NGS Gardens, Hedgehogs, an Old Mistral Screamer

A couple of weekend’s ago, I went to one of those National Garden Scheme garden openings. Excellent – and a garden I’d been to before. It was alive with bees, which was nice to see. Wildlife friendly planting was very much the flavour of the garden. A suitable place for a hedgehog to think of hibernating in, too, some nice quiet corners where leaves could build up and provide a pleasant shelter. ┬áHaving seen several hedgehogs in various places recently (some in a hedgehog hospital), this was on my mind. I’ll add a photograph of a couple of flowers that were particularly popular with bees…

This last weekend was also my first windsurfing for a long, long time. Not through lack of trying – every time I’ve turned up at the coast or at a lake there has been a surprising calm. The number of times people have said, ‘well it was windy a couple of hours ago / yesterday’ is irritatingly large. I tried sailing, in a moment of frustration, in a force 3 at Bridlington on a very sunny and, in theory, windy day, and it was pleasant but it was mostly swimming not sailing. The surf was mediocre but it was more worthy than the wind. Anyway, yesterday was a solid force 4 at Grimwith with rain – and cool at about 15 centigrade – but wonderful conditions given that the breeze was steady-ish and my ancient Mistral Screamer made for an excellent bit of blasting. I am sailing a board that’s about 20 years old, shocking but it works very well indeed. I go faster than people on more modern boards. In fact you should not assume that modern boards are lighter, or stronger or faster or more fun than boards of 20 years ago. For example, here’s a test that says the old screamer, my screamer, is more fun. And, having sailed many a board, I’m sure they are right. The old screamer balanced edginess, early planing, suitability for rougher conditions, top speed and doing tight curves in a rather wonderful way. My duck gybes were OK too – tho’ I did a few remarkable dismounts when I got them wrong…. If you like mist, damp, rain, wind and moorland, it was a bit of paradise.

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