I've just been looking briefly at the Commonwealth Games marathon, which is being run in Melbourne. It's strange, seeing what appears to be (but can't be) full summer there, when here, the trees are leafless, the early spring bulbs are in flower and the herbaceous plants are just beginning to sprout. It must be coming on to autumn in Australia (and my dopey brain keeps thinking things like: so it'll be October there. No, I do know it isn't).
Melbourne looks lovely- lots of tree-lined roads. Edinburgh is lovely too, for a city. In fact, some parts of it are really stunning. But we don't have many tree-lined roads, not in the centre of town, anyway. Princes Street, of course - the main shopping street - is built up on only one side; the other side is garden, with lots of trees and with the Castle rising above it on a huge volcanic rock.
I worked in the garden today for only the second time this year, which was wonderful, even though I was just tidying up, not planting anything. There were lots of dead leaves to rake up and some of last year's herbaceous plants to cut down. It's an annual mystery that I rake up all the autumn leaves in October, but by this time of year there are lots more. They look rather horrible but on the other hand, they keep the weeds down. I put the leaves into plastic bags and stand them in by the compost heap to rot down into leaf mould. Then after eighteen months, they can be put back on the beds to condition the soil.
It would be much more convenient, I always think, if leaves would just rot down where they lay over the winter. It would save all that raking and heaving of sacks full of dead leaves. It's just one of the many things in the world that could do with a little tinkering with, such as the less convenient aspects of the female reproductive system. And chocolate: why does it have to be fattening? After all, it's a fruit, isn't it? (Or so my son claims. And he's a medical student, so he must be right.)
Still, I suppose all that garden exercise must have burnt some calories.
And I love my garden so much! After the long, dark winter, it's fantastic to get out into the fresh air and to see little shoots stretching up from the earth, promising flowers in the months to come. Everything looks much tidier now; there's lots more to do but the garden's beginning to be a pleasure to look at, and from now on , it'll just get better and better. I'm so glad it's spring.