June reflections, July plans: month of strawberries and squirrels

My god it rained this past month. I heard on the radio that we had five weeks of rain in three days at one point! Swathes of wheat have collapsed in the fields. The canals are full full full! In the garden, things are a-foot. Strawberries have started to ripen. The peas are wending their way up the bamboo canes. Courgettes are flowering. I have my fingers crossed against slugs and squirrels! Squirrels! I had no idea they were such a pain.

I was coming down the path to the allotment one afternoon, and heard a loud rustling. Looking up, I caught a glimpse of a bushy tail in the hedge. I took no real notice, squirrels are about always. But then I stopped at the sight of a strawberry, a large bite taken out of it, discarded in the sorrel bed! The cheek! At least if you are going to steal the ONLY ripe strawberry, have the decency to either finish it, or take your crime with you! Blasted squirrel.

I have been in Italy this past week, for work. It was delightful, if extraordinarily hot. I ate a lot of gelato. And pasta. I had excellent conversations about research, school food, writing. It was energising and rejuvenating while also being exhausting!

Yesterday, we walked back up to the allotment. I was astonished to find that there were still strawberries! I left last week thinking that I’d miss the strawberries. They would ripen while I was away and be eaten by the squirrels/birds/slugs. I am hugely pleased they were not. They are quite delicious.

Things I have loved this past month

An essay on how food can tell histories.

Eton mess tart – perfect for this time of year.

LOVED this short piece.

First look at new Little Women. Divine.

Great comment on the Goop phenomenon and wellness.

Honesty in food writing.

Fabulous piece on shrimp rolls.

New Jackson Brodie novel by Kate Atkinson. So good. I read it over the weekend, finishing it on my flight home on Sunday.

A love letter to How to Eat, Nigella Lawson’s first book.

Things I will be doing this month

Sitting outside in our terrace-y garden, drinking wine as the sun sets.

Watering the vegetables growing on the allotment and hoping for a courgette glut.

Thinking about things to do with lavender.

Having people over for a braai.

Hosting a visit from my mom, my sister, and later in the month, an uncle.

Planning book writing.

Reading Midnight Chicken, and Bread, Wine,Chocolate which I’ve borrowed from the library.

Watching Killing Eve. I am far behind, I know.

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