Sunday, September 8, 2019
A few weeks ago, when I first wrote about taking foxglove seedlings to some of my co-workers, blog commenter Frances said, "If you would like to come to Harpenden....easy on the train and Olga would be welcome....I would love some foxglove seedlings!"
Operating on my general principle that I will happily go anywhere I have never been before, I took her up on the challenge. Yesterday morning I hopped a train in West Hampstead and rode 15 minutes or so north to Harpenden, a town in Hertfordshire.
I took Olga with me, as well as eight foxglove seedlings, and Frances met us at the train station with her schnauzer, Alexi.
Olga was fired up at being somewhere new, and was about to pull my arm out of the socket, so we went to nearby Rothamsted Park where I could let her off the leash to chase her Kong and blow off some steam. We admired the stately avenue of lime trees planted by Sir John Bennet Lawes, a Victorian agricultural scientist who founded a nearby farming research center that not only still operates but is apparently quite famous.
We also visited the churchyard of the local Anglican church, where Olga did her best to catch some Harpenden squirrels. Just like London squirrels, they're way too fast for her.
(Alexi, meanwhile, was being much better behaved and seemed content to stay by Frances' side.)
On the Harpenden high street, with its many small parks and green spaces, we found this exhausted and possibly narcoleptic bulldog in front of a cafe. It didn't even stir while I took its picture.
We looked for a place to have a drink. Olga had a suggestion...
...but alas, the Mad Squirrel didn't appear to be open.
Instead we went to the Cross Keys pub, which has a little beer garden in the back. I had a pint. (Hey, it was noon! Almost!)
Frances and I talked about our families and compared notes on other blogs we read (we have several in common). Frances doesn't write a blog herself but she's a regular reader, which is great -- it seems fairly rare to meet blog readers who aren't also writers!
Then I headed back to London, in time for a late lunch with Dave, and spent the afternoon on household tasks. I still haven't planted our own foxgloves. Frances said she's going to put hers in pots to grow on before transplanting to the garden later. I may do the same. They still seem awfully small to simply surrender them to nature now.
In the evening, Dave and I continued watching "Top of the Lake," a Netflix series set in New Zealand and produced by Jane Campion (of "The Piano" fame). I'm really enjoying that series. It's got great atmosphere -- a dark plot set against the grey skies and mountainous wintry landscapes of New Zealand's South Island. Check it out if you haven't already!