Last week we were going on the much vaunted trip to Galway. That trip that we had pared down to the 11.25a.m., train, arriving at 13.44p.m., bus to Salthill, lunch at the Galleon restaurant, return to train for departure at 17.20. The sun shone, and the garden called and we postponed to yesterday. I am beginning to think there is something UP THERE deciding that we are not likely to get there this year.
I am not, however, discouraged. On Saturday morning we were having a family breakfast and discussing the coming week ahead. Himself was fretting that he had a list as long as his arm of things to do yet before we close the garden down for the winter. When I read out my diary list of meetings regarding our village history exhibition, coffee dates with friends back from holidays and other summer pursuits, a re-decoration programme for the garden room [smallest room in the house needs a major rethink], and other obligations, Frances announced that we would be better leaving Galway until next year. It is now on the list for the first week in October, according to Himself "We will get there this year...heavy emphasis on the THIS!". I believe him.
When we built our new extension in 2010, by putting one wall at an angle, what should have been a narrow corridor suddenly became an area in which we could sit and enjoy the view. It became a "room" by accident; Peter, our builder, was the one who named it The Garden Room. I put a long mirror on the wall, one of those box presses from Lidl as a temporary measure, and some Chinese slate effect vinyl on the floor. We painted the walls white as an undercoat for an, as yet to be chosen, colour and promptly forgot about it while we got on with the rest of the decorating.
It has always been at the back of my mind to do something with it; the white, while fresh and "garden room" looking, being North facing is cold in winter, and I don't like the white box. My beady eye has been assessing this area for the past few weeks and I have now decided that it shall be a light cream colour and I am on the look out for a nice chest to place under the mirror. I already have a mahogany garden chair in it. On cool days and cold winter afternoons, I can cosy up to the radiator enjoying a cup of tea and the view. I made some cushion covers [sewn by hand] out of Mum's old curtains and the apricot and taupe flower on a creamy base colour picks up the floor vinyl and and warm's it up somewhat. The same pale cream will greatly improve the walls. Whenever visitors come, they always head for the garden room sighing that they could sit there forever. Try holding a history group meeting in a room that has four doors off it and holds three people...and that's pushing your luck!
I hate sewing. Sewing with machines that is. We have an old sewing machine that was my Grandmothers, and which Mum had converted from manual to electric. I was terrified of it as a child. When you eventually got it going, it confused itself with a Gattling gun and shot out broken needles at a rate of speed that makes the modern machine gun look like slow motion. The nuns at school were very keen that we young ladies would be good seamstresses. I can hem for Ireland and my carrier bags made from leftover curtain material are popular among my friends. Anything I sew by hand will never come undone. This is wonderful until you need to unpick a line of stitching for some reason.
The history group has fallen into groups, as was inevitable. There are those of us whose families date back to Adam and Eve, those who probably arrived with the Postman, and those who landed five minutes ago. The middle group don't know which side they fly with. On the one hand they are sometimes scathing about the A&E group chats on family memories [nearly all inter-related] and on the other they're not too enthralled with the 5 Minuters. The 5 Minuter's are determined to organise us all and tell us the history of our families and the village. Wonderful. They do more "popping in just for a minute" than Mapp did to Lucia when Lucia first rented Mallards*.
One popped in the other day to tell me what to write about my family history for the exhibition. Feeling distinctly Lucia-like I told her it was already written, done and dusted. She kindly told me she would "pop in later" to help me edit it and arrange it properly. I am seriously considering seccession from the rest of the nation and declaring our garden the Independent Republic of Our Family.
The effect of all this "popping" is that the A&E group have, collectively, decided to present a single A4 sheet with a relevant photograph on their respective families for "blowing up" so they can be put on the "Exhibition Board". The meeting tonight bids fair to be interesting. All this popping and blowing has left me in sore need of a cup of tea.
*Mapp & Lucia; E. F. Benson