One’s Ladybird and One’s List

Partly spontaneous, part needed-to-do mission into Walsall this morning. To get armfuls of packets of seeds ready to begin the year (which, actually of course, never ends) afresh. In preparation for this we sat down last week and talked over what we plan to grow (or try to grow as I prefer to say) and made a list.

What did we do with that list?

We stumble about in the central heated warmth getting incrementally frustrated. It turns up: in the magazine rack. Of course where else would it be but underneath a week’s worth of evening papers and the latest magazine from the National Trust (complete with an article about local stately home now under the auspices of the National Trust, Shugborough)?

We both pretend – of course – we always knew that is where we had left it.

We head to Walsall, find a parking space and stroll down to Wilko, complete with list. Feeling less like traitors than might be expected (we are deserting the bulk buy/discount offers from the site shop this year: they haven’t been well promoted and nobody from the current committee seems to want to take a lead) we are soon flinging packet after packet into the basket-cum-trolley. Vegetable seeds, flower seeds. Seed potatoes? Why not? Shallots, red onions … it’s a real shopping frenzy! A couple of bags of bird feeder refills.

Oh and a solitary, end-of-line silver Christmas decoration heart (reduced to 5p at the till).

We limp to the Costa Coffee housed in the Art Gallery and order refreshment: cappuccino, tea and something sweet.

Great thing about the Costas is the chance to read a free newspaper: I favour the I usually or the Times.

Today it is the Times; full of important stuff like how President-Elect Trump will change the world, how Brexit will mean Brexit (or not) and a couple of items that catch my quirky eye.

Seems there is little or no rain falling on the plains in Spain, so Courgettes grown there and sold here are in short supply – and prices rocketing. I smile at the wonderful folly of being able to eat “out of season” items. (we are currently snacking on “in season oranges” bought from an old-stylee fruiterers on the edge of Cannock: evocatively scented and gorgeously juicy these oranges. I am drawn to consider the normality of the twenty first century in a developed nation, compared to the world in which my grandparents, indeed my parents, inhabited.

There’s also a big page spread about a Ladybird book on Climate Change being co-authored by none other than Prince Charles. I do a double-take: really? Seems he wrote to the publishers with the suggestion and they said yes …

Actually by the seem of it; they said “yes, but …”

The but being that it would need to be vetted by actual scientists to give it a different credibility. The Times article has an element of mockery about it. For those who don’t know, or have forgotten Ladybird books were a ubiquitous set of educational children’s books about all manner of things: Steam Engines, Airports, The Vikings, The Holy Land … and now issues like climate change. Well done Penguin Books!

Prince Charles has written a Ladybird book warning of the threat of global warming

On the way home we pull up on the pavement at the bottom of “our road”. The house on the corner is undergoing massive redevelopment and the builders have been kind enough to leave the timbers from the taken-down roof available for collection. We pile as much of it as we can handle into the boot of the car and, back at home stack it in the garage where it will wait until I am next off work.

In the garden there are the earliest stirrings of territorial disputes: blackbird v. blackbird, a pair of magpies versus a second pair* (both with their eyes set on an established nest atop a silver birch tree in a nearby garden. A tiny blue tit is investigating the front of house nest box … and I have to get a move on to put up the replacement nest boxes I have been building.



* Later in the day both pairs are out matched by a couple of crows who are also showing a definite interest in the very same old nest.


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