The snow has melted away, not without having wreaked havoc on my daffodils. True, they would not have opened for St. David’s Day but certainly would have made St. Patrick’s. The foliage and flowers could not take the hard frost and snow cover of the start of this last week.
The time comes to think about what else I shall grow in my potagers. Success with vegetables and fruit, if you are not a person willing to indulge high-maintenance plants, relies on knowing what works with the soil and climate you have. I have tried to force my allotment to grow chillis and tomatoes, but these unsurprisingly fail. I am also rubbish at leeks and sprouts, the soil probably needs more drainage for the former and I always forget to net the latter against the butterflies of late summer. As I do kale.
Carrots work well, so I’ll plant successions of the short, fat chantenays. Also Mangetout, so I’ll make a rustic structure for these to clamber up. Potatoes and Broad Beans are already in and just in case we get a wet summer I’ll have Runner Beans too. They love the damp, Atlantic air – too low humidity will hinder the setting of the bean. Also, it makes sure that at least something fine comes from the Julys and Augusts of the last few years.
I’m at peace with my allotment and this is because I understand what it can offer and grow accordingly. I’m sure the ground is happy not being asked to do things it just can’t in the unfriendly atmosphere that results. The beds would look sad and unloved and I’d be embarrassed to seen together with them; our relationship would obviously be seen not be working.
And it’s the same for our own relationships. Too often in the past have I tried to make someone something they are not, tried to force them to change in a way that didn’t show respect to their qualities but focussed on their short-comings. People have tried to do this to me too but happily these relationships are in the past.
The Dunmow Flitch trials, first mentioned in The Wife of Bath’s Tale in Chaucer’s 14th century Canterbury Tales, award a flitch of bacon to married couples from anywhere in the world, if they can satisfy the Judge and Jury of 6 maidens and 6 bachelors that in ‘twelvemonth and a day’, they have ‘not wisht themselves unmarried again’ (thanks to dunmowflitchtrials.co.uk for this information). A flitch is half a (dead) pig, cut lengthways.
I’d like to think that me and Marie-Rose would qualify for this as we still are happily married, it being our anniversary today. This relationship feels right, we are happy to let each other be themselves and our relationship grows and bears fruit as a result. Not children though, we are too old for that. My three from a previous marriage are quite sufficient for both of us!
Now, this reminds me (once again I have a few eggs that need using up) of what the late, great Keith Floyd said in 1987 about the Quiche Lorraine in ‘Floyd on France’, BBC Books:
250g shortcrust pastry
4 eggs, beaten
450 ml double cream
Salt and pepper
50g smoked bacon, diced and lightly fried
2 teaspoons butter, cut into small pieces
Line your well-buttered pie dish with the pastry. Prick all over with a fork. Beat the eggs and cream together and season well. Sprinkle the bacon bits over the pastry case and pour in the eggs and cream. Bake in the hot oven for 25 minutes or so until set.
© Bob Cavanagh, 2013, http://www.deliciouslydifferent.be