Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amateur Theatricals

We recently went to see a play at the little theatre near Shoestring Cottage.  I am no expert where dramatic performances are concerned but the local theatre has been in operation for a very long time and the walls in the lobby are papered with photos of past triumphs.  As far as I am concerned, anybody who has the gumption to get up on stage and perform deserves all the support and admiration we can give them – I wouldn’t want to attempt it!  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will try to go along to the forthcoming productions.
It is great to see the tradition of involvement in community affairs; it seems to be one of the things which makes small town life special.  In a couple of weeks we will be attending Miss Peaceable Kingdom’s annual ballet recital and recently the A&P show was held.  There is always something going on; in fact the first weekend we moved into Shoestring we were surprised upon flinging open the bedroom curtains to see hundreds of lycra clad cycling enthusiasts assembled in our street, ready for the annual cycle race.  Just across the road a community garden has opened and individual plots are yielding crops of vegetables and also lots of flowers.  Seeing the community garden made me want to do a spot of guerrilla gardening in town and geranium cuttings are dotted around the place in preparation for this.  Hopefully they will all strike and I will be able to scurry out and plant them around the city.      

Mr Shoestring made a starling house with some leftover scraps of wood one weekend.  We were not hopeful that it would be used because it was already nesting season and a library books we read pointed out that birds like a fairly lengthy period of investigation before they decide a new nesting box is safe to use.  How exciting it was this weekend to see this starling spend his days investigating, flying down, looking all around and eventually popping inside.
 Look at me!  Look at me!
I am a paragon of manly attributes!

So far he has not brought any prospective female with him so I hope he isn’t a bachelor.  Feeling like a desperate real estate agent, I dashed out and filled up the bird bath and hoped he noticed the plum tree nearby laden with ripening fruit.

Actually the bird house Mr Shoestring made is only a rough prototype knocked together very quickly.  As I watched Mr Starling darting in and out of it I formed an ambitious plan whereby the back wall would have lots of starling houses and they would all be painted in different pretty shades, with lots of architectural styles including a villa with ornate scrollwork.  I mentioned this to Mr Shoestring but he didn’t seem as enthusiastic as I had hoped.  Men can be somewhat lacking in imagination sometimes, don't you find that?

The sparrows have finally figured out how to use the seed bells we put out for them and they had a bonanza this weekend, feasting on the seed.

The kereru have returned and are gorging themselves on the fruits of the flowering cherry tree.  In the garden the sweet peas are continuing to blossom and you can see from this photo how few pink ones there are in spite of the fact that I planted all "pink" seedlings – but I have to admit that I am happy with the mixture and their scent is heavenly.  The best thing about sweet peas is that the more you pick them the more flowers you will get and it is very satisfying to strip the plants of their pretty sugared almond coloured flowers.

My mum has been so helpful in the search for plants.  When she heard of the plan for a scented back garden she found this honeysuckle – brighter coloured than the usual one, it seems happy so far in the far corner of the garden. 

I have planted nasturtiums on one of the archways left behind by the previous owners.  If they go to seed at the end of the season we might have more of them next year.  It would be good to put in the sort with darker leaves and darker flowers if I can find some seed.

The ladies mantle (alchemilla mollis) are looking happy.  English gardening books always claim that they become a nuisance and seed themselves all through the garden but I never find this; in fact just getting them to survive our dry hot summers is as much as I hope for. 

Jack (number four offspring) had his birthday this weekend and we had the customary birthday dinner with his favourite meals.  Being a boy there was not much in the way of vegetables on the menu, his favourite dishes being Crunchy Lunchy Munchy Pasta and Chocolate Mousse.  The chocolate mousse recipe is added to the recipe list at the side.  It is dead easy to make and always receives rave reviews.