No, I haven't left the country for a long holiday or been admitted to hospital with all my typing fingers completely broken or even had a computer crash. I've just been really, really slack!
We'll start with the sad news. Sad to me anyway. Our dear sweet Merlin, who recently joined our household and has become such a joy in our lives and especially in the life of our Ewan McGregor, has nearly broken my heart. Yesterday morning, the two boys came running inside in their usual chasing, tumbling fashion and thundered past me up the hallway towards the bedroom. Our dear old Daisy, very deaf and going blind at an alarming rate, was standing beside me in the laundry and for once saw the boys go chasing by. In a return to her past behaviour, she took off after them, barking. The barking very quickly changed and I raced up to the bedroom to find Merlin attacking my poor old darling. My yelling at him had no effect at all. I was able to grab his collar and it took all my strength to lift him off her. As soon as he released her from his jaws, she scurried off and hid and he was unceremoniously carted outside where he stayed for a good part of the day. I was so shocked, it was the most awful thing to witness. I truly believe that he has decided that 'top dog' is now his job and he is letting Daisy know in no uncertain terms. And it makes sense - how long would the pack survive if the top dog was deaf and blind? My immediate problem, of course, is that I have lost my trust in Merlin not to hurt her while I'm not around. She doesn't seem to be scared of him today, but she is certainly not getting in his way. I am at a loss to know how I am going to cope with this sad issue.
And now the BAD news!
I have committed a great gardening sin and I know that I am going to pay and pay and pay for it. Today, I decided that I would remove the old woody rosemary outside the kitchen door. I am sure I have previously stated my intentions in this regard and also alluded to the fact that the surrounding soil contains that horror of all horrors - oxalis!!
Indeed, a veritable sea of oxalis! Some months ago, I spread a large piece of black plastic over a lot of it and weighted it down with bricks in the hope that the oxalis would miraculously die in the darkness. Have you heard the story in recent years of the building in London, constructed after the Great Fire, that was demolished and the soil underneath saw sunlight for the first time in nearly 400 years and an immediate crop of oxalis sprouted? And I thought I could kill it under a sheet of black plastic!! You are allowed to laugh now!
When I lifted up the plastic today, what I saw were long shoots of albino oxalis. And the only thing I should have done was get the toxic spray and sprayed it all! And waited for it to die. But I was impatient and I was stupid. And even as I dug it out (ha ha ha!) (are you laughing?), I knew it was the wrong thing to be doing.
I have ended up with a huge bucket of chunks of soil in which lurk the dreaded bulbs. But as we all know, the bucket would contain only a percentage of the total bulbs, the rest of which are now widely distributed through the remaining soil and every one, every single one will grow into a lush new oxalis plant.
Sometimes, I'm amazed at myself.
Anyway, the trunk of the old rosemary was sawn through and removed and smaller rosemarys planted to hopefully form a little hedge along the side of the verandah. There will be a hedge of rosemary and an even bigger sea of oxalis!