Monday, May 16, 2011

Death and Destruction at Shoestring Cottage

There has been a plague of green caterpillars on my brassicas and I have been spending a lot of time on search and destroy missions.  Each time I think they have been despatched I am disappointed to come back later only to find the plants further denuded.  Some of the poor leaves look like very fine green lace.  The wretched creatures have become so bold (or perhaps short of food after eating all the available brassicas), that they have now moved to the rocket plants.  Mrs Peaceable offered the only consolation when she suggested that the rocket plants would taste peppery and perhaps they will end up with a bad case of indigestion after eating them, but I think we are clutching at straws here.  And they are so cunningly camouflaged with their perfectly matching green against the leaves!  My glasses get all steamed up in my frustration as I try to locate them.  And I can testify that coffee grounds do not seem to deter them in the least. 

(I should not have admitted my passion for killing caterpillars.  Lady Raglan already has a very low opinion of my activities in this area, having found out years ago about my habit of going out at night time with a torch and killing snails in the garden.  To make things more challenging I would try to set a new record each night for the most snails despatched and Lady Raglan (being of a delicate constitution) found this gruesome.  If she finds out about the caterpillars she may ban me from Raglan Castle.)

On a positive note in the garden this weekend a vague kind of plan is finally forming as to what to put in the formerly overgrown jungle at the back of the cottage.  Lots of scented and white plants for a start, so in went a daphne and two gardenias.  Also a couple of pretty camellias and the inevitable bags of coffee grounds spread around the place. 

The finishing timber went around the windows in the kitchen and the undercoat went onto the walls.  Mr Shoestring ground his teeth and muttered away to himself most of the weekend, but persevered manfully. He did look less than enthusiastic when I made some suggestions about improvements in the laundry after the work in the kitchen is completed, however.  (I must remember not to mention these ideas until the kitchen is installed and he has had a little break.)  We took delivery of the "new" hob (thank you Trade Me), and it fits perfectly and works very well.  The green and cream colour scheme is all go and hopefully we will get the paint soon.  

The highlight of the weekend was a 30 year nursing class reunion.  After an initial burst of enthusiasm I had been rather dreading the reunion; just because we had nursing in common 30 years ago, would we have anything in common so much later?  But it turned out to be a wonderful experience, I reconnected with so many resourceful, interesting and generous friends.  Many of them had branched out into all kinds of diverse endeavours and there were some fascinating stories to hear.  It was a truly uplifting experience.

Because the weather was so horrible I spent some happy hours in my sewing room and got three more crazy quilt squares ready for embroidering, made a dress and trimmed a hat for art deco weekend.  I couldn't resist putting a new canvaswork project on the frame I sanded down and restained last weekend, all in the spirit of using up all the wools which have accumulated over the years.  (My friend Sparker who lives abroad confided that when she saw a photo of my sewing room on the blog, she thought it was a shop!  The shame of it all, I resolved I must do better at cutting back on the hoard of treasure in the sewing room.)

And speaking of Sparker, after a holiday in Europe she sent me this wonderful bookmark of the Ampelmann (which I had never heard of).  After the reunification of Germany this East German "Walk/Don't Walk" symbol was nearly lost, presumably because the West German symbol was going to be used instead.  It is very dear to the hearts of the population of the former East Germany.  I think there may even be an entire museum devoted to it.  Isn't it strange how sometimes it is these small idiosyncratic things which people remember and love?