The people over the road have a beautiful, towering sunflower in their front garden. I discover it when I trot along the road to post a letter – and I scuttle back to Mr B immediately with the news.
The sunflower in question is in bloom – not just one, but two sunny flower heads – and it has grown higher than the top of the ground floor windows. This is considerably
taller than either Bill or Ben, who are almost as tall as me but still have a Long Way To Go Yes, Bill and Ben are the names I have given my two sunflowers. Not particularly imaginative, I accept, but at least they go together (both the names and
the sunflowers which share a very large flower pot.) Mr B is not at all happy with my christening of my plants as he says it suggests that his sunflowers must go by the collective name of “Weeeeed!” Anyone who is too young to understand these
references needs to google “Flower Pot Men” for all to be revealed.
Mr B takes it as a personal insult that our neighbours’ sunflower has flowered
before ours. Not only that, but he is now questioning the health of our own plants, owing to them being so comparatively small compared with Across The Road. I remind him that I was a little late planting our sunflower seeds so they have some catching
up to do – and I urge him to take a look at how they are flourishing, how strong they look, how much they have grown since I planted them out and declared that our 2014 Sunflower Competition was under way. Mr B is not convinced. He seems to have
lost some of his enthusiasm for the competition. Not that he was ever exactly over-excited – as competitions go, it’s hardly the World Cup or the Open Golf – but he did occasionally demand scissors and gardening twine so that he could secure
his plants to their stakes when they looked about to droop and he was ever so slightly annoyed at the fact that there was more compost in my flower pot than in his flower pot. Nevertheless, excited or not, the competition will go on and you, dear readers,
can rest assured that I will be reporting back on progress between now and FT. No, not Full Time – what do you think this is, a football match? FT is, of course, Flowering Time. I have every faith in Bill and Ben (as well as the Little Weeds...)
While I am providing updates, I thought you might want to hear the latest on my tastelessness. I wish I could report that my sense of taste has returned, enabling me to enjoy
my Friday morning treat with the Bacon Bap Brigade – not to mention breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sadly I still have no sense of taste and every meal still tastes of cardboard. I am living on baby food – porridge, rice pudding and mashed bananas
and custard – which at least have the advantage of slipping easily down my throat. For a few days I was sunk in misery before arriving at a great plan which was to eat my meals, wherever possible, in beautiful surroundings which would make the
tastelessness of the food seem but a minor consideration.
This evening therefore Mr B and I took our meal down to the sea-front where we sat, companionably, on
a seat dedicated to someone we never knew and engaged in some shameless people watching. Such a beautiful early evening, there on the beach. The sea was either going out or coming in, we weren’t too sure – either way there were enticing
rock pools for assorted children and dogs to explore. We watched one little lass, dark curls dancing above a bright red swimsuit, pirouetting in a far-off pool, oblivious to all around her. Dance as if nobody is watching – that’s what they say
isn’t it? A multi-coloured kite swooped and danced along with her. A party of Beaver Scouts who had been enjoying their weekly meeting on the greensward behind our bench bade their Leaders a prolonged and incredibly noisy goodbye. Cameron went
off without his picnic box. We knew it was Cameron because several people raced after him, one of them waving the picnic box and all of them yelling “Cameron! Cameron!” It was a bit of a giveaway.
At the Sea Lane Cafe, the staff were starting the wearisome process of stacking all the tables and chairs, so signalling close of play. A few stragglers kept to their seats, guarding their coffee cups with careful hands as
if afraid someone might wrest the cups from their fingers and tell them to “Move along now!” We had our usual conversation about how long it must take to pack up completely each and every evening and how long it would take to set it all out
again the next morning. We never reach a conclusion but at least we are consistent.
We stow our rubbish in the bin and head down the grassy bank towards the car.
“Did you enjoy that?” asks Mr B. I think about my tasteless meal - then turn my mind to the blue skies, the rippling sea, the Beavers enjoying their fun day out and the little Ballerina of the Rock Pools.
“It was lovely,” I say.