Wolds Diary: Raising a toast to Her Majesty in a season of abundant colour

This time of year is one of the most beautiful, with its vivid blossom. Picture: Tony Johnson
This time of year is one of the most beautiful, with its vivid blossom. Picture: Tony Johnson
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The weather has been so glorious lately that I have spent most of my available time outside. In addition to early morning dog walks there has been the gardening.

I have excavated an old flower bed, dug it and turned it into a herb bed with a predominance of mints. Fortunately, it is lined with brick so I hope the mint will stay in there, not spread throughout the garden.

I planted more rows of vegetables and salads and already some of them are showing.

In the choir we have been singing a beautiful song ‘My Love’s An Arbutus’ by Stanford. I was curious by what an arbutus was and discovered that it is a tree, an evergreen, with edible fruit, so I went to a nursery and asked if they have, or could they get me, such a tree.

The gentleman looked a bit surprised but said, yes, they had several, but it was more like a shrub and needed an ericaceous soil - matter that is suitable for acid-loving plants. I acquired both and planted it in a huge half barrel.

The Tuesday was busy. I headed up to Ryedale in the morning to the very posh Rugby Club at Malton where I spoke to the Forum there. They were very generous to my charity. They laughed and they were such a nice group of people.

I did gardening in the afternoon and in the evening I went up to my friends in the Yorkshire Countrywomen’s Association at Wilberfoss, just up the road from Pocklington. I have been there before and they are such fun.

No sooner had I finished my talk then they booked me for another date later in the year, for a craft session. I had taken my quilt which rather fascinated them. One lady also gave me some ties.

The next evening, I headed down to the village of North Newbold. I arrived in time to meet the lady setting the hall up so I could help her. The school where the meeting was held for the WI is very fine and set beneath a hill which was glowing yellow with oil seed rape in full bloom.

After the talk I was asked to cut a cake that had been prepared in honour of The Queen’s 90th birthday. Not only did we drink a toast her health, we sang Happy Birthday after an impromptu rendering of Jerusalem. I drove home while it was still daylight having had a great evening. I am sure that all over the Commonwealth such toasts and good wishes are given to Her Majesty.

I had a huge bag of ties delivered this week, over 400 of them which together with about a 100 others I needed to get sorted. This takes time, to dismantle, cut up and wash them. I have yet to iron the pieces and sort them into the relevant boxes, but hope to tackle that this coming week.

I spent Friday afternoon checking the proof reading of my forthcoming novel. I am getting rather excited about it coming out. I am already working on another. I hope this one sells.

The walk I normally take my dogs on is now not available as sheep are back on the pasture so I’ve reverted to others. The dogs don’t seem to care.

On Saturday I travelled to York to score for the match at a lovely cricket pitch near the university, at Heslington. I had the company of a very clever and charming lad, mature beyond his years, still at junior school, who was very good at scoring. The weather remained fine, and the facilities were superb, even boasting a warm scoring room, with an electronic score board apparatus. Luxury.

This has also been a very sad fortnight for me. In addition to the passing of a friend last week, the tragic death occurred on Friday of our beloved verger at Pocklington, Jennifer Bean, who was a good friend. It was, mercifully, peaceful and she will be so sadly missed.

Everywhere I go at the moment the world is full of the most spectacular and colourful blossoms on various trees. The pink cherry blossoms are set off by the whites and pale greens and the world is so wonderful, I think at this time of year, especially, I will always remember those friends I lost when the world looked so lovely.