Common Ground

I am currently recovering from an unaccustomed bout of sociability; no sooner had I waved off one old friend on her train south, than I myself was heading north to visit two more old friends for our (now traditional – three times is a tradition, right?) annual reunion, this year hosted by my pal in Auchtermuchty.

Too often, when you connect with old school friends in later life, you find you no longer have much in common, but that’s not the case with these two who share many of my own eccentricities such as a fondness for truffling out secondhand bargains, getting outside, eating cake, gardening, and talking the hind legs off any passing donkeys.

This year the Brompton came too and we ventured out along the back roads of Fife, encouraged by the prospect of cake (as we approached the final hill, my friend announced ominously that the food at our intended destination was ‘rather worthy’ but fortunately this didn’t extend as far as the cake selection).

cycling the back roads

On the way back, we just had to stop at the local auction house although it was, perhaps fortunately, too early to put a bid on the giant pig …

giant papier mache pig

My friend helps to manage the local common, which was excelling itself when we walked round it yesterday – I have a particular fondness for harebells and they were in flower absolutely everywhere, along with apparently everything else. We often struggle to keep our gardens blooming in July but it seems that with the proper application of sheep, scything at the right time of the year and otherwise leaving things alone, nature has no difficulty at all.

meadow flowers

Not to be outdone, the local woods were pretty spectacular too.

floral woodland

The rest of the time was spent catching up, putting the world to rights, and inducting my friends into the mysteries of sourdough bread making, having brought a couple of offshoots of Jimmy Carter the Starter along.

jimmy shand statue

You cannot visit Auchtermuchty and not play homage to the other Jimmy

The only tiny fly in the ointment (apart from having to hole away from time to time on the laptop to get some work done) was visiting our hosts’ neighbours’ vegetable patch and associated polytunnel. My asparagus bed has started to perk up in the last couple of weeks and I’d been feeling quite pleased with it, until I realised that this is what it was supposed to look like at this time of year:

asparagus in polytunnel

I think we’ve got a ways to go.

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