While we were in the garden yesterday we spent some time wondering the best approach to dealing with one of the big half-barrel planters we bought back in 2015. Both iron hoops were lying at the base, so the staves were only staying upright through habit. We were thinking it might be possible to lift the hoop back up and tap it in place - it worked on one of he other barrels last year.
This morning the decision was made for us; an unscheduled but urgent job - normal for us!
Himself has emptied the barrel (four and a half large plastic flowerpots of earth) taking every care to prevent the earth from spilling all over the pebbles. The staves were either rotten or rotting, as was the base, so quite a lot did get into the pebbles in the process, which meant scooping out another large plastic pot of mixed pebbles and soil, and then separating them. However it was a good morning's work, and a sack of wood and two rusty iron hoops for the tip in due course.
I had been planning to plant my marigolds and petunias in the barrel - ah well, I now have a number of large flowerpots to fill instead!
Just look at these beautiful carrots, growing nicely - in the spinach pot... I have no idea how they got there, but thought I may as well let them stay.
The day has ended with a most annoying piano lesson which left me very cross with the student. I had set just a few scales (they have been on-going for a couple of weeks so I was hoping for some improvement) and to do some work on a piece -not much as she is not doing a lot of practice at the moment.
I had already decided to get tough; so we spent the first 10 minutes doing one of the scales properly - it is a difficult one, not something you can blag your way through (G major in thirds, hands separately); you do have to work at it! So I persisted until she was able to play it.
Then we moved onto the next one... same story, and another ten minutes gone.
And the next...
We were had reached the last five minutes of her lesson before it was time to look at the piece - it's a Grade 7 Haydn sonata, and again not something you can bluff your way through. We have already spent tine going through it in detail including how to learn it and how to practice it.
'How have you got on? Which bit have you been working on?' I asked.
'Oh, I just sight-read through it a few times,' she eventually replied, not looking at me. I nearly ended the zoom call then and there - I have been having this battle with her for YEARS. But... I pushed through ten minutes of Proper Learning for just the first 6 bars until she could play them accurately without mistakes. She is probably still muttering...
I have some sympathy for her; if you don't practise regularly you don't make progress, and every time you go play you find that you are no better, or perhaps even worse, and a cycle of discouragement can set in. Biting the bullet - getting the job done - these are the sort of things that everyone has to learn at some stage, but the process of learning this lesson is not a wonderful experience.
Learning an instrument is about so much more than learning to play the instrument.
Next week is the last lesson of term... then a blissful summer break for both of us!
Soup for supper;
I had saved the scraps from ends of salad onions, tough asparagus trimmings, and trimmings from broccoli and used these to make stock. Yesterday I had some of the cooked asparagus in my potato and spring onion salad, and today I used the rest of the asparagus and cold potatoes, with the stock, salt, pepper, lemon etc to make a delicious soup, which has almost restored my mood. A couple of chocolate oatcakes finished the job nicely.