Walking after midnight

The Patsy Cline song of the post title popped up in the book I last read in my current series (Mark Billingham Detective Tom Thorne). The main character is into country & western, but not the smooth sappy stuff (queue up Johnny Cash doing Hurt). Patsy Cline may sound sweet but she really isn’t and Walking after midnight really makes that clear.

The only time I was a great sleeper was on hiking trips as a teenager. Physical activity all day seemed to be my Nytol. Now, even if I yoga in the morning, work, do a solo walk, work in the garden and walk with the dog twice it can still sometimes takes ages to drift off. I find it really hard to get my brain to shut down – and sometimes that makes me panic. On those occasions I just stop trying and let my thoughts roam. Eventually I fall asleep.

If it were a reasonable thing to do I think I might be walking round here after midnight. But it’s not.

Anyway, during one of my brain’s late-night roamings I got to thinking about the sort of conglomeration of smells in the descriptive matcha, which popped up in one of the comments last week. The matcha I looked up refers to the smell conglomeration found in different places in the Mediterranean. Tanja in her comment last week was referring to Tuscany; I read about matcha in a book in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series referencing an assassin who lived in Sardinia.

The only place I personally experienced it was in the hills of Crete decades ago. Lavender, thyme, rosemary, sandy soil, hot dry air. If I think really hard I can reach the fragrance. You don’t get it here – way too wet and humid.

It’s not a comforting smell, but it is incredibly attracting. It makes you want to get out of the bus or car, walk into the scrub and just lose yourself. Which makes thinking about it appropriate for a brain’s late night roaming.

I can’t imagine it as a perfume because it’s so incredibly dry and perfume by it’s nature has some moist aspect to it. I wonder if it would work in a solid perfume.

The weather predictors are promising our rain will stop by Tuesday. Then, the sun will come out consistently and the temperature will rise. Please.

In the meantime I’ve put in a bleeding heart, a strawberry plant, and a second (I’d already planted the first) salvia. My garden is full of self-seeded poppies (see pic below) probably rucked up due to the builders stamping around and my digging over things to fix the mess they left. Poppies are ubiquitous around here: on verges, in fields, cultivated in gardens.

I’ve also put slug pellets in the two pots with dahlias and coffee grounds around the dahlia in the ground. Please, someone tell me why of everything I’ve planted the pests have gone for the dahlias? The peony is fine.

I’m thinking that by next week I might have something useful to say about something. Assuming the rain has stopped.


  • Patty says:

    Rain, same, same. Ours is stopped for today and clouds are gone. I am desperately hoping we have entered a new cloud up JUST in the afternoon and rain a bit and move on with sun the rest of the time. I do love rain like that, but day after day after day of clouds is so joy-sucking. I don’t know why the slugs do that. I’m not sure I do have any slugs? Well, I haven’t noticed them, maybe I better look closer!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Sun here past two days. I’m not going to jinx it by saying anything else. The slugs are purely evil. They offer nothing positive. Think I’m going to be spreading more coffee grounds and shells.

  • Dina C. says:

    I learned so much about country/western music when I watched the Ken Burns’ documentary series about Country Music last year. It was outstanding. And all the disdain that I used to feel towards that genre faded away. Love the description of the herbal-mineral scent you smelled in Crete. Sounds so uplifting and energizing. Walking the paths in our neighborhood after dark would be dangerous right now just because of all the cicadas you would squish (ugh). And if you ventured down into the woods, you would risk copperhead snakes, which are venomous.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Will look up that documentary. It was uplifting and energising (the smell), as you say, but also strangely surprising — at least for someone who had never smelled such a thing before. We just have foxes to worry about when walking after dark — everyone else is ok. Foxes make me uncomfortable.

  • Musette says:

    Dahlias: mix some eggshells (not too finely crushed, leave jagged edges) in with the coffee grounds. They will not cross those, as the shells cut into their bodies. Also works for hostas, if you have them. I cut my slug damage by 90% when I started employing the grounds/shell mix.
    Midnight walks: when I first came here I was so unnerved by the shocking change that I would just walk for miles, trying to calm my racing psyche. I was told to carry a walking stick because coyotes (they abound and have no problem showing up in town, esp at late night), so I did, to protect my Rottie who always went with me. We were probably the fittest insomniacs in town!


    • Cinnamon says:

      hmmm… don’t eat that many eggs. what about crushed sea shells? one of the online plant places I like sells bags of them. We have foxes, rabbits, livestock and the other day Joe and I saw a fawn. That was very exciting. I do not like foxes. Make me uncomfortable.

  • March says:

    Ooooh, I love a really late night (early morning?) walk though, it feels illicit at my age. Although obviously personal safety considerations apply. That’s the quietest it gets in this area, which is lovely. It is finally raining here after a long dry spell. I don’t want it to last forever but a few days on and off would be welcome given how hot it’s been!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Will you be able to walk like that in NM? I have a very strong memory of going to Little Italy with friends during my first or second year of uni and for some reason deciding we should walk home to Morningside Heights. On the way we stopped for bagels etc. Arrived home at 2 AM and had bagels and lox for a snack.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    I feed our dogs very late at night and am often seen rambling around our suburb with them well after midnight. Last night it was 2am before I remembered to feed them. Fortunately they are so used to my inability to lead a normal life that they were completely unperterbed.
    Dahlias must be delicious.
    Portia xx

    • Cinnamon says:

      I remember walking after midnight as a teenager in the suburb in which we lived. We got up to all sorts.

      You have very tolerant dogs. If I did that Joe would figure out how to open the cupboard, open the food container and just chow down himself.

      I don’t get the dahlia thing. Load of other plants and those are what the creatures choose to try to destroy.

      • Musette says:

        LOL! This reminds me of when I left The Girl with El O for the weekend. “Don’t forget to check her water” (it was in July). Yah. He didn’t.
        She took care of that, in short order. Picked up her empty water dish (one of those large, extruded-plastic bowls with the sharp rim), brought it into his den and FLUNG it at him, hitting him right in his shin (the one that always flared up with cellulitis, so was always sore).
        He did not forget to “check her water” after that 😉


  • Tara C says:

    Your post mentions matcha but sounds like it’s about maybe maquis, with the reference to herbal scents in the Mediterranean? Anyway, I hope you get lots of sun and dry days ahead!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Yes! It was definitely maquis regarding Sardinia. I wonder if there is a name in Greek for the smell on Crete. Thank you on sunshine. Someone was saying heat wave next week …

  • ElizC says:

    I love the Cowboy Junkies version of Walking After Midnight 🙂