Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday's spotlight - Plums

By guest blogger Pete.

We are being told that this October is well on the way towards breaking records for mildness. I must confess that I am not really surprised by that news. I can't remember an October as mild as this one and I've lived through quite a few Octobers. Reading this morning's paper I was reminded that this time last year we had a covering of snow. I can vaguely remember that. We only need about 1cm of snow in this country for schools to close, local radio stations to run hot lines on the adverse weather conditions and advising folk to have flu jabs, Supermarkets to run out of bread and sugar and lorries to jack knife into folk's gardens. It's just as well that we don't get the sort of winters that other European countries endure.

The leaves are beginning to drop now but without much rain even they are looking attractive as they lay like a carpet on the lawns and pavements. My magnolia tree still hasn't caught on to the fact that this is the time for shedding leaves. There were ten leaves last week and I would estimate that this has grown to fifteen this week. That's still a lot of leaves to fall. Perhaps my magnolia is going to be the first evergreen magnolia. Fame and fortune could come even at this late date.

Quite a few moons ago - once again I've seen quite a few moons come and go - Ruth lived in rural Herefordshire at a rather attractive and not over large market town. That town is Ledbury and it was here that she met John. On our first visit to Ledbury to see her she took us on a tour of the surrounding countryside, during which we stopped off at one of Gloucestershire's vineyards. The grapes were quite tasty but I'll not make any comment about the wine except to say that I've walked with a limp ever since!. Oh dear!!!!! ------------ there goes the one Gloucestershire reader of this blog. Bye.

From that vineyard we mover on to an orchard specialising in Victoria plums. Now they are a delight on any palette. A little taste of bliss. I can remember buying a tray of them to take home with us - not to waste on jam making but rather to make a pig of myself just by eating them.

Soon after returning home we bought a Victoria Plum tree. By the third year we had plums everywhere and our popularity with the neighbours has never been higher as they became recipients of our plum bounty. The next year wasn't too good so the popularity stakes fell dramatically. The following year was a complete failure so I put on my check lumberjack shirt and that was the end of that Victoria Plum tree.

A suitable length of time has elapsed since the demise of that tree - long enough to make sure that the baddies who invaded it have moved off to invade other folks' trees. Five days ago we went off to the local Garden Centre and bought another Victoria Plum tree. The deceased tree grew to about 50 foot and it was a matter of risking life and limb to get to all the fruit. We were assured that this one would not exceed the three metre mark. I do wish people would give measurements in English - but that's another story. It's best to plant plum trees during October or November - that is the time they grow the most. Mind you, I've had this one for five days and there's still no sign of any fruit.

The painting is finished and the next one begun. Two photos to keep you up to date with progress and a few more photos of no particular relevance to this blog.

Keep eating the plums or else there will be a dearth of them.

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