Anyone from Mars who happened across a whole bunch of gardeners' blogs this Spring will have wondered why on earth any of us in the UK continue with a so-called pleasure giving hobby, due to the fact that there is not one amongst us, I don't think, who hasn't found the weather this Spring extremely trying.
Even the hardy hobbit who pretty much lives outside in the elements has sounded less than enthusiastic - and who can blame her with well over a foot of rain falling on her Cumbrian idyll this year so far?
Any trips that I have had to the Hill over the past three months have been either in the rain; or not in the rain until I've been there for two minutes when it has started. The enthusiasm is dented because the days have not been warm, the nights less so. Anything that I have planted out has been eaten by slugs or snails (I'm on my fifth try at carrots, the third of french beans); the only things to thrive have been the weeds (and teh peas, oddly).
It has been dry since Friday, sunny over the weekend - and glorious today. The tomatoes in the courtyard have put on three inches in as many days; and at the Hill, the courgettes are finally big enough to withstand slug attack, the re-sown french beans are up, and the peas are going wild.
Last week I'd heard that there was a lovely pile of chippings up by the store shed. I'd love to thank the unknown donor as these are exactly what I want to refresh the paths (although I might argue that I would have been saved a great deal of effort and a number of hours yesterday pushing the damn wheelbarrow up and down the Hill if they had been dropped off somewhat nearer the plot).
So the paths look fabulous, the beds are weeded, a start has been made on the 'messy corner', and I ate a punnet full of raspberries tonight (after some rudimentary carpentry to mend the collapsing frame); and came home the first of the peas; some wonderful broad beans and new potatoes, warm from the soil.
That's why I do it.