Friday, 21 May 2010

suddenly it's all action

I'm so sad to see the tulips finishing, but the joy of having so many is that those no longer suitable for sending out stay and wave their graceful dying dance in the field so I can still enjoy them. And suddenly the sunshine is bringing everything leaping along furiously fast (though of course never quite fast enough or too fast, is it possible to get it just right in a garden?). The outside sweet peas which have sat sullenly unable to move since they were put out in the sheltered top garden at least five weeks ago must have grown a foot in a week. The cottage garden has overnight turned into a purple and pink haze of aquilegias and alliums and joy of joys the iris are all budding up. But I am very ambivalent about their arrival. I love them, the picture attached is one of my favourites from the gardens although I have hundreds to choose from, but as soon as I see their fat purple buds appearing along their stems (I have at least a dozen different types of I. sibirica for cutting with slightly different colours and habits, including palest pale blue to dark regal purplish blue) I know they will be over soon. So it is with a mix of joy and sadness that I greet them as they are probably among the quickest of all to flower and vanish.

I'm disappointed that the libertias were rather badly hit by frost and many are still looking hideously browned and unhappy, though some are throwing up their lovely white spikes, and sheaths of Nectaroscordum are poking provocatively between them before they split open, having chosen to move in to the libertia area. The first cornflowers are suddenly flowering, it's rather odd to have them at the same time as the last of the tulips, and I'm a complete convert to some of the double tulips as they have stood and stood and stood and although no longer fit for cutting, they have given pleasure for about five weeks. Astrantias have been promiscuous this winter it seems, lots of crossing has gone on and I seem to have a lot of different slightly shaggy pinks that I haven't seen before.

Anna Pavord's piece has had a fantastic response this week, and thanks to all those senders or recipients who took the trouble to leave me a message or even send me a card to say thank you. I was particularly touched by a call from a delighted gentleman who had sent a bunch to his wife for her birthday. They had been to Hidcote the day before and had particularly admired the last of their tulips, then when my flowers arrived exactly the same tulips appeared so it looked as though I had just rushed over to Hidcote and picked specially for them. I would just like to confirm that I live quite a way from Hidcote, so if any of their tulips have disappeared I am not the culprit!

And now the less good part of the week. BT Broadband. Having had the best publicity I could wish for, for a largely online business, on Tuesday night our broadband went down. I got up around 5 on Wednesday to do emails as usual and discovered that none of the messages I thought I had sent the night before had gone off. And there was no internet, just an onscreen message telling me there was a problem..... to cut a very long stressful story short the BT hassle went like this: Four and a half hours of telephone calls to different people who each asked me for exactly the same information and each gave me an entirely different reason for the problem. These included 1. my not having paid the bill and the phone line being barred - False. Bill paid, no bars, but this took 4 phone calls to establish going through the horrendous BT menu each time including two trips to Bangalore or wherever. 2. My having changed the settings on my computers. False. Two different technicians in Bangalore or wherever. 3. There being a fault in the BT box where the broadband line enters the house. False. technician in Bangalore and supervisor. This was particularly surreal, me sitting here trying not to scream or weep while I was asked the dimensions of my BT box and the exact position of the two screws that held it into the wall....4. My router not working - actually this was part of the questioning for each different call, I must have explained what the lights on the router looked like fifteen times.....

And the real reason? A problem with the broadband in the whole area here. No-one in the Clifford exchange had broadband at all on Wednesday or for most of Thursday and it is STILL limping as I rant this at 09.01 on Friday morning. I have had to drive in and out of Hay (a half hour return journey) three times a day to collect and respond to orders as this has been my biggest week ever and I have not wanted to let people down or seem like a flake..... If they had admitted that at the beginning it would still have been annoying of course. But not so annoying. I was a very ragged person to be around on Wednesday and though I don't think of myself as "doing" stress, that day I definitely did.

But the flowers have been great, and it is amazing how much better I always feel as soon as I can get my hands back into the earth or around a bunch of flower stems!

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