Yesterday’s transport was well fouled-up, worse for many others than for me, and perhaps it would be insensitive to talk about a Black Hole on wheels. Still, enforced intimacy with the other wedged standees made occasion for the kindness of women, hot news from the Hong Kong riots mingling with sisterly or motherly encouragement for the youngest, late for her interview. Hope she got it.
Falling feverishly out of the train, I encountered more womanly kindness: the church ladies supplying home made scones and tea, jokes, and advice to take five minutes quiet upstairs. It was good advice too, and I wish I could have fitted the whole ceiling into the shot.
The rain held off, the cathedral filled up, the parents did their thing, and one of the nearests-and-dearests shared Emma with me by earbud to mask the announcer, but she left me in the lurch just before the Chancellor’s speech, when I needed Austen the most. The Chancellor read a “poem” – a long poem – what he had wrote. It was … bad. Other excesses of the day included scarlet cloth and purple squiggles (jacquard? brocade? I never know) and a pink tie. And a bonnet.
Today: a forced march in the damp morning to look at a teeny place face-lifted by the upwardly mobile. Is it Destiny or a dud? I have opened a bottle, but so much progress has been made in the kitchen that for a moment I thought it would have to be drunk from a chipped mug or a marmalade jar.
There’s rather a lot for one.
Being underslept, I had difficulty keeping a focus on the official business of the day.
It was distractingly easy to consider munchy ginger fudge, since they keep the fudge shop so handy to the cathedral. I leave it to each reader to decide on the wisdom of this policy. At lunch time thought became action.
A pamphlet: less obviously enticing. I was nonetheless tempted by this distraction, and was only prevented from some old-fashioned reading under the desk by the very small class size and my corresponding visibility.
Part of the day was spent contemplating hand sewing fine hems of muslin. Later I congratulated myself on the prescience which had caused me to pack pins.
lxxiv : Wear your dressing gown back to front
It’s surprisingly efficient when sitting up in bed to read in the cold cold small very small hours.
On any list of Silly Things To Do, potting on dozens of plants while wearing a white dress must be fairly high up. But it is my loosest and airiest dress, and at eight this morning it was already hot. Smears might come out in the wash – maybe.
Meantime, the tide of plant pots rose and rose, filling the garden tables, obstructing the paving, covering the coal bin, overflowing down the steps, and lapping at the doors. Plant after plant, knocked out of its small pot, was tucked briskly into the new litre pot with nice fresh compost; I was amused to detect in myself the manner of an old-fashioned nurse doing her hospital corners. If I can fend the slugs off, I trust most of my patients will survive.
This is a table. I haven’t seen it for several years as it has been covered with guinea pigs and seedlings in trays and plants in pots. Look: still shiny!
Time to pick out a very small winding sheet:
Choosing the grave site was not so easy, as the garden is quagmired; nor do I wish to dig Alnitak up with the potatoes later on.
He was seemly in death. The secret appears to be: die in your own bed, while wearing a fur coat. Noted.
Making an adult look like Lucy Pevensie (she does have some natural advantages for the role):
And I felt like Moominmamma with her handbag.
These are the reading trousers.
Their virtues are legion: they do not bite, itch, ride up, expose the ankles to drafts, generate electric shocks, or work themselves into vicious little wrinkles which dig in. They enable much intellectual endeavour (also sleep), and accommodate not only legs, but any size of lunch. Social graces should not be expected of the reading trousers when appearing outside the home, as they are not interested in public opinion. Indeed, at formal gatherings they may spontaneously fall down.
Every reader should have some.
Waste of a fine day, but necessary.
Snug as a bug in a rug.
This is why you never throw anything away:
so that when you want a giant sandbag a yard long, you can cut up the recycled fabric from the worn-out cushions of twenty years ago;
turn the clinging velvet sausage right side out over the giant knitting needles used for an unsuccessful project fifteen years ago;
and fill the narrow aperture with rice using a jam funnel bought ten years ago to stop you spilling hot jam – which made jam spills even worse.
And we spuddlers know that we might need a yard long velvet sandbag at any time, day or night. Don’t we?