I thought that we’d lost our rhubarb this year but after losing an early leaf or two in the frost, the red buds are pushing up again through the wood chip at the edge of the path at foot of the hawthorn hedge. It’s the sunny side of the garden, facing southwest. The rhubarb has grown here since we moved in over thirty years ago, sprouting every year amongst the nettle leaves and the trailing stems of periwinkle. Snowdrops have spread along the foot of the hedge nearby.
Rhubarb leaves come pre-packed in their egg-shaped buds. As they unfurl, I would describe the wavy pattern of the emerging leaf as carunculated, like an elephants skin.
Eggs, birds singing in the trees, leaves like elephants’ ears . . . it reminds me of a playground poem, c.1960:
The elephant is a pretty bird,
It flits from bough to bough.
It makes its nest in a rhubarb tree
And whistles like a cow.
11.40 a.m.: The high pressure is holding over the weekend. It’s still with hazy sunshine. Warm enough to simply walk out of the back door into the garden and draw gloveless. For the first time this year as I set out drawing, I’m wearing jeans not insulated outdoor trousers.
Do you ever have one of those mornings when you’re sitting on the sofa relaxing with your morning cup of tea and a woman in wellies walks through the room clutching a chicken. Well, to give her her due, our neighbour Juliet did remove her wellies beforehand and had apologised in advance, explaining that the children had let the chickens out earlier and one little red hen had made its way under the hedge into our back garden and had settled by our shed and couldn’t be enticed back even with the promise of food.
But the odd thing is that at the moment I’m reading How to Publish Your Own eBook, which includes, on a sample page of an Apple iBooks’ publication, a photograph of someone holding a red hen under their arm. Just like Juliet as she breezed through before breakfast (we’re semi-detached so that’s the only way from back to front).
Link: MagBooks How to Publish Your Own eBook
Which was written by journalist and photographer Nik Rawlinson