07 February 2009

Cold out there - but warm and cosy inside

It's finally started to warm up a bit. The weather station reports that for January we had:

Mean high: -4.7°C/23.5°F (norm -2°C/28°)

Mean low: -14.3°C/6.3°F (norm -14°C/6.8°F)

Average temperature: -9°C/15.8°F (norm -7°C/19.4°F)

Days with temperatures below -18°C/0°F: 12

Days with temperatures above 0°C/32°F: 5

Highest temperature: 3.3°C/38°F

Lowest temperature: -24.4°C/-12°F

So it has been a couple of degrees colder overall than the long-term average for this area. There certainly wasn't a noticeable thaw this January.

With precious little happening on the gardening front (and beginning to get tired of looking at snow and icicles), I've been interested to follow a gardening meme started by VP on her Veg Plotting blog. VP is asking fellow gardening bloggers to select 3-5 dinner party guests for this evening who have an interest in gardening or nature. There have been some excellent entries (see VP's own selection and the links from that post for other people's).

I've been having some thought about this and am finding it very difficult, but here are my choices of people I'd like to see around the table at my imaginary dinner party tonight.

Firstly (since an interest in nature as well as gardening is allowed) I think I'd like Sir David Attenborough to come along. I bet he is just full of brilliant stories about plants, animals and people. I so enjoyed her book The Naming of Names, that I'd love to have Anna Pavord as guest number two. I'm sure lots of other British gardeners will choose my third guest, Geoff Hamilton. My parents always watched Gardeners' World on a Friday evening and Geoff presented the show for 17 years until his untimely death in 1996. I wasn't really into gardening in those days, but even I found the parts of the show with Geoff in them interesting and accessible. As an early advocate of organic methods, he had a big impact on UK gardeners.

I would be interested to see how Geoff got on with my fourth guest, Michael Pollan, the hugely influential US writer on food and agriculture. My final guest would be Kate Gardner, resident of Bozeman, Montana, and author of the Manic Gardener blog, which is stuffed full of interesting research on organic gardening and the environment, but which also makes me chuckle on a regular basis. If I had a bigger table there are a number of other bloggers that I'd squeeze in around the corners, too, but VP has limited our guests to just five, so maybe another time...


Shirley said...

Hi there Amanda, ah… I’d like to hear the chat at your table :-)

You considered Brown and I considered Attenborough how interesting! Ah… Anna Pavord has a book of border plantings on my bookshelf. I’m not familiar with your last two guests but I have no doubt whatsoever that Geoff, with his down to earth way, will keep your party going. Have a great night :-D

Anonymous said...

Good choices. I'd love to listen to Sir David Attenborough. I almost included Geoff Hamilton too.
Enjoy your meal!

VP said...

Hi Amanda - so glad this meme is brightening up your February :)

I'm surprised you're the first to bag David Attenborough! What a fund of stories he must have - there'll be no shortage of conversation at the lovely table you've shown us.

I hadn't read any Anna Pavord until I started my gardening course, but I'm gobbling up everything of hers up now. I have a dilemma with her Naming of Names book though - I found a copy on Amazon secondhand and it turns out to be an unwrapped special edition version. Do I open it or not?

Geoff Hamilton would be great for loads of down to earth advice and I've just discovered Michael Pollan's work thanks to the world of blogging.

Kate is such good fun - I wonder what she's making of all of this?

Enjoy your meal and good company. Thanks for being tops and joining in :D

Amanda said...

Hi VP - well you could leave it wrapped and buy another one, but I think a book that is never read is a very sad object indeed, so I would put it out of its misery and read it, if I were you!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Good choices! I never even considered David Attenborough. I hope you're getting in on this wonderful thaw we're having in Chicagoland. I can see actual plants in the garden again for the first time in over a month.

Sol said...

Hi there just popped over from VP's blog. I also took part in the Dinner party challenge.

Love your guests.

On a completely different note, if there was any points you would have loved to have had, from someone who had already emmigrated to Canada? we ourselves are waiting to hear if we will be accepted. We should have a yes or no, to if we can even get on the list in May. It all changed in November. They now assess you straight off and if they say no you get the money back.

Any advice and Hind sight would be GRATEFULLY received...

and I will leave you with the advert
'Good things gr0o-o-ow in On-tar-rio!'. Have a great day

Anna said...

Hello, I am just doing the rounds of VP's dinner parties. You have some excellent guests. I loved watching 'Gardeners World' when Geoff was at the helm and was saddened by his untimely death. Your table looks most inviting. Enjoy your dinner party !

Amanda said...

Thanks everyone!

Slice of life: Aaaargh - I had a real job getting that Ontario food song out of my head last year and now you've blasted well put it back again... ;-)

It's hard to answer your question without knowing your circumstances, but some of the things that spring to mind are:
1) Be aware that interest rates are highly volatile and don't assume they will stay at the level they are at any given time
2) If you've got a house to sell, put it on the market as soon as you know you are emigrating
3) Car insurance is expensive here: bring evidence of no claims discounts with you
4) Expect to have difficulty communicating! Lots of things have different names and working with builders/electricians etc. is quite an education!
5) I can't think of anything else, but just to say that I haven't regretted a single minute of our move. I hope your emigration journey is a smooth one!

a said...

I never thought of David Attenborough either, what a great guest he would be, I could listen to him for hours. His documentary the private life of plants was amazing, who else would climb to the top of a mountain ash (which grow just up the road in the Dandenongs)?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful guests! It seems as though it will be a lovely event. :)

Sol said...

Thanks for that Amanda. Hopefully we will know yes or no in May. I cant wait to find out.

Hopefully it will all run smoothly, and will have family at the other end to help guide us and laugh at us when we are stupid English!

Rose said...

I've been making the rounds of VP's dinner parties and can see there are many famous people I need to become more familiar with:) Wouldn't it be wonderful if we really could invite some of these guests? I would have to write down questions beforehand, because I would probably be tongue-tied in their presence:)

Linda said...

Enjoyed reading your list and discovering new North American gardeners through it.