Of holy vegetables, a plague of pennywort and diverse lives

The butter beans for tonight’s meal are bubbling away on the hob. I have just enjoyed my lunch, and am having a moment’s post prandial relaxation while the digestive processes get to work. It’s a beautiful day; sunny with a breeze which means I need to make sure I don’t burn when I go about my next self-imposed task to start cleaning the boat covers. I say start, because I want to see if the brushes on the cordless drill will make the job easier. However, I forgot to bring the charger, so how much charge is in the drill remains to be seen.

I have visited Reach, picked some blackberries to give my downstairs neighbours as a thank-you for keeping an eye on the plants these last couple of days, and doing my almost daily shop at the organic farm. Again I bought spinach. The other day I noticed there was a separate batch of spinach, half the price of the rest. This is what the label said:

Holey Spinach

Now the farm, as I have written before, as well as being organic also employs people with a range of disability, including those with learning difficulties. I assumed this was a spelling mistake. After all there’s holy basil, so why not holy spinach. Then I noticed the holey kale and the penny dropped. These were bags of veg with holes in.

The farm is my favourite place to buy flowers for my time afloat too.

Flower selection

At Burwell I filled the car with petrol and had a little explore. Burwell calls itself a village, but it’s huge. If only there were still a railway station there. I stumbled upon this chapel. It was the chimney that caught my eye at first.

Unexpected chapel, Burwell

Older Nephew arrived at the marina as I was surveying the pennywort. There’s loads of it. It has spread like a plague around these waterways. To port of das Boot it looks like a field.

A Plague of Pennywort

Older Nephew is going to spending a couple of nights afloat with his girlfriend. I had warned him about the pennywort. There was a raft of it behind das Boot which I had moved aside with the boat hook on Tuesday evening. By yesterday morning it was back. Pennywort is not something you want caught in the propeller. Older Nephew looked, listened, and set to with the boat hook. I went off to get something and returned to see him committing an act of piracy, boarding the neighbouring boat to haul the pennywort out of the way, lifting it and piling it up so it couldn’t simply float back again. So far so good. Twenty four hours later and it is still where he manhandled it.

I was in full Aunt mode, wanting to make sure their trip goes well. I showed him where the towels were, the tea towels, the spare waterproof jacket, the switch to make the fridge run from the battery not from the hook up. I showed him how to light the cooker, suggested he could remove the cat litter and tray for the time they are out. I gave him water storage containers so they can fill up with fresh water before they embark on their trip. I showed him where spare clothes are in case either of them falls in. I’d already replaced the fraying rope with a new smart, navy blue one, and attached a new royal blue rope from the middle of the boat to the pontoon. I showed him the new bungee cord should any of the existing bungees come to grief. He looked at the brushes to use with the cordless drill and how to put the pump, hose and jet washer together.

He ordered a number plate with the boat registration number so it can be displayed. This is a legal requirement and something I have never had. I checked our membership of GOBA so they can use the GOBA moorings.

Then I gave him some food. A vegan pizza. His eyes widened. Older Nephew is very much a meat and as little veg as possible man. But after I had customised said pizza with extra olives and capers he seemed happy enough. Happier still when I produced the hot pickled peppers we both love. He managed one plum. One plum! Are we really related? I have very little self control when it comes to fruit. The idea that I might just eat a single plum when presented with more is almost inconceivable. Then off he went to join a friend for a flight over the Norfolk coast in a small ‘plane.

I think he’s sufficiently grown up to manage his weekend afloat.

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8 thoughts on “Of holy vegetables, a plague of pennywort and diverse lives

    • Thanks Pix. I think one of the things I love most is being a partial member of another community. Driving about today I realised, yet again, that Londoner though I now consider myself to be, at my core I am a country girl.

      • I hear you Isobel. I was pretty much raised in the city and cities were my life until we moved to the Tiny Ten. That was some rural/country life there. In my heart I am a country girl but the country has changed in Missouri. It has become a place for meth cookers and drug users. I’d love to find some pure country… Northern Idaho sounds pretty good. And so too the country you speak of from which you have returned seeing your family with pups, cats, and sheep and the beautiful countryside.

        • It’s a big pull, but then I go to the theatre, or walk five minutes from my front door to buy fresh veg, or ten minutes down the road to have supper with a friend and the beautiful simplicity of city living is revealed.

  1. I’m all about the veg. There’s a company here that sells “cosmetically challenged” veg via internet. Apparently a very big market. I love the “holey” veg. Accurate description, appropriate discount and just as useful in your soup. Other than “holey” what would you suggest call such veg marching to a different drummer?

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