Wolds Diary: Hazy days for making friends and tackling garden weeds

USUALLY, ON the last Sunday in the month some of the Pocklington Singers form a choir for the All Saints church here in Pocklington. It gives us a chance to sing some lovely sacred music.

A stroll around the lake at Castle Howard proved very pleasant. Pic: Jamie Wright

Last Sunday we did this and afterwards I was asked back to friend’s house to pick up a small Sumac tree he’d kindly potted up for me. I then had the treat of being shown round his wonderful house and grounds, by him and his wife.

The house was a treasure chest of delights. The walls were lined with countless books, there was evidence of crafts, needlework and some superb art, and wonderful wallpapers to compliment the date of the house. The garden was similarly wonderful with fine mature trees of great beauty and wild plants that made the whole garden a haven for wildlife and native flowers.

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I shared a cup of coffee with them before returning home and immediately planting the young Sumac and watering it in. I popped back with the empty flower pot a bit later and left it on their doorstep.

I’ve been very busy in the garden this week. I needed to tackle a bed of hideous plants that I’ve been putting off since I first moved in. The roots have bound together in a vice-like grip and it has required quite a bit of strength to remove even a small piece of the tangled mass that was choking all other growth. I have managed some of it, and have planted some other flowers that will, I hope, be more attractive.

I had moved a very small Monkey Puzzle tree there earlier in the year and was pleased to see it had grown enough to indicate it is happy there.

It has been so hot that the dogs are reluctant to walk and the older ones are content to lie in the cool, either under my shed or under the eaves of the house. I have walked them but the heat has been so oppressive I didn’t go far.

On the Wednesday I loaded the car with spinning wheels, and fleece and headed off to give a talk and a spinning demonstration at the well-kept village of Ellerker, not far from South Cave. I always leave with plenty of time to spare, and on this occasion it proved a good idea. There was a massive traffic queue just north of Shiptonthorpe, so I was able to head off on the back roads and whilst my journey was further it got me to the village hall in plenty of time. I was able to look round the exterior of the small but charming church of St Anne, which was close by.

They were a very welcoming branch of the WI and had opened the evening up to other branches so the hall was full. It was a very smart and modern hall. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and many ladies had a go at spinning, mostly with some success.

The next day I’d agreed to meet a friend in Helmsley, and so I took just one of the dogs, my black Labrador, Boo. She is such a docile and undemanding dog that I sometimes like to spoil her, and make a special fuss of her.

My route took me through the spectacular grounds of Castle Howard. I stopped at a car park overlooking the lake and met a lovely couple who told me where to find a footpath, and Boo and I walked by the lake. A bit later I found a bridleway, and walked her there. It was very pleasant, if a bit hot, until we got to a stretch by a wood where the most vicious horseflies seemed to consider I was lunch. I admitted defeat and retreated back to the car.

I met my friend in Helmsley and she and I sorted out some things and then went our separate ways. She has raised an impressive amount for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, and saves things for me that she knows I will use and I make a donation for them. Boo had greatly enjoyed making lots of friends during the day and slept soundly in the car on the way home.

I picked up some pictures from York on the Friday, and hung them when I got home. That night the thunder was very close, loud and alarming. The garden got very well-watered! Everything has grown spectacularly.

I was invited to a party on the Saturday evening and met some fascinating folk and had a very good time.