Things are not always what they seem




Did you realise that we are already past the longest day? Mid-summer day has gone and tonight we will have one more minute of darkness compared to last Sunday. It’s hardly believable but of course summer is not over yet and there is lots more to come.

Getting out in the sunshine seems lots healthier and we are told that we are less likely to catch the virus if we are safely outdoors. A good excuse to go out is to see the butterflies. Amongst the grasses in the fields I can see the ringlet butterfly.

The ringlet is a brown floppy butterfly with rings on its underwing and a little white fringe all around. It is good to spot because unlike others it will fly when it is cloudy. Look out for it now because it only lives a few weeks until it lays eggs in the long grass. The caterpillar hibernates and lives for about 11 months – a bit like us this year. In their life cycle they live much longer as caterpillars but when we think of butterflies we usually think of the adult and how beautiful it looks with its colourful wings.

What we look like and what our house interior looks like has not been a priority as no one comes inside. However, I have decided to take stock. Out go the dresses that don’t quite fit or the ones that I was sure I would find an occasion for some time. The shoes that look good but are a little tight have gone too and the old jackets that would ‘come in’.

My study has undergone a similar change. Dusty box files that have not been opened for years and my first novel that could be shaped up to a best seller have all gone to recycling.  The house has never looked so organised and tidy.

One thing I did keep though was a basil plant. I bought it in a pot from a supermarket in early March just before lockdown. I put it on the kitchen window and it kept re-growing after it was cut to go on our pasta meals. Finally, it was planted out in the greenhouse and split into two plants. It is still growing and we are still getting fresh leaves from it after three months. A plant that has certainly been worth keeping.

I am not so sure, though, about my tin of ‘baked beans’ that has been on the kitchen shelf for at least ten years. They are not edible, not because they are old but because the side of the tin lists as ingredients ‘108 printed cardboard pieces’. The directions say ‘Empty contents onto a table turning colour side up. Unscramble to make a picture …’.

It is a jigsaw. I have the time but not the inclination. All the pieces look the same, one baked bean is much like another. I wish they were real, baked beans are often hard to come by these days.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Basil plant bought from a supermarket in March 2020 waiting for tomatoes to ripen


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