About Me

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Typical Piscean, dreamer, story teller in the tradition of my country, I love to write. I'm not sure that I'm any good at it, but getting the words down has its reward.

23 May 2010

A blog from the garden

It has been a busy week, extra days at work, hospital visit for a check up and the wonderful news that I have lost 15lbs:3ozs and kept it down; major high. All in all I was glad to see the end of the week and looked forward to Friday immensely. Friends came for supper, and my great plan to dine al fresco came to naught - the mist rolled in from the sea, and you couldn't even see the garden gate! The upside and the downside of a heat wave. Brilliant temperatures, and rolling sea-fog. So, windows opened to the sound of the fog horns from the Bay, we dined indoors and had a hoot. Good company is a blessing from God and before we knew it the hours from eight to three in the morning had flown by and we never felt their passing.

I was up bright and early, despite the lateness of the hour when we retired, and after watching Edward Petherbridge as Lord Peter Wimsey in "Gaudy Night" [Dorothy L Sayers}, I was busy catching up on laundry and other household chores. There is something very satisfying about seeing a clothesline blowing in the breeze full of fresh clean linen. I brought the laptop into the garden in the afternoon, and after a refreshing cuppa decided to blog from the garden...however, the best laid plans of mice, men and this blogger are always a floating issue. Not one but two daughters decided to arrive - just in case you were lonely Mam. Mentally I wailed that I wanted to grab this rare opportunity to sit in brilliant sunshine, shaded by an umbrella advertising a nation's favourite drink (!) and blog about the collar doves racing each other around the leylandii in next doors garden, the enormous bumble-bee that had a face off with a dunnock on a cherry tree branch...and yet I was delighted that they had come to see me. Who knows, this time next year we might all be leading different lives, so grab your graces when they come as my paternal Grandmother used to exclaim - and rightly so.

The ladies stayed to dinner, OH headed off to work and I cleaned up...God bless the dishwasher, a mother's greatest asset. We did manage to dine al fresco this time and it was heavenly. The Collar doves cooed, the Dunnocks sang their cheery song and a nosey Robin decided that this al fresco lark was wonderful, all those crumbs, and look, some generous human has decided to throw me tid-bits. All quiet at eight o'clock I rambled down the garden and sat under an elderberry tree. We have recently reclaimed this area from the gorse and general scrub and I love it. As a child we used to have picnic tea's out here. We had the idea, my childhood friends and I, that we were the Secret Seven, The Famous Five, and we would head off with bottles of cold tea, apples, cold sausage sandwiches and a slice of gur cake each. An old blanket thrown down and we would idle the hours planning what we would do, when we grew up; we solved mysteries. Big mysteries such as Why Did Beatrix Potter write about rabbits in her garden when we didn't have any in ours. I wonder did we ever think that a preponderance of foxes might have had something to do with this lack of bunny habitation? We trawled through Bunty, Judy, The Beano, The Dandy, The Hotspur and other publications, "swappies" was the order of the day, and we swapped for all we were worth. The Wolf of Kabul was my particular favourite. Oh yes, you guess correctly, I was a tomboy. Happier hanging out of a tree than playing with tea sets. If Mum could see me now, afternoon tea on the lawn with the pals during the week. She did say it would happen, I laughed...I can hear a ghostly chuckle even now. You haven't lived until you have bitten into a batch loaf bread sausage sandwich and a green apple and washed it down with cold tea from a Fanta bottle. Sheer heaven.

I digress, typical me, I sat under the elderberry until the sun sank in the west. One thing to be said for the Eya...whatsit volcano, the sunsets are pure Turner and breath-taking. I sat on in the dusk until every last bird had gone to sleep. The song Thrush had entertained me with his "Dia Dhuit" [deeya-gwit] obviously an Irish singing bird, the layering started after that with the blackbird up in the Douglas Fir seranading the sunset and the robins, dunnocks and indeed the bullfinches adding their chorus to it. The Sunset Opera, fabulous!

This morning back out at nine, papers in hand, breakfast on the back patio, tempramental sunshine, fog horns in the distance, birdsong aplenty and the smells of lilac, apple blossom wafting past, enhanced by gillyflowers [wallflowers]. The tulips I planted last autumn are eyecatching and the front lawn is showered like a bride with the confetti of cherry blossom. I have lilac all around the house in vases, even an old tea-pot. There is something very gentle about lilac, relaxing. The phone rings and I am too lazy to answer it; who would want to break the magic spell a springtime garden binds us with. I am far more interested in watching a ladybird explore a leaf!

16 May 2010

The darling spuds of May

So here we are in the month of May, April seems to have flown by so fast that I nearly missed it. I have been busy "collecting" builders; at last, two years down the line the "extension project" has moved up to getting prices. So far two have impressed me, one floored me with his"...it might be better if you knocked the old house down and rebuilt completely..." but I think the Euro signs floating about behind the pupils of his dimly lit eyes alerted me to "Builder In Crisis Needs Cash". He got a short visit, sweet smile and a "be in touch" NOT! I have a few more I want to investigate before I finally decide. One has really impressed me, he has a great reputation, is salvage/period of house/eco friendly and, providing his submission is reasonable may well win the day. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile ED and YD are enjoying life as parental tenants in the old marital home, rent free and utilities to be paid for only. I sense a restlessness in YD and I think she is now ready to move back in with the 'rents as soon as her bedroom is built. Happy days.

Speaking of YD, we had a great night last night. She came to stay for the week-end; so a bottle of Merlot, Chicken Balls, Fillet Beef with Mushroom and Prawn Crackers later we watched "It's Complicated" and then sat and chatted - between drifting out to examine what was on offer when the outside light went on. The Bracken Fox was seriously distressed last night. His behaviour was odd to say the least. He spent over half an hour walking around the cottoneaster bush, spraying, muzzling at it and walking around between two other bushes, marking territory. We later discovered that there was a gang of "gurriers", to use the old Dublinism, up on the hill drinking, shouting and roaring and generally acting in time dishonoured anti-social behaviour. Since the Local Council decided, in its total lack of wisdom, to put in nature trails through the gorse, we are beleagured with youths spending time on the hill with "nefarious intent".

We have cleared more scrub from the garden and this has provided the birdlife with a new supermarket. We have five robins, no less, hanging around this part of the garden and I have termed them The Round Robin Society (!) they are like brown puffballs of feathers with a red daub. Feeding is rich here in this garden with the newly reclaimed land. The lilac and the cherry trees are in full bloom, and the tulips, a disaster last spring, are a joy to behold. Bit by bit OH is putting his stamp on the garden while keeping Mum's area's well tended and I am putting my stamp on the house.

I decided last year that I would put in shelving and a press in each alcove beside the fireplace in the sitting room. OH persuaded me to use a "local man" from his home-place and, reluctantly, I did. Marital harmony and all that don't you know. Well, six months later and they are up, exactly what I designed, and painted brilliant white by OH. They add light to the room and everybody is taken with the Art Deco doors [a pattern I copied off a dvd of Lord Peter Wimsey tales] and I am struggling to come to terms with what Yer Man charged. Let us just say that I had had a generous budget in mind, very generous indeed, and let us just say that Yer Man was even more generous - still, they are bespoke and solely mine...but...€'s later and I still get a cold chill. It has made me very cautious and although one of the builders I am getting a quote from is the son of the man who built this extension - in which I am presently sitting - I will not be racing to throw my money away on sentiment.

I spent our cold and icy winter looking forward to spending lazy afternoons in the Maytime garden, afternoon teas with friends - you have the picture in your mind, and this cold weather is killing off all those lovely daydreams, it's tea in the dining room looking out at the sunshine, and a warm jacket on when gardening. We are delighted with our new veggie garden, all right, his vegetables - my herbs, and growth has been spectacular with the potatoes rocketing up. He has taken to planting potatoes in unexpected and newly cleared areas of the garden, so it will be an interesting summer.

Mme Pounce is coming for her holidays for the June Bank Holiday. I put a barring order in place on her coming here in case she attacked the bird life. With all the changes in the garden in the past two years we took some losses with avian tenants; I am keen to reestablish the numbers of birds and apart from Ginger Tom from over the cliff, they are thriving. He has a penchant for Fresh Blue Tit avec Feathers. Miserable Moggy. He is a great pal of Mme Pounce, and together they make an effective hunting team. I am not keen on giving hostages to felines.