Ah the pleasure of the slow stopper:
How one relaxes into the solitude…
Much later, and across the Severn by road, Wales began (as usual) to rain.
A black carpet gives you warning, and blocked plumbing realises your worst fears. One of the nearest-and-dearests reconstituted himself as the Human Plunger and, with a technique never matched except in the most dramatic fake CPR seen in medical soaps, dislodged the sludge. (My hero.) This left us with the problem of walking without touching the carpet (fairly easy) and of sleeping without touching the sheets (fairly difficult).
The event itself involved the usual scrum, with an excellent mitigation: an official quiet room. Here I joined the autistic-spectrum mates and rellies and ate my plate of buffet in peace.
I looked on Wikipedia, but, although discoursing on their evolution, flight, reproductive habits etc., the article was obstinately silent about flavour.
Which left me with a question about the elderflowers: to wash, or not to wash? The former removes the pale pollen as well as a good many flies; the latter will keep the pollen, but also more animals will be retained, infusing their possibly noxious juice when I pour the hot syrup over. Ummm.
greenhouse audit. Must have been breeding all winter.
… the marketing got me. This is the freebie.
Bits went missing while the washing machine spun out or I counted stitches on the needle, attention wandering off in Rome and returning to Egypt or the Great Plains. The chapters were somewhat repetitive, but unfortunately this was often due to the same agricultural errors being repeated … again … and again … and yes, again. Anyone who ever grew a potato or a pea will understand the importance.
I would have liked a little more about soil as a microbiome, especially as Montgomery was keen to realign soil science with biology instead of chemistry. An enticing image of bacteria as minuscule livestock on the farm was not followed up, and there was only brief mention of mycorrhizal fungi or even invertebrates (we did get a few worms).
Take home message? Get composting, folks, and if you have a little plot of your own, be ready to dig for victory when times get tight.
Rumbling through the black back roads on an unfamiliar bus route: the night made strange.
Next stop Pump Lane.
Occasionally some bright windows or a pub sign or a poster of alpacas flickered by.
Next stop Dodpits.
For once technology was welcome, reading out the names of each increasingly remote location in the back of beyond.
Next stop Throstles.
A few strings of Christmas lights, in more or less questionable taste, appeared and disappeared randomly.
Next stop Sixpenny Corner.
The screen suddenly became dark; falling off the edge of reception? This left me trying to guess the bus’s location by how steep the hill or how sharp the corner might be.
Pinging the bell; walking behind a circle of light to the silent house; supping on jaffa cakes; retiring with someone else’s book.
This morning another bus, mystery resolved in daylight, foam blowing backwards off the breakers. Another quiet house, and as I revised kitchen cupboards a sort of recognition crept over me: the Mole and his sad little tin of sardines. And Christmas was imminent then too. Only for reasons nothing to do with me, my cupboard contains only seventeen tins of tuna.
No Ratty though.
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.
The rivers are well up with the continuing rainy weather, and my attention paused as I crossed this rushing water. It’s the first time I’ve seen one of these bridges with declarations by padlock all over them. As a symbol of personal love, I could only find it depressing, and it didn’t do anything for the line of the footbridge either.
Elsewhere, I watched a fairly senior cleric hit a two feet tall chocolate egg with a claw hammer. Hmm.
… disinclining me to appreciate small things as much as usual. Here, however, I may mention two pleasures of the senses:
A home-made swiss roll bulging with summer fruits, raspberry preserve, and double cream – a potent consolation in its way;
and the Falcon Heavy launch (hardly small, but very brief). My rational part has its doubts about the value of the programme, but seeing the two side boosters settling out of the sky on their tails was pure magic. Pity they lost the core, but perhaps a good thing to keep down corporate hubris.
Now I’m going to watch those boosters separate and land again (for the eleventh time or so). Oh the improbability of it.