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Such a windy night last night and it’s still windy now.  Walked down to the big pond earlier and could hardly keep upright – we certainly miss the protection from the prevailing wind the willow trees used to give us. 

Something has eaten some of my iris flowers;  a few blues, a couple of purples and my one and only plum-coloured one.  The flowers have been nipped off neatly so a mammal not a bird;  deer, rabbit or hare.  I get so disappointed when this happens but I know the animals see my flowers as food and they take advantage of a ready supply.  I don’t like putting edging round my flower beds but I think it may deter casual browsing/grazing.  I often resort to chicken wire but that is so ugly.  I will also try attaching human hair to something near my favourite plants.  Apparently, deer cannot stand our smell and will usually stay away from anything with our scent on.  The RHS in their gardens hang up stockings filled with hair collected from hairdressers to protect trees and shrubs from deer damage.  Not attractive but worth a try.

Some early purple crocus are out – so pretty and dainty – pale mauve with bright yellow stamens and at last some of my winter aconites are emerging.  In the garden we had in the house before last the aconites appeared first, before the snowdrops, in mid-January and they spread so quickly, especially into the gravel in the driveway.  Here however, they appear in February, reluctantly, and have no desire to spread anywhere.  I cannot find a place where they want to be.  We have a cold, exposed, windswept garden and there aren’t enough well-drained areas –  probable causes.

Dogs Mercury is coming up in the ditches.  A strange plant from the spurge family with tiny greeny-yellow flowers.  Extremely poisonous with a rather fetid smell, it is pollinated by midges.  It is also sensitive to disturbance and a sign of ancient hedges and ditches.  A woodland plant.

The heavenly blue scilla are appearing under the Escallonia which also suffers in our garden and I have no idea why. 

It is so good to have both my daughters at home.  They get on well with each other most of the time (there is eleven and a half years difference in their ages) but they do tend to tease each other, spend considerable time apart in their own rooms and then are disappointed that they didn’t spend enough time with each other when A goes back to Sheffield.  R kindly made our evening meal last night; a tasty risotto and tonight we will have cottage pie.  The girls don’t like mashed potato so I put sliced browned potato on top instead.  Tomorrow we will have a traditional roast meal; roast leg of lamb.

I had a phone call about an hour ago.  I answered and after saying hello a few times I was about to put the receiver down when I was greeted by a man with a strong accent, probably Indian, who said his name was Robert and was from the computer repair team.  Why Robert, and why not give his own name?  This is so obviously a scam that giving his own name wouldn’t make much difference.   In fact, it may make me listen a little longer.

  When I was growing up in Kent my father used to patronise the corner shop run by a very hard-working Indian or Pakistani man called Dave.  My father used to get his tobacco and cigarettes from there and Dave kindly cashed cheques for Dad.  Dad was always short of money.  When my mother asked what Dave’s real name was my father was astounded.  ‘His name’s Dave!’ he said.