The weather has been glorious. So, any grumbles about grey skies are now a distant memory.
In fact, words are being well and truly eaten… As, with luck, will the vegetables that we hope to consume later in the year.
Seedlings that have been sheltering by the dining room window are sitting on greenhouse shelves.
It is stage two of the Great Grow. And what a cultivation it promises to be.
It’s not just plain old cabbage, it’s cavelo nero
This year it is not just courgettes that are going into the ground, but posh patty pan and squash.
This time it is not plain old cabbage, but fancy cavelo nero, too.
For the uninitiated, this is kale’s tall, dark Italian relative. And the jury is out on how it will thrive here in these northern climes.
But the Romans seemed to do alright all those centuries back. Arriving as a sunburned invading force in what was then chilly Caledonia – and staying for more than three hundred years.
The Roman fortifications
Over the centuries these swarthy warriors built some mighty fortifications. Not least the defence that is Hadrian’s Wall.
This frontier is well known to me. In fact, at one time or other I have scrambled over every inch of every stone along its seventy miles.
Because in the dim and distant past my parents thought it the perfect place for a day out with the children. There was a bit of interest – and nothing to pay…
Further north, of course, was the Antonine Wall. Not quite as ambitious as its southern sister, but an impressive battlement stretching from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde.
Filming at the fort
To my shame, I have never acquainted myself the most northerly parts of the mighty Roman empire.
They are on the ‘to do’ list. As is getting the tatties into the ground before they start to over-sprout.
Yet this week still sees a touch of the Mediterranean – as we go to film in the Scottish Borders.
Yes, those Romans got everywhere. Not least at Trimontium, near Melrose.
Here at the ‘place of the three hills’ they constructed a massive fort, using it as a base for pushing further into what is now Scotland.
Thousands of legionnaires came and went, and a series of digs has uncovered some of the history they left behind.
Those Romans must have been hardy
Helmets, shoes, weapons, horse paraphernalia… What has been found is one of the greatest concentrations of Roman military-related artefacts.
Some of the treasures have gone to Edinburgh museums. But much still remains locally. And now the small museum that housed these antiquities is preparing to open as a much bigger one.
These Romans must have been so hardy. Yet they must have longed for home and the heat of the south.
And they must have missed their wine. You can grow many things in Scotland, but I understand that sweet grapes are tricky at the best of times.
Then there would be the other Mediterranean fare; the aubergines, tomatoes and olives.
Oh, and the cavelo nero – I’ll let you know how it goes…