I spent a good deal of the day tying things up, until I began to feel rather controlling (and ran out of string). (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)
The horrible dry north-easterly is blowing, has been blowing, will continue to blow, and apart from an untimely shower on Sunday we haven’t had a drop. Oh for a mild moist westerly!
Under a thick overcast the wallflowers continue to bloom as they have since March, unwatered in the stony parched soil, the rich colours relieving the gloom. I’ve already sowed seed to get next year’s started. What would I do without them? Meantime, the herbaceous clumps which will replace the wallflowers, when they do finish, are waiting in the wings.
The roses are suffering but still trying, aided by a few watering-cans-worth here and there. Hoping to support their struggles, I barrowed around lots of black lumpy material from the compost bin. The stench was outstanding, though of course compost shouldn’t stink. Mystery explained when a big glop of green gel oozed from the spade, gaggingly odorous. One of us must have thrown some over-date eggs into the compost bin, and somehow they never broke, even while two years worth of organic waste was mashed down on top of them.
Century egg, anyone?
One of those random days where none of the bits matched any of the other bits.
We started with reindeer of course, striding away across the snow. Not feeling like doing any striding myself, I ripped back some knitting. Do you know how difficult it is to unravel wool which is both hairy and decorated with sequins? Not so much ripping as delicately untangling each row and removing the snags one by one to avoid spoiling the yarn.
The reindeer were having a little rest. Some of them were asleep. The ones that were asleep chewed slowly. The ones that were awake chewed less slowly.
I cut the grass. I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about cutting the grass. Look: this is me not complaining about cutting the grass. I decided the time for curlicues was past, and mowed straight over the violets. Most of them were finished anyway, and now they all are.
Checking in on the reindeer: they were stepping steadily in the chilly sunshine. A few paused to suck and gnaw at exiguous strands of lichen glued flat to black rocks. I meditated on stripes. Tricky things, stripes.
Episodes of social engagement followed. The sea was blue and sparkly, the hills pale green over the pale chalk, but I couldn’t enjoy – bank holiday weekend, so all the ordeal of homicidal motorbike riders and suicidal cyclists and lost tourists looking at the view instead of the road. Bad combination.
Home again, I made sure the herd was all right. Their humans were amusing themselves by drawing giant patterns in reindeer, right across the valley floor – by laying a trail of what looks like pony nuts, which the reindeer rush into lines to feed upon.
Watering plants next. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, at last, and the timing is rubbish as usual, with hundreds of people in tents, poor loves, and an early garden show kicking off.
Back with the reindeer. I’ve turned the sound off. It’s getting a bit late in Norway and the screen caption says it’s -12°C. The current shot: A reluctant northern night is gathering. A small snowmobile van thing is shown slowly approaching the camera position over a wide field of snow. It passes the camera position. The camera pans to keep it in view. The van thing progresses across the snow. The camera centres on its little flat square doors. It goes further away over the snow. It goes further away some more. It goes away a bit more. The now tiny back view of the van thing disappears gradually over the brow of a snowy hill. The camera continues to look at snow on the now empty hill.
I think the reindeer and I are stuck with each other for the duration.
Well this was all terribly British. (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)
At this time of year the garden takes any time one might have and demands more.
The grass has been a spring meadow, studded with primroses, daisies, violets, narcissi, the odd grape hyacinth and bluebell, and even a few naturalising cyclamen. When nearly knee-high, it has to be cut at last – a beastly job, choking the inadequate mower. It also takes an inordinate time to guide the mower in dumpy arabesques around the primmies
circumambulate ungraceful wedges of turf round the spring bulbs
and leave strange linear features which will turn into strange linear colonies of bluebells next year. Because of course I want to preserve and develop this jewelled turf and enjoy it again each spring. Meantime – we do look a bit odd.
Elsewhere, the now-venerable crab apple is about to burst into the full performance. Who knows how many thousands of blossoms? I counted forty on a six-inch twig.
This tree holds its crabs well, and has been feeding the birds all winter; now the last shrivelled fruits are being pushed off by the new leaves and flowers.
A very different creature, the pittosporum is turning its inside-out black flowers …
… strange, very strange … (even stranger if you click for full size image) …
… until, as daylight fades, they set loose their perfume.
Well first, there were two slow-worms in the compost bin, basking under the heat-trap plastic covers. This is the younger of the two.
Then the violets are spreading ever further about the grass at the back – fully justifying my failure to mow regularly, as evidently they are having the chance to set and distribute seed. The camera even caught some of the colour today, instead of rendering it a mere blue.
And I settled down to a treat. I saw a copy of this at Sarum College and became both besotted and acquisitive. (Thank goodness for online second hand bookshops.) Not a facsimile, of course, just a reprint; coping with all that black letter would be a challenge too far. We owe some wonderful English to Tyndale as his work was so extensively pinched for the Authorised Version not many years later,
but the prologues are improbably fascinating in themselves, documents to the fermenting Reformation then in progress. You can quite see why prologues, marginalia, and glosses were subsequently forbidden to be included, and are still omitted from most Bibles to this day.
I haven’t managed to catch Fluffers getting on to this perch, and I want to know how she does it. She doesn’t have normal feathers and hardly any wings; when she gets down from the chair she falls more than flies, landing with a big dump; how does she fly up accurately and perch?
Nonetheless: there she is. Sleep well, Fluffers.