Autumn Rest

I am quite jubilant this evening, as I have just moved rooms. I have vacated my room above the cafe’s kitchen without a second glance and have moved to a beautiful new room in the eves of the manor, facing south over the Old Garden. My previous room- which I was assigned to because the US Triads and an ant-related Phd student were occupying the better rooms when I arrived- boasts such assets as the constant noise of fridge hummmmm, a slightly vibrating floor (fridges again) and a mattress which feels like rocks are burrowing their way into your spine. But no more! Tonight I shall sleep in blissful, cushioned silence and awake a new woman.

Look! That's my new room, above the by window.
Look! That’s my new room, above the bay window.

Aside from the lack of restful sleep, all is well. Since my last post I have been doing lots more work here at Hidcote- but only visited one more garden. Autumn is moving in and the travel pace has slowed. Well, only temporarily: I’m planning to visit 4 or 5 gardens in Norfolk this weekend.

I’ve been working in a few different areas, sometimes doing work that is different to my usual Bodnant work, sometimes the same. Today, for example, I spent a while raking up strimmings & then digging up Lysichiton americanus: I felt pretty at home with that. Last week, Matt & I spent a lovely day harvesting veg for sale to the public in the veg garden. I was surprised (I don’t know why) that It took us such a long time: most of the day, particularly as I spent quite a while collecting & sorting windfall apples from the orchard*. However, the veg garden here makes more money than you might expect, considering that it only gets input from roughly equivalent to one staff member per week at the moment, with volunteers to do harvesting. Last year they made £5,000 from veg sales, particularly good because a large area was put to potatoes. This year it will probably be less: £3-4,000.

Special hedgecutting update for MU: I have been released into the main garden, to cut the inside curve of a tapestry hedge (mostly yew, with box running through the lower section- a right bastard to cut) in the Green Room. I feel this is a sign of approval and now am under immense pressure to not f up…

Talking of approval, if you’re a gardener, then you’ll know that the most important indicator of approval and acceptance of a colleague to the team is being rude/taking the piss out of them, and I feel like I’m pretty well on my way here. Last week there was a round of ‘if we didn’t know you, what job would we think you did by looking at you?’. I was assigned traffic warden. I am taking this as a huge compliment. Additionally, I have already got my name into the innuendo bingo history books by accidentally announcing in the mess room that “I don’t want anyone washing their sausage in my chocolate fountain.” There was a legitimate context, honestly.

Next week, Matt & I are heading to Chatsworth for our first garden placement. I’m really looking forward to that! Will let you know how it goes….

All washed, prepped and priced
Veg for sale, freshly dug, picked & cleaned by me. Raspberries take ages to pick but I got to eat all the overripe ones

*Tragic story here: I took loads & loads of quite bruised windfall apples with me on my first visit back home on the weekend. A & I spent ages prepping 3 kilos of them to make chutney, along with 1 kilo of onions, 1.5 kilos of sugar, 1.2 litres of vinegar, I kilo of sultanas and so on. Cooked it beautifully for 3 hours, it was just starting to get lovely… got distracted by Dr Who and burnt the lot. DAMN YOU DR WHO!!!!!

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