student, but now she is in her mid-thirties and married, and is just part of the family. Over the years we have exposed her to the widest breadth of British culture, but last night was a first for her when we took her to a St Andrew’s Day Ceildh in Cavendish. I mesmerised Esther with my twinkling toes on the dancefloor, she couldn’t quite believe what she was witnessing; in fact so impressed was she that she couldn’t stop smiling. This was the first time that she encountered Nellie, and they have got on famously; ok, so Nell took a small nibble out of one of her expensive trainers, but it hasn’t affected their relationship.

Right, I had better get on, because I am in demand to participate in a board game this evening; I expect that it will go as well for me as my Scottish dancing.

Have a great week, and please get your orders in by Wednesday evening.

Phil

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