My running may have to be put off until we return to Galicia. We have, or rather Phil has, been spending time investigating flights for next weekend. We will travel via London and visit the offspring down there en route. A few weeks in a more southerly location, even if it should give us Galician rain, will be very welcome.
And by the time we return, hopefully the snow will have gone and the spring flowers might even be making a start. I may, however, miss the snowdrops in the garden, currently under a layer of snow but ready to bloom briefly as soon as the snow clears.
In the review section of the newspaper we came across a picture of Gnome Chomsky, a garden gnome modelled on the linguist and political commentator Noam Chomsky. For $195 you can purchase a 17 inch high Noam to stand in your garden. For $95 you can buy an unpainted version and paint him in your own choice of colours. Apparently the popularity of the garden gnome puts Noam Chomsky ahead of the field amongst big thinkers with a merchandising range. Who knew that people who like garden gnomes were even aware that Chomsky existed? Life is full of curiosities!
On my kitchen window ledge I have a quite large avocado pear plant. I grew it myself from an avocado pear stone, half burying the stone in compost, watering it frequently and eventually seeing a straggly shoot appear. The first one I ever grew was often neglected. I was a busy working girl and mother back then. Whenever I forgot to water it for some time, it would shed leaves. Watering it again would lead to further flourishing but it ended up as a tall, thin plant with just a few leaves at the top, not a pretty thing by any means. I returned home one day to find that Phil had decided that it needed some radical pruning to encourage it to put out shoots lower down its straggly stem. Unfortunately decapitation has the same effect on avocado pear plants as it does on people.
Since then, I have been more careful and more successful. Several have been nurtured and passed on to friends. And when we go away for long periods I leave the plant standing in a large pot of water so that it does not dry up too much, this works more effectively than relying on my daughter to pop in and water it! She too is a working girl and mother and tends to neglect pot plants. The current version has in fact two plants in one pot. One of my seedlings having just begun to grow before we set off on our travels on one occasion, a couple of years ago now, I repotted it into a larger plant pot, left it in its bain-marie and went away. What I had forgotten was that the larger plant pot already contained a hidden avocado stone, which sprouted in my absence. Consequently I came back to find two for the price of one.
I mention avocado pear plants because in the Guardian magazine today Alys Fowler writes about "sprouting an avocado pip". A pip? Surely "pip" is too small for what you find inside an avocado pear! Apples have pips. Ordinary pears have pips. But cherries have stones and I am pretty sure that avocados do as well. She offers sprouting avocado "pips" as an occupation for frustrated gardeners who are itching to plant seeds outside but cannot do so because of the foul weather. One of her methods is identical to mine. I stumbled across (invented it) it by accident because sticking cocktail sticks into an avocado stone and balancing it over a pot of water, the other method recommended, just seemed too hit-and-miss to me. But then, I am not a gardener. People, mostly grandchildren, have often asked if it will ever grow pears for me. Alys Fowler finishes her article with this comment:: "Don't expect fruit though. Avocados are native to Mexico and Central America, can easily reach 20 metres, and your house is too cold and too dark."
20 metres???!!!! Just a bit tall! And how long does it need to grow so high?