With a gentle drizzle over the landscape – something which would be called soft weather in Ireland – there’s no better time to think about planting flowers and vegetables.
After the disasters in our area just over a week ago, the sight of colours and spring scents does wonders for one’s spirit. In my own humble way, I’m helping to contribute to the renaissance of the Val di Lima realizing that compared to the poor people in the formerly tropical paradise island of Vanuatu hit by cyclone Pam our situation is literally a drop in the ocean.
In case one isn’t sure where Vanuatu is it’s near New Guinea and was formerly known as the New Hebrides before independence in 1980 (an apter former name since we experienced some of the strongest winds in our own “old” Hebrides during a return from a National Trust work party in saint Kilda).
Vanuatu is also the only place in the world where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, Prince Philip, is revered as a divinity. Villagers believe in an ancient myth regarding a white-skinned son of a mountain spirit who sailed across the seas looking for a powerful woman to marry. Shortly after his marriage Prince Philip visited the island with his new wife and the tribespeople belief in the myth was firmly clinched.
I don’t know how many ceremonies and acts of worship are being performed in honour of the God from Buckingham palace. I do know, however, that sadly for a long time Vanuatu will be not be on my list of future places to visit, like the ancient Assyrio-Babylonian cities of Iraq, currently being smashed up, not by strong winds but by mindless terrorists. Certainly, nineteenth century European archaeologists may be described as looters but at this rate the only bits of the civilization which contributed writing, astronomy and medicine to us that we may ever be able to see again will be in that large building near Russell square or even in that other formerly war-torn city, Berlin.
Anyway, let’s get back to our flowers. It’s perhaps hardly worth planting them as there are so many beautiful ones naturally sown by earth’s own gardener all around us in our woods meadows and by our river banks.