Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Stalking snowdrops, wild neeps and other extreme horticultural activities.

In exciting news today after the torture of physio on my poor leg, I was given the heads up to walk 'off road' and even get out on my bike again on flat surfaces. Yay. We (the mutts and I) celebrated with a long clifftop walk and a scamp around the headland beside the Broch o' Gurness towards Tingwall, re continuing the attempt at walking the entire Orkney coast. 
And, in celebration of the newly freed leg, the sun shone. It knew it was a good day. The Peedie pup watched the Broch in case any local archaeology tried anything sneaky. There's so much archaeology here in Orkney, we do think it multiplies when no ones watching. With this in mind, when near to old stones and habitations, he keeps a canny eye.
When about to embark on leaving the local surgery, prior to the actual off road 'scampage' the lovely physio asked me if I indulged in many 'extreme' activities aside when breaking myself skiing.
I thought long and hard. Best to be honest I think.
Well, I said, I do like to sometimes grow vegetables WITH flowers, in gardening terms that can be quite EXTREME in some peoples views. She looked perplexed, so I continued, considering her to be really interested........ I'm thinking of how to grow perennials, herbs and veggies in containers this year to mix things up a bit in my small space. She looked more than a bit confused.
She clearly was NOT a vegetable gardener, so I thought I'd appeal to her creative flowery side as I like to grow both flowers and veggies. I'm very inclusive like that.
So I also confessed I've currently been stalking local snowdrops this week, as they're just coming out. But haven't climbed any (many!) walls yet, I said, you know until my leg was a bit better, as I didn't want to slip in the snow.
Well with snow drops you often need a better look OVER peoples garden walls (and to be fair I'm a bit short).......so when stalking other folks gardens I find I often need to scale tall buildings or at least the odd peedie dyke...........which can be a bit tricky in the current snow/sun/gales/snow/sun kind of weather we've been having lately.
She didn't look impressed at all, not that I think she doesn't like snowdrops, but, no wall climbing I was told. Gentle exercise only, no attempts at kneeling either, nothing extreme.  To be honest I don't find ANY exercise very gentle and currently I find kneeling highly overrated, it hurts.
So, I got my coat, not that it was needed today as it was gorgeous and headed straight to the beach, extreme gardening of any form clearly being off the cards for the moment. Thankfully she said nothing about NOT climbing fences, beside cliffs, to get photos of wild Orkney neeps, still in hibernation, beside the sea. The sheep on the hilltop keep a canny watch, hiding under their towering wind turbines.
Gardening or snowdrop or wild Orkney neep stalking, it would seem, isn't an extreme activity in some peoples eyes. Hopefully I'll get my wall climbing pass back soon, plenty more snow drops to find.
As for the wild neep stalking over fences, we'll just keep between us. They, (the fences) were more than a bit shoogly (wobbly) to be telling the nice lady physio about. I don't want my fence climbing pass taken away too.
Nice field of wild Orkney neeps though, basking in the February sunshine, languishing dormant before they head off north to Sweden on their annual pilgrimage back to the homelands for annual ritual of self seeding...........


  1. Okay so I must ask (forgive my lack of linguistic knowledge), what is a neep? I've looked and looked at that photo and I'm wondering if it might be a turnip?

  2. Coo! The neeps holiday in Sweden? Thats a loooong way for a little neep to trot :) Erm, are you sure those are wild, Flowery One? They look very well behaved to me :) :) :)

  3. Oooh, a bit more lovely coast! How very gorgeous. Naughty girl though climbing over fences (but I won't tell, I promise). Glorious sunshine here too today, but I have to make do with the garden, not the seaside!

  4. Pah, where ARE my comments disappearing too!! Fay, your blog is EATING them! Naughty blog!

    Anyway, all I was saying was HOORAY to sunshine and tut tut ;) to you for fence climbing activities (I won't tell, honest) :)

  5. Neeps = Turnips....or possibly swedes, but we'd best not get into THAT debate!

    As for the fence climbing, if the torture-lady didn't say not to, then it must be fine, mustn't it?!

  6. Hiya Fay, I've emerged from hibernation and done some catching up. Sorry about the leg, but what do you expect if you go skiing? Mug's game. Do they not let the sheep into the neep fields at this time of year? I thought that was the whole point - after all, humans can only consume so many. BTW I tried your bare stick test and got most of them....made my day!

  7. I like the fact that you missed out some of your more extreme activities like climbing shoogily, don't you just love that word, fences. No way would I have revealed all and for exactly the same reasons as you. All you need now is have patience til you get the full permission slip!
    Those snowdrops in the snow are delightful.

  8. I love the idea of needing a wall-climbing pass. Almost as much as picturing the confused face of your physio as you talk veg and flowers at her! They sound like good experiments though, can't wait to see them in action. And hoorah for being able to walk on rough ground again!!!

  9. Once upon a time, in an interview to teach English at an American language school in Japan I had to re-tell a story from a given set of pictures, and I invented one about a stocking permit because the badly drawn man in the pictures looked like he was wearing them and was being accosted by a uniformed enforcer of something or other - your post reminded me of it. Didn't get the job though.

    Good luck in acquiring the requisite paperwork soon.

  10. Such a lovely visit I had to your corner of the world. What a beautiful place... though it looks like just about anything could happen at any time! I love the rocks, the water and the snowdrops standing bravely in the snow. Thank you. I'll be back often!

  11. Well now you've done it--opened up that horrible Neep/Turnip Debate again. Good heavens. Well I just hope you have healed enough to deal with it. And I must say all those neeps in rows don't look awfully 'wild' to me. Seems like wild ones would be in clumps around hidden springs or sprouted under abandoned mills or etc. In any case next time pull a couple and send them to Kininvie, he owes me a carved one and the the interest cost on that is growing like mad. So glad you are getting better and are back to your dangerous explorations Fay!!

  12. I always thought neeps were parsnips?