Topsy Turvy Turning

One of the consequences of having friends from a wide range of backgrounds and beliefs is the number of festivals and greetings that pop up in my social media feeds. Just as Lockdown began my children wished me Happy Mothers Day, some of my friends later wished me Happy Easter, my son sent greetings for Ide Mubarak, and this week it has been Fathers Day from families and Happy Solstice from the earthier contingent. The Summer Solstice always reminds me of my Dad who loved to try to be the first person to say ‘The nights are drawing in now’ – a game he played with the man next door.

What was really weird this year was that it actually felt very autumnal around the longest day. March, April and May were day after day of hot sunny weather and virtually no rain. It felt like summer, the gardens baked and the grass went brown. Local farmers got the first cut of silage in early but then the grass didn’t grow back. The stream at the bottom of my garden reduced to a trickle. In many ways it was a blessing because we were all able to get outside in our gardens or go for walks along the lanes. We saw each other and had socially distanced chats. So much easier than being stuck indoors.

Then it all ended with thunderstorms, gales and torrential rain followed by days and days of heavy grey cloud, those days when it is either raining, has just rained or is about to rain.

So as I walked the dogs in the early part of this week the signs of high summer were all around. The council have cut the verges and the bottom of the hedges so the daffodils, bluebells, pink campion, stichwort and cow parsley have all gone though hopefully they will have set plenty of seed for next year. The lush growth makes visibility round bends poor and once the flowers have gone and there has been time for seeds to drop it needs to be cut back. But higher up the hedges the elders are in full bloom, there are dog roses, honeysuckle, bramble flowers and spires of foxgloves. It looks as if it will be a good year for elderberries and I am grateful because my strawberries and raspberries have been very poor. They were too dry to swell the fruit.

Walking with a jumper on and thick socks in my boots but seeing those flowers felt surreal. But today dawned clear and sunny so maybe summer is back for a while at least. I don’t think I will put my woolies away just yet. It is a funny sort of year.

11 thoughts on “Topsy Turvy Turning

  1. Laurie Graves June 24, 2020 / 1:36 pm

    Send some rain across the pond to us! So very dry in Maine although rain is in the forecast for today. Fingers crossed. I adore elderberries. Hope you get a good crop. And, even though it seldom works out this way, hope you get that right amounts of sun and rain.

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    • Going Batty in Wales June 25, 2020 / 9:09 am

      Actually we needed the water but e could probably spare some now. It is the extremes that are surprising me, the ‘all or nothing of it’. I hope you get some relief from the heat and dryness soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves June 25, 2020 / 1:11 pm

        Rain forecasted for this weekend. Fingers and toes crossed.

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      • Going Batty in Wales June 27, 2020 / 10:00 am

        It is raining here now so a soggy dog walk this morning.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves June 27, 2020 / 2:24 pm

        Not much rain yet. Very disappointing.

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      • Going Batty in Wales June 28, 2020 / 10:54 am

        😦

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  2. tialys June 25, 2020 / 3:33 pm

    We’re hoping for a storm tonight as the temperatures are very high and it’s started to get a bit muggy. Also – first world problem coming up – our pool liner gave up after 20 years just as we were thinkng about putting the house up for sale. They came today to fit the new one and, when they turned the water on, were amazed at our terrible water pressure – it’s going to take days to fill up. Mr. Tialys has a plan. He wants to make a chute out of a tarpaulin, place it on the hill and pray for a rainstorm to go swooshing down into the pool. He’s watching the clouds over the Pyrenées and keeping fingers crossed.

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    • Going Batty in Wales June 27, 2020 / 10:03 am

      I hope his plan worked! Should your water pressure be so low? We had the same problem once and it just very slowly got got worse and worse until we sent for the water board who told us the mains stopcock in the road was siezed up. They replaced it and suddenly we had high pressure.

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  3. Helen July 15, 2020 / 2:31 pm

    A very funny sort of year indeed 😊. My raspberries have been fine but the strawberries were decidedly poor. What do you do with elderberries?

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    • Going Batty in Wales July 16, 2020 / 10:21 am

      Some I freeze or bottle – they are lovely in pies or crumbles mixed with apple as you would with blackberries. Or cooked and poured on porridge. Some I mix with an equal quantity of apple, cook, strain and use to make a jelly (jam) which I find delicious. I also have a recipe for a cooking ingredient called pontack or pontiack sauce. My recipe comes from the River Cottage preserves book. It is one of those things that is good to add to sauces and stews – just a spoonful – you don’t actually taste it but it certainly improves the flavour. Elders self seed all over my garden and there are plenty in the hedgerows so a good source of free food. My son picked loads in his local park!

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      • Helen July 16, 2020 / 11:15 am

        I find elderberries too strong, which is why I was wondering what you might do with them. That said, I used some to make a hoisin-type sauce – guess where from (River Cottage Fruit) – and with soy sauce and such I find it okay. They are definitely in abundance and a shame to waste, though 😊.

        Liked by 1 person

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