Good Lord, it is hot. At least for England. It was about 90ºF yesterday, and while that's slightly better than what I'll face in Florida in a few weeks, it's a challenge here in the land of no air-conditioning.
Dave and I visited our friends Sally and Mike in South London for a cold "collation," which, I learned, means "a light, informal meal." We popped into M&S for some beer on the way, and the store was deliciously air-conditioned.
"Let's just stay in here all day," I said to Dave.
But no, we did not. We got on the tube and went to their place near Greenwich, and sat out in the shade of their garden talking about the crazy state of politics, and pop culture and gardening and our summer plans. Sally recommended a TV show called "The Detectorists," a dry British comedy about guys with metal detectors trying to strike it rich. We haven't tried it yet, but it sounds promising.
Dave and I didn't even eat dinner last night, we were so inert and overheated. We just had strawberries and cream left over from Dave's dinner-party pavlova, and then we went to bed.
Today is supposed to be a scorcher, too, although right now, at 6:30 a.m., it's very pleasant.
This is the caterpillar of the Solomon's seal sawfly. Who knew that such a specific predator existed? We've been noticing for a while that the leaves on our Solomon's seal were looking tattered, and then the other day I noticed that entire stalks had been stripped bare. I took a closer look and saw these guys, munching away.
At first I thought they might turn into butterflies or something desirable, but no -- they turn into black, aesthetically nondescript flies. They drop off the plant and pupate in the soil before hatching and laying eggs in the tender stems of next spring's regrowth. Thus, the cycle continues, and the plant gets weaker and weaker.
I debated what to do, but eventually I grabbed a paper towel and killed them all. I still feel guilty about it. But as much as I am into letting nature take its course, I don't want to lose our Solomon's seal. You have to draw the line somewhere, right?
(Top photo: Chalk drawings on the sidewalk down the hill from our flat.)