For all your wordy needs*

* this is not an original slogan, because 748 other Google hits have it, but it is my slogan. There is little original in this world.

A week ago, I finally got round to having some business cards printed. I don’t know why I need them more in France but I do. It’s much more au courant and even rubbish people have business cards. I guess in England (or Japan) you’d find their website on the spot, add their linkedin, their facebook, their blog, their website and their google details and have done. Here, few people carry their phone with them, and all that gives you is access to their phone number. If you want more, like web address details, then a business card is perfect.

I’d looked at all the ‘cheap’ French sites and was quite disgusted that they can charge 21€ to send a small box. I pay 3€ to send books to students, and it doesn’t weigh more than that. Vistaprint seemed to be the go-to: everyone I get one off seems to have a free set of Vistaprint cards, but the ‘free’ ones were a bit 90s looking, and not in a good way. They didn’t really have any designs I liked either.

So in the end I went for the more honest and I’m very pleased with the results. I’d seen a blogger I follow in the USA recommending them and when I looked, I thought ‘wow!’ – mine!

I like the typewriter ones because they go with the ‘for all your wordy needs’ slogan and I like the colours and the weight of the card. Now I need to get a handbag out to put them in. Normally, I’m a pockets kind of a girl over here, which is very sad, since I used to be a handbag kind of a girl.

To be fair, ‘for all your wordy needs’ is a good slogan for me. Maybe I might have a set with ‘will write for food’ or something along those lines too. In the last month, I’ve written about bicycle cranks and feline HIV, cognac, butter, amortisation, the Bombay Stock Exchange, several poems, lesson plans, blogs… diverse is perhaps my middle name.

But my garden has not gone un-tended. Luckily, these lengthy days make life much more pleasant and I’ve been getting on with several projects – not least of which is losing the dress size I’ve put on over winter. It was nice gaining it and all these extra hours of movement will mean that it’s nice losing it too. I don’t weigh myself any more – I was compulsive about it when I used to run a lot – and if you’re a runner, you’ll know why. If you try running with a back pack with even 5 kg of stuff in it, it all slows you down, makes your lungs and heart work harder. But I like eating. There’s nothing psychological about it – it just tastes good. I like cooking and I like eating. I eat well and I eat healthily, but with a freezer filled with apples and pears, cherries and plums, it’s hard to resist the lure of crumbles and pies with creme fraiche or creme anglaise. This is why I like the summer months because I get to work it off again.

So what have I been sowing?

I’ve sowed mirabilis, broccoli, asters, calendula, marguerites and radish today.

Mirabilis are a half-hardy annual – I’ve tried to get a good balance of flowers in this year, because last year’s flowers were decidedly thin on the ground, bar the 29c packets of marigolds and zinnias I picked up from Lidl. I know annuals are a lot of effort, and to be honest, dry as last year was, it’s a bit of a waste of water, though I used grey water to keep them happy.

These mirabilis red and yellow marbles seeded very well and are a bit nasturtium-like, leaf-wise. I used the propagator to get them going and it was a great start for them. This is a beautiful blog by the way, if you click on the image of the flowers.

My mum sent me a packet of Aster ostrich feather which I’ve also sown today.

More half-hardy annuals, but lovely colours. These will be lovely with some bright whites mixed in, don’t you think? I love their fronds and thin petals – they’re like little bright pom-poms. I think these with some little pom-pom whites or some of the marguerites will look fabulous. It’ll just be a matter of keeping on top of them and keeping them moist enough – though this year I’m hopefully not going to have to keep going back to the UK to mark and therefore my garden won’t go to ruin.

I planted my marguerite etoile d’Anvers which are giant perennials. I love perennials and I’d love to have a cottage garden, though it’s far too dry for a cottage garden round here.

Finally, on the flower front, it was the turn of the calendula art shades which is a hardy annual. I got loads of seeds from my marigolds last year, and I’m hoping this will be the same. I only had maybe ten or so that were planted at the end of each row of vegetables.  I like the whole idea of mixed planting – flowers with vegetables. Not only do the flowers pretty up the vegetable patch (which is, though, pretty enough as it is) but they also keep nasties away. Luckily, we don’t get much by way of nasties. The birds were the major pests: they completely savaged my beautiful sweetcorn and the hens destroyed the red cabbage. Naughty birds.

But with all this floraison, I’ve not been remiss with the vegetables. I’m about to plant some courgettes and have already planted some broccoli. I didn’t plant any broccoli last year and this year I’m sporting not one but two varieties: romanesca and purple sprouting. Romanesca is just beautiful


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