Derek – Sunday 26th March 2023

Our tadpoles are just coming out of the jelly. A few are free-swimming, though masses of them are clinging to the jelly, and plenty are still inside. In a few days, there will be lots all over the pond. I don’t see any adult frogs, which were present for the spawning. They have done their bit and gone.


Thames Water came on Thursday to give us a quote for running water. There are two points of access on the pavement by the fence on Sprowston Road: one near the cherry tree, the other near the sycamore. Our visitor went for the latter, and he thought it had an existing water connection from the road. He will write his report and ask Thames Water to fit a meter, then we’d be able to put a standpipe in place. The cost would be maybe £300, not the £3-4 thou we had been expecting. The £3000+ quote had been given without any site visits, and includes the cost of digging up the road. Our assessor on Thursday thought that wouldn’t be necessary.


We hope he is right. He couldn’t say when the meter would be fitted; we hope not too long, but you never know. So far it’s going well, far better than we expected, cross fingers it stays that way. Our water bills would be small; we’d only use the standpipe in periods of drought. In addition, we will try to get the waste water element reduced, as we have no baths/showers/sinks/dishwashers or water to the toilet.


One of our two raised beds in the Fothergill site was attacked by a fox. Heaven knows what he/she was after, but a lot of digging and bashing around resulted in holes and decapitated daffodils. Not much we can do about it, as foxes come in the night when there’s no one around. We did some repairs and gave broken daffs away.


Nearby, in the non-ravaged Fothergill bed, we have some white hyacinths doing well. They are closely related to bluebells, which I note on a country walk we should expect to bloom in a few weeks. Wanstead Park is the place to go for bluebells. Our hawthorn is coming into leaf. It’s also known as the May tree, and, like most flowering plants, will come into bloom a few weeks earlier than 10 years ago. So again, mid-April.


Now the clocks have gone forward, we will have lighter evenings. It’s interesting that the clocks going forward coincides with the equinox. But they are not related in how they happen. The equinox is an astronomical event, due to the slope of Earth’s axis of 23.5 degrees to the Sun. That slope is responsible for our seasons as the Earth goes round the Sun. Midway between winter and summer, in the northern hemisphere, is the spring equinox, and another in autumn. They are worldwide phenomena. Our Spring Celebration is on Saturday 8 April: music (Kate Sullivan and Lucky Thomas), food, and children’s activities including an Easter Egg Hunt. Join us in the Garden from 12 noon to 2pm. A free event, and all are welcome.


The clocks going forward and back is a choice. In the early 70s, for a couple of years, it was decided to keep “summertime” throughout the year. It wasn’t popular, as children were going to school in the dark, and Scotland was severely against it, as in the north it extended darkness to near 10am in midwinter. Whether to keep summertime going is a human choice, and has no effect on flora and fauna, as the daylight hours are the same, it’s just us playing with the clock.


Our poor magnolia with its beautiful flowers, I noted last week, has been devastated by the wind and rain this week, the petals torn away. A short-lived beauty.


We have five new raised beds for vegetables. They just need a base, then we will fill them with compost and plant seeds, seed potatoes, onions etc. This is a new venture, as we haven’t gone much in the vegetable line, but why not? Soups and salads over the summer and autumn.

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