Derek – Friday 20th May 2022

I water the herbs on the sleepers and in the square raised bed, though we have had a fair bit of rain this week and our tubs are filling. But one mustn’t get complacent, a hot fortnight and we’ll need every drop. It rained all morning through, and brought out the snails. I inadvertantly crushed a couple on our paths. A pure accident I declare, even though they munched their way through the fenugreek in the herbs and spices project. Try the mint, I say, fenugreek is one of the few spices we have.

Another is ginger, which I am growing at home in a pot, from a piece of ginger root. It’s slow, wants more heat, but is coming. I also tried growing a piece over water, like an avocado stone. It grew a shoot but has not grown roots and I fear the shoot is dying. But we only need one for the herbs and spices project. In a couple of weeks, I’ll bring in the pot, to take its place on the sleepers.

The plane trees on Earlham Grove were pruned in April. But they left a few unpruned. These are now in full leaf, with an almost circular canopy of growth. Those pruned were hit hard, back to the knuckle and have just a few stubbles of leaf. The pruning tore off the twigs with their swelling buds, and now the twigs have to grow again and form new buds for the tree to come into leaf. It was a crazy time to prune, but I suppose it’s about keeping the tree gang in work. With a small gang, every tree can’t be pruned at the right time, which is the winter months.

There’s a gentle breeze and the suspended bicycle wheel on our container is rolling round and round. It produces enough electricity to light a small light bulb, a mini example of alternative energy. This is coming to the fore in our desperate need to get away from fossil fuels. There are too many reasons for this necessity: the war in Ukraine that Russia pays for with oil money, the poor human rights records of Middle East oil states, and of course climate change. The viscous hydrocarbon is the world’s enemy. On marches against climate change, we chanted:


Keep the coal in the hole!

Keep the oil in the soil!


The only CO2 produced by a wind turbine is in its manufacture. Once that’s done with, it’s clean energy all the way. We live on a windy island and need myriad turbines, as rapidly as they can be manufactured, on sea and on land, to free ourselves from oil tyrants and the headlong rush of climate disaster.

Yellow irises are out on the pond, known as flags. There are eight blooms, but they have a very short flowering time. We have other irises in bloom, some by the old wall and others by the greenhouse. Their blooms remind me of turkey heads. The peonies are still in flower, pink blooms reminiscent of dahlias. Lots of marigolds too, but there always are, these old reliables.

On the pond, I see a number of pairs of common blue damselflies mating. The male grips the female by the head, and she curves her body to extract the sperm from the pouch in the middle of the male’s body. Sometimes they do this in flight, being paired like this for hours, but also on foliage where I am able to photograph a pair.

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