Late summer sunshine, an unexpected day out 'here' in a wonderful garden, and I find myself unable to resist hauling hanks of blanket-weed out of someone else's fountain.
Of course, there is something quite fascinating about blanket-weed, an algae which floats and bubbles and strangles and spreads itself throughout a pond, and which can cost gardeners a small fortune to control. There are lots and lots of remedies, from floating a bale of barley straw to staining the water black.
I favour the RHS's nicely worded remedy of 'twirling it out with a cane'. I'm sure there are many cane-twirling members of the RHS (the black-tie-and-tails image fits wonderfully) and I have my own plentiful supply of canes from my bamboo grove.
At the same time, I have to admire an organism that can colonise so rapidly and effectively, turning a garden pond into a vat of pea-soup, and spreading its silky hair filaments into a thick blanket.
I know of someone, equally fascinated, who thought the stuff might be spun and woven.
It can't be.
Perhaps there is someone who has tried to cook and eat it?
Please let me know.
So this was a day off from gardening for me, and within a couple of hours I am up to the elbows in blanket-weed, hauling heavy, irresistible ropes of it from this beautiful fountain pond, never even thinking that the owners might be cultivating it for a purpose. Sorry, Spetchley Park owners, if you were!
Then I realise, of course, that my companions, both avid gardeners, are at it as well, tweaking out the odd dandelion, the occasional metre or two of bindweed. Gardeners cannot keep their hands to themselves, dead-heading without even realising that they are doing it.
Some days in my own garden I go out the take some melon peel to the compost bin and an hour passes before I realise it. Suddenly I find that I have a great canvas bag full of prunings and weeds and I will have to make yet another trip to the tip. But then I can't justify using petrol to take just one bag full, so I stay in the garden and fill two more giant bags........and then I realise it's getting dusk.
And I only went out to the compost bin.
A few months ago I thought I could no longer manage my garden, and was seriously considering downsizing. It was news of a coming grand-daughter that changed everything, and made me determined the keep the family house and the family garden going.
Somehow, the garden creates its own energy and passes some of it on to me.
The growth rate this year has been phenomenal, all that heat; then all that rain, then more late warmth. If I have time to sit in the garden I can hear things growing, especially the bamboo.
And the grand-daughter is growing too, for now she is nearly here, and the (blanket-weed-free) pond will have to be fenced off fairly soon, and somehow I have the energy to to twirl a cane and not only weed my own pond, but get involved in someone else's.