All on a summer’s day

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Well it was about 80° by 9 o’clock again, so I went to water the plants before it became intolerable.  While on this placid duty, the

biggest

blackest

hugest

enormous

VASTACEOUS

WALLUMPING

bumblebee flew straight down the neck of my shirt.

Having in this compendious manner tried to achieve heat stroke and heart attack in the same encounter, I treated myself for shock and proceeded with the day.

At 10 o’clock we headed to a convenient beach.  There was a ruffling breeze and on the fairly steep-to shingle the waves made aggressive dashes at our knees.  Wet skirts were not a problem in the circumstances …

At noon the curtains were pulled against the sun and with local old-fashioned milk (full of old-fashioned top-of-the-milk) we made raspberry ice cream – yum, zingy.

And having run out of tosh for the moment, another book at 1 pm:

Wendy Moore has written an interesting double biography of Thomas Day and Sabrina Sidney/Bicknell.  The set up is that Day, a dogmatic, wealthy and eccentric 18th century bachelor, tried to create a wife to his own specifications by acquiring and educating his own personal orphan, naming her Sabrina Sidney.  The morality of this is more complex than at first appears – less obnoxious because it did not in fact seem to cloak sexual abuse or pædophilia, and did in fact benefit his protégé in terms of prosperity and education; and more obnoxious, because the bald description of ‘apprenticeship’ barely indicates the mental manipulation, ownership, occasional physical cruelty and minute control he expected to exert over Sidney.  What could possibly go wrong?  Quite a lot, but again, no simple moral to be drawn.

It seems that the story was too good to waste, its afterlife leaking into several novels, and perhaps eventually into Shaw’s Pygmalion.  Having read this account of Day’s experiment and Pygmalion, I can well believe it.

And now at another 9 o’clock, it’s time to water the frazzled pot plants again.  Dare I brave the invertebrates?

Tosh

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It’s hot.  And I’m not very good at hot.  After trying to keep going yesterday, I slept eleven hours out of eighteen, so I’ve taken the hint.  Productive work has tailed off to minimal, and tosh rules.  I always feel some residual guilt at finding tales of murder diverting, but for the next day or two this is going to be the schedule.

Oh – and did I mention the whiff of death by the back door?  Luckily only a minor whiff, so I trust it is only a minor corpse. Perhaps it accounts for the blowfly plague, though the timing seems off.   Can’t find the body yet, so I do hope that mummification will be swift.

Creaking slightly

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and not feeling creatively adventurous.  I’ve used up nearly all the algae-encrusted, dried-out or slimy remnants at the bottom of plastic sacks, though, which is a sort of achievement.

The mugs and jugs are bog-standard stoneware and I hope their simple shapes will show off my favourite green glaze with its dark tan colour break.  Fingers crossed.  The main practical problem at the moment is to slow down the drying, as the conservatory temperature is peaking at about 85° in the shade.  So the kitchen table is now fully occupied with slightly whiffy clay, outgassing slowly.

Nothing much to be said either for the basic flowerpots made with the local clay from the beach.  Since I don’t know if they will fire successfully, I’m not going to invest a lot of time in each piece.  I’m guessing that holes at the bottom and in the rims may weaken their structure and crack the pots, but we’ll soon see.

Creak creak.

Rage, blood and slaughter

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Living in the country is SO delightful, I ranted, as I pursued half a dozen members of the current blowfly plague around the house, waving a shoe and in a killing rage.  Herding the hairy zoomers, one by one, into a window, I slapped and walloped until statistics gave me a direct hit, and then started on the next.  At last a cohort of death lay sprinkled on the windowsill.

I’m not a very nice person, granted, but just think where they’ve been.

And then they walk on your face.

Making

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It’s fun to watch the young blackbirds bathing; not as funny as the blue tits, however, which are so tiny they are up to their necks when they get in.  Look at me swimming … glug …

Not much throwing lately; time to rectify this, but all spaces in this house have to multi-task, so first I had to remove from the wheel about forty agastache, bergamot and aquilegia seedlings, a tray of pricked-out snapdragons, an ounce or so of escaped potting compost, and some curly lettuce.  (Obviously didn’t move them far enough, as I then trod in the lettuce.  Never mind, they were annoying anyway.)

Some of the beach clay I collected last time was so fine it seemed worth trying to throw with it – most of the beach clays go for hand-building, as the coarse texture would sandpaper your fingers if it was whizzing on the wheel.  This fine one is very unspringy, and, being out of practice, the first thing I made was a splot, and another effort was destroyed by an undetected small stone in the clay ball.  However, there are now a few grey basics sitting on the side to play with and decorate later.  I’ve no idea how this will fire.

Then it was time to exercise my civic responsibilities.  Many compatriots will understand when I say that I came home with a large chocolate bar, and feeling glum.

I wonder if coloured paper and scissors and glue will make things better … and tea in a proper cup and saucer … and space opera?

Definitely space opera.

Lying little vegetables

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Emerging dicot seedlings have a habit of looking very like one another, but this soon wears off.  (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)