Alexander Averin

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Monday Apr :51:13
By Cait
Dear Diary, What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. Richard Bach Today I am accompanied by my son’s guitar playing and very good it is too. I enjoyed the best part of the day gardening in the morning sunshine. It is late afternoon now, the sun has disappeared and it is a great deal cooler. At least I managed to put in a couple of hours getting things straight outside this morning and I will try and do another two tomorrow. My son cut the grass (without being asked, no wonder the weather changed!); it was its first cut of the year. That was a blessing but I hope he didn’t mow down my violets! It is pretty quiet round these parts today apart from the usual rush of motorbikes this morning, the fast ones whose riders treat our Welsh roads like a race-track (don’t get me started). I don’t mind the older bikes which travel within speed limits and which sound quite nice really, not that I am actually into motorbike engine noises. We have seen a few visitors going home after the Easter break; luggage on the car roof, or with the caravan towed behind. M commented on how he felt sorry for them having to endure traffic jams and the like and getting back on the urban treadmill. How lucky we are. Now, before I cook up a quick curry, I am making a wish list for the next visit to the garden centre. Finn, Katy and I are cosied up by the Rayburn; funny to think that this time yesterday I was sunning myself in the garden. My wish list so far is for David Austin roses, I only have the one at present; some gravel garden self-seeders and hop-arounders, more beloved geraniums and a hardy lavender, lavender august folia. That is as far as I have got. Talking of self-seeders I feel a book-title coming on, sorry, It is a very good book in the library on gravel gardens and it lists numerous plants that hop around. Trouble is the title has gone out of my head, I will post it in a future blog. Talking of seeds, we have such a community on this site that we could almost set up a seed sharing project. Actually when I go plant-buying I think it is often best not to go armed with a list but to choose from what is on offer, whatever ’speaks’ to you at the time. I think plants are like books in that respect, you are drawn to the one that you need or in the case of living things to the plant that maybe needs you. We go to a very good well-stocked nursery, I can’t say it is near here, it’s about half an hour away, on the way to Hay, but well worth the journey. I adore plants that are very hardy, perennial, self-seeding and easy to pull up if not required. And if they are scented or make good cut flowers for the cottage, or to give to friends, that is a bonus. I am slowly acquiring different species of columbines or aquilegia, they spread themselves about and are so delicate. I love their other name too which is ‘Granny’s bonnets’. Kitty B has given me the instructions on how to make raised beds which were on Gardeners World on Friday, (thank you Kitty). Here in the high lands of Wales the growing season is short, we are always behind everyone else but tomorrow I am going to clean out the greenhouse and get ready for sowing and planting. And if I can get M enthused about making a raised bed or two, so much the better. We have a pair of wood pigeons nesting in the woodland, there is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing going on. M doesn’t hold out much hope for the eggs though as there are magpies nesting nearby and Sammy squirrel also, both obvious threats to their survival. There are always crows about too. M is all for shooting the magpies but I won’t hear of it, I can’t bear killing things and am a great believer in letting Nature takes Her own course. I refuse to get into the hunting and shooting debate, suffice it to say that not all country dwellers are pro-hunting and they are not all incomers who feel that way. A lot of people I know were not against fox hunting but were against hare coursing and pheasant shooting for example. Nothing in life is black and white. I will tell you a foxy story another day. The binoculars are coming in handy now as there are so many species of birds around the place. As I write this I can see out of the snug window into the field. There is a huge gang of lambs chasing each other up and down beside the river. We found a dead one a couple of days ago, we think it died of the cold as we have had a run of frosty mornings. I look forward to my last-thing-at-night short walks outside with the dogs. I always hope I may see the otters, I hear them sometimes, they make all manner of noises. I heard on the radio this week that otters hold paws to prevent being separated from one another in rough water. I found this quite poignant and wouldn’t it make a great photo? Of course I have had a magical night-time sighting of otters which I wrote about in my first ever Dear Diary entry, the long one. I could write my Tales of the Riverbank here at my own river cottage. Or my very own Wind in the Willows. We even have two willows, quite newly planted, one either side of our river bridge. We have Ratty, Mr Toad and Moley as well. The moles are resident in the field, sometimes they ‘move’ into the garden. I find if you ignore them they move on, they definitely don’t like dog mess and I am told they have an aversion to Radio 1 (I am with them on that one). Every year we have mink nesting by the bridge, they are very active in the day time and are always up and down the river bank. And we have polecats around which do us a favour by catching rats but they take chicken and/or their eggs too if they can. We have seen the polecat swim across the river carrying a screeching rat in its mouth and one day it ran past the kitchen window with one in its mouth which was almost as big as itself. Apart from otters my big thrill each year comes from seeing the kingfisher. The blue colour is just out of this world. I usually see it fly by when I sit quietly on the bank and sometimes I am lucky enough to watch it fishing, swooping down to catch its prey. We have a lot of fish, trout and other smaller types and in October the salmon come up to spawn. The numbers are nothing as like as high as in the old days, they are monitored regularly. In the summer the fish are always jumping, it’s quite entertaining to watch (‘fish are jumping and the cotton is high’ always goes through my mind, a song I love - Summertime). I wonder when the house martins will return, they nest under the eaves of our cottage every year. They make one hell of a mess but I do love them. Swallows nest over in the forge and pied flycatchers in the pine tree next to it. I am listening out for the cuckoo, has anyone heard it yet? As I said the other day I wish we had more bats, their numbers have decreased lately, perhaps I should invest in some bat boxes or get M to make some. He has been busy today repairing a garden angel statue that had been damaged in the storms. He had lost his wings and sustained a broken neck. But he has been operated on today and sprayed gold, he looks like new and has been stuck back in place in the middle of one of the perennial beds. Thank you M. I have weeded rather a lot of dandelions today. I use an old kitchen knife and chop them off as low down as I can if they are impossible to dig up, if they are between stones for example. Now I know that goldfinches love them I am going to leave a few about the place. Last year I did tell myself that I would try and learn to love them because they are such bright yellow, cheerful looking flowers. The council left the verges to run wild last year and the dandelions did look quite attractive. Isn’t a weed just a plant in the wrong place after all? Before I go here is a poem I recently discovered: Radiance If ten lamps are in one place, each differs in form from another; yet you can't distinguish whose radiance is whose when you focus on the light. In the field of spirit there is no division; no individuals exist. Sweet is the oneness of the Friend with His friends. Catch hold of spirit. Help this headstrong self disintegrate; that beneath it you may discover unity, like a buried treasure. Rumi Hope you enjoyed it too, Bye for now, Caitx


annakarenin said...

My sons school are run a gardening club so I gave them all my spare seeds. Alec the 2nd eldest goes and he told me they planted the pumpkins this week.
The village I grew up in and used to live in had a stream at rhe entrance. In all the years I lived there it was only last year and only twice that I ever saw a kingfisher, they are so fast though. The bit you wrote about the otters was beautiful to think of them doing that makes me smile.

So glad that I can still read your diary and I know I am rather opinionated and can get carried away sometimes but what you wrote over there and at the begining here from somebody who is as gentle and thoughtful as you are makes me feel that at least this time I was right to feel how I did about the whole thing. I will miss the mag and already miss the chat part of the site, it was good for discussing rural issues and also excellent if you wanted advice on things, like painting UPVC etc, but I wont go back.

CAMILLA said...

Dear Girl, I was wondering where you had got to. Loved reading your diary's when over the other side, so glad you are here with us. You send us such beautiful poems. How is Hay-on-Wye doing?