Jaqui's Daily Blog

Starlings, Tomatoes and a Visit to the Garden Centre

There is open warfare going on out on our back lawn.


Literally dozens of starlings are stalking about like they own the place, pulling up worms and feeding them to their over-sized babies who are struggling along behind them, trying to keep up. The noise is incredible.  A few brave sparrows are diving hither and thither among the sparkly ones and every so often one of the Resident Pigeons flies down and eyes up the scene warily before swooping off to a quieter, more peaceful place.  Our friendly squirrel skulks around sulkily, clearly more than a little cross at the invasion.  Mr B and I are at a loss to understand why we have been so highly favoured.


I once had a pet baby starling. I was about six at the time. He had fallen out of his nest somewhere overhead at the top of a drainpipe and I saw it as my duty to care for him. I had visions of him feeding out of my hand, growing big and strong, sitting on my shoulder when we went out for walks.  My mother, much wiser than I, counselled me to allow his own mother to feed and raise him, in the hope that he might survive.  Sadly I don’t think he did though the passage of time has drawn a gentle veil over my memory of his eventual fate.


I was planning to spend time in the garden myself this afternoon.  Not exactly digging and delving because, as you know so well, I’m more of a Planting Up The Pots and Hanging Baskets type of a gardener.  I thought I would try my hand at a few vegetables, too. Maybe some tomato plants in a grow-bag – nothing too taxing. Mr B says he can’t believe I am talking about growing tomatoes when I don’t ever eat them myself. 


It is true. Whenever we eat out and my meal comes with a tasty side salad of lettuce, cucumber, red onion and tomatoes, the tomatoes always find themselves transferred, very gently, onto Mr B’s plate.  My brother-in-law still likes to remind me of one particular lunch we enjoyed on holiday in Cyprus, when I added my unwanted tomatoes to Mr B’s plate – of tomato salad.  As if he needed more...


I once was told a story about a young mum who was thrilled to be going out to her husband’s firm’s dinner where she would be able to have the kind of civilised conversation which she ached for, after four years in the world of babes and toddlers.  All was going well and she was delighted to be seated on the top table, next to The Boss, whom she determined to entertain with her scintillating wit and wisdom.  Mid-way through a detailed review of the latest must-see film, she noticed that The Boss was looking at her strangely. Which is when she realised that she was cutting up his meat for him...


Now I used to think that this story was a complete and utter fabrication. Until the day I went out to lunch with a colleague who suddenly stopped talking and looked at me as if I were crazy. Yes, indeed – I had quietly transferred my tomatoes onto her plate without even thinking...


As well as the tomatoes which I will not eat, I thought I could grow some runner beans in a very large pot, with a wigwam like structure of bean poles.  We haven’t grown runner beans for years – not since the children were young and spent a whole afternoon gathering all the “pretty flowers” for me. Mr B sort of gave up after that.  Maybe a herb garden would be useful, for when I cook with herbs. Which isn’t very often but maybe being able to pop out into the garden with my scissors and chop off some parsley or mint or oregano or something else with a fancy name and intoxicating smell might inspire my culinary efforts.


We planned to go to the Garden Centre this afternoon to put all these well-meaning plans in to action but somehow or other Mr B fell asleep in front of the cricket on TV and I took to the garden with my knitting and my book – so by the time we actually made it to the Garden Centre we only had half an hour before the store closed.  We came out with a patio base, some ant killer and a bottle of Miracle-Gro. Not exactly inspiring shopping.  Mr B is personally well-satisfied with our purchases but says maybe we could call in again tomorrow for the bedding plants, the grow-bag, the tomato seedlings, and everything else on my list of “Garden Must-Haves.”


Tomorrow is, indeed, another day...


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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