Dancers – Sunday 24th September, 2023

Last Sunday, around 60 of us came to the garden, to hear music in celebration of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah. We listened to the violinist Adriana Cristea playing traditional Jewish melodies, as we ate honey cake and apple with honey. The violin sound covered much of the garden. I was surprised how far it carried, a small stringed instrument drawn with a bow.

 For the playing of the well-known Hava Nagila we were invited to dance round the garden, akin Hazel, our host, told us, to line dancing. Many volunteered to join the dance. The line jigged through the pergola, round by the cherry tree, past the snail mosaic, dancing along the fence, through the small pergola, on past the side gate and the sycamore, past the wild flower bed, round the pond, and back to the area facing the gazebo where Adriana was playing her violin. Hava Nagila has a bouncy tune, very Jewish, and easy to dance to.

 Rosh Hashanah is a time to celebrate with family and to repent your sins of the past year. The festival continues for another 10 days culminating in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, when one fasts and vows to be a better person in the year ahead.

 Just as we had finished eating, the music over, the heavens opened and we had a fierce downpour. As if Jehovah had held off the storm to allow our celebration.

We’ve had a lot of rain this week, and our barrels, including our meter cubes (IBCs), are almost full. We have our new standpipe but with all the rain we’ve had, and the cooler temperatures of autumn, we won’t be using it until at least spring 2024.

A curious plant was found in one of the Fothergill beds. We dug it out. The root and stem were coming out of what looked like a walnut, but the leaves didn’t look right for a walnut. Could it be a nutmeg? Either way, how did it get there? We have potted it up and will watch its growth.

At the foot of a raised bed, a little way up from the side gate, is a mass of mushrooms. They are small, greyish brown, with bonnet type caps and black gills. It might be Panaeolus sphinctrinus. They are coming out of the woodchip, so were likely brought along with it. All the rain we have had is likely to make this a bountiful mushroom season.

We have a chatty bench, just in front of our gazebo, in the arch of climbing roses. They are part of the Be Connected Programme to tackle loneliness. If you sit on the bright yellow bench, you are showing your willingness to have a chat, to connect, at least for a little time. Although, we inhabit a city of 8 million there are many lonely people within it: the elderly, refugees and others detached from family, the mentally ill, or any one of us for periods of our lives. So if you see someone sitting there, why not stop for a chat. About the weather perhaps, always an easy topic, or the garden of course, or the bench itself.

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