Or so it seems. We have all got rather tired of hearing that this season or that has broken all records for rainfall, or drought, or cold temperatures or whatever – but as we English are renowned for talking about the weather we would be going on about it even if records weren’t being broken. Nevertheless, the amount of rain we have had in the last week alone would be cause for conversation even if we were not given to remarking on it all the time. As I look out of the window low cloud covers the hills, mists of rain sweep up the valley, rivulets of water run in the street and the plants in our small garden are bent and bowed by the weight of the raindrops.
From time to time I make a quick dash outside to rescue drooping foxgloves with bits of wire and garden canes. I am no gardener – our little back yard is planted without much planning and I tend to it on a kind of emergency response basis whenever a plant that’s doing its best is being assailed by the weather or is under attack in some way – as now, by heavy rain and by an army of slugs and snails.
We have always had snails in the garden and I refuse to tackle them with pellets and poison; searching the internet for a way to deal with them gave me lots of ideas but none sound particularly humane. I did think of collecting a bagful of them and taking them up to the duck-pond where I think they would be welcomed as a tasty snack – but I have to confess to being one of those dreadful people who throw snails over the fence into the neighbour’s garden, my defence being that his plot is completely untended and wild, with nothing that he values in the way of flowers. My worry is that the snails won’t value it either and head straight back to the juicier stuff that we’re providing.
When it does stop raining for a few minutes, insects of all kinds fling themselves into action and head for the flowers.
Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre starts with the famous opening sentence, ‘There was no possibility of taking a walk that day’. On days like this I don’t try to leave the house, or at least only to spend a few moments in the garden which, small as it is, is a little world of its own and full of delights.