Daily Archives: 7 May 2017

Spring at the National Cathedral

Years ago, I made it a rule to schedule an at-home vacation during the first week in May. Except for the occasional day trip to Baltimore or Annapolis, I spent the time in Washington, catching up on movies or museum exhibitions that I’d missed, taking care of household tasks, and generally enjoying the warm springtime weather.

The week’s vacation always ended the same way, with a visit to the National Cathedral. Since 1939, the Cathedral has hosted an annual two-day “Flower Mart,” which begins on the first Friday in May.

A spring fete in and around the cathedral? Could there be a more likely setting for a good old-fashioned Agatha Christie murder mystery? Anglophile and Agatha Christie fan that I am, there was no way I could pass that up.

There was always a chance I’d stumble over a body in the flower beds herbaceous borders, and I wouldn’t want to miss that.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

—attributed, probably incorrectly, to Albert Einstein

I had another, more practical reason for attending the event: Herbs.

One of the great attractions of the festival is the immense selection of potted herbs for sale on the grounds. Every year, I’d fill a bag with six or eight little plants, carry them home, carefully re-pot them, set them on a windowsill, and faithfully follow the care and feeding instructions printed on their identifying name plates.

And every year, the damned things would be dead in less than a month.

Well, not this year. I’ve finally broken that old and frustrating habit. From now on, I’ll be buying all my herbs in those sealed little plastic packets in the produce department of Giant, as Nature intended.

I may have a black thumb, but I’m not crazy.

After filling my knapsack with late-night munchies from the Episcopal Church Women’s Baked Goods booth, I had to make the difficult choice between competing festival food vendors for my on-site meal.

Crepes or Paella?
Sweet or Spicy?
France or Spain?

This time, the Spanish won. I chose a big serving of the shrimp paella, ate half of it at the festival, and finished it off at home.