A feast for snails
THE children have been laid low by sickness this week, so permission to attend a 70th-birthday party in Salisbury on Saturday felt like leave of absence from a plague ship. It was extraordinarily uplifting arriving in the cathedral close. The sunshine brought to life the stone and brickwork of its encircling buildings and bestowed, for the first time this year, that touch of warmth that presages spring. Tourists and townsfolk basked in its unfamiliar rays, moving slowly across the cathedral green with their heavy coats unbuttoned. Dominating the whole scene was the vast, golden mass of the cathedral itself, the prodigious spire rearing up into the emptiness of the sky. Surely, there is here some of the quintessence of England.
It’s hard to imagine a space more utterly unlike the Salisbury Cathedral Close in every particular than our garden. The following day, however, we broke the tedium of another enforced day at home by preparing this postage stamp of enclosed ground for spring. As I optimistically sowed a few vegetable seeds, I reflected on the bitter experience of previous years: far from growing fruits for our own table, we were preparing an elaborate feast for the slugs and snails that proliferate here. JG