Alexander Averin

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Saturday Apr 14 2007 20:55:45
By Cait
Dear Diary, All nature has a feeling All nature has a feeling: woods, fields, brooks Are life eternal: and in silence they Speak happiness beyond the reach of books; There's nothing mortal in them; their decay Is the green life of change; to pass away And come again in blooms revivified. Its birth was heaven, eternal it its stay, And with the sun and moon shall still abide Beneath their day and night and heaven wide. John Clare A second group of house martins have arrived, nothing like as many as when we first moved here but at least they are still coming. I am laying in bed reading a very good memoir ‘Giving up the Ghost’ by Hilary Mantel. She writes beautifully, it’s so good I don’t want to put it down but it is Saturday, a holiday for most but for me a work day, well a work half a day to be exact. Looking out I see Sammy tucking in at the bird nut feeder and I can also see that birds have taken up residence in a bird box on one of the pine trees, I can’t quite make out the breed of bird yet. There is a frantic ‘reproduction surge’ going on by all the living things in the vicinity and feeding and care of the young is the order of the day (I am past all that myself thank goodness). But isn’t nature wonderful? Another cliché but it is true. There seem to be a vast number of blackbirds around. I am putting old apples out on the grass as I know they like to peck at those. We have a pheasant visitor again, not sure if it is our original one as he looks far too bright and healthy but it could be, you never know. I am rather worried as I have not seen my beloved dippers for a few days. If you have read my previous blogs you will understand why I am worried. I am going to watch the nest tomorrow, from a safe distance, to see if there is any activity. Please keep everything crossed. Thursday was my first day back at work, my late night day if you get me. I was there in body but perhaps my spirit was only half there, you know how it is when you have been on leave, it is always hard the first day back. Then you soon get back into the swing of things and you feel like you haven’t been away. Friday was taken up with life and shopping, doesn’t life rather annoyingly get in the way of blogging? So although I’m sure you didn’t notice my absence I missed reading all your blogs and leaving comments etc. Sorry. I bought two lovely cushions in Brecon yesterday; there is a gorgeous little textile shop there. I spotted this pair of cushions in a bargain bin outside the shop; they had linen covers in what looked like a Cath Kidston design, probably not hers but very similar. Pale blue with pink roses. I am developing a bit of a passion for cushion collecting lately but only if they are cheap and beautiful of course. I am a real bargain hunter and enjoy carboots, charity shops etc. I think I’ve said before that my cottage is full of such finds. most things in it are second hand, even my husband. I got some seeds too, they were on special offer in Morrisons so I bought some Rocket (my absolute favourite, I could eat it for evermore), Cosmos (my sister in law always recommends these to me) and Californian poppies (for my gravel area - please grow). My middle granddaughter, S, who is nine, has a passion for eating rocket too and also for gardening so I shall give her some of my leftover seeds Morrisons were also selling hollyhock plants so I bought two, one pink and one white. I adore them but we always seem to lose them, whether it is to slugs I don’t know but they never seem to come again a second year. I keep trying though. My husband has the local nickname ‘Slug Dundee’ as when we first moved here we were overrun with slugs and it got so bad that M was shooting them with his airgun! It has become a bit of a joke round here. But the slug numbers have decreased, we get hardly any now. One year they ate all my vegetable seedlings. I gave up veg. growing then and have only just got the urge again this year. Which reminds me I must get the wood for the raised beds before it is too late. After trawling all round W H Smith’s yesterday looking for the new May CL magazine, without success, I luckily spotted one in Morrisons. Hooray! M bought two coconuts there for 99p, one is to be a bird feeder to hang on the willow tree and he is going to polish the other and make something (he is the artistic one). I am sounding like an advert for Morrisons today, I apologise. (Wish I was getting commission for all these plugs!). Smiths had me cursing under my breath as they had moved the whole shop around, everything was in a different place and not only was it no improvement but it would have been better if they had left things as they were! I have a nut feeder outside the library which is well used now and even sparrows and robins feed on it. (They don’t realise they are not meant to). There were no birds there when I started the job, apart from the darkly mysterious ravens which perch on the rooves of the hall and the school and the families of red kites which are always to be seen lazily exploiting the thermals. I’m sorry my blogs are all about gardening and wildlife lately but it is that time of year when there is so much going on in both those areas. Later on in the year of course I will be a ble to just sit and read in the garden, or write, or just meditate and watch the river pass by. And I shall write on other aspects of country life. Very high temperatures are forecast today so to celebrate I decide to wear a dress to work. I am wanting to wear skirts and dresses lately, after living in jeans and trousers for what seems like years. Has anyone else the same desire or is it just me? Not practical I know for a lot of country pursuits like gardening or hiking but now and again it makes a change and I get to see my legs again and in summer may even dare expose them to the sunshine. I have the palest skin and in the sunshine I’m like Billy Connolly in that I take a week to get white! No I don’t see myself as one of those elegant and beautiful women, straw-hatted and floating about in a delicate Laura Ashley outfit, trug in hand which is filled to overflowing with freshly picked blooms of course (and all perfect like the garden), just THE thing for a CL spread any day, no that’s not me. I often fantasise about having my own gardener who I could instruct to do whatever jobs I didn’t fancy (the elder bed for one) but then I ask myself, would I get the same satisfaction, that sense of achievement. Oh No. Well I had better get up now and get ready to go to work. The sun is starting to break out but I will miss its caressing today. * Later. When I am scribbling these blogs M always says ‘Writing your blog again?’ and I say ‘Anything to report?’ Very often he will give me a little tidbit about our life on the old homestead or what he has noticed during the day. Unlike me, he had a country childhood as he lived in a small Surrey town. Their house was on the edge of the town but adjoined the beautiful Surrey countryside (Gertrude Jekyll land). He grew up in the late 1930’s and the 1940’s, the area was quiet and unspoilt, now the area is inhabited by rock stars and celebrities and the house prices have gone through the roof. Today M tells me that while I was at work there was a fire on the nearby common over the hill. It was a controlled burning of bracken fire which had got out of control. Apparently there was a lot of smoke which darkened the sky and two fire engines attended, there’s exciting! These heath and mountain fires happen every year, usually during the very hottest part of the year. He also tells me that the heron has been sighted twice, s/he must be feeding young. It won’t be long before parent and baby are walking the riverbed, the youngster being taught how to fish, always a treat to watch but you need plenty of time to spare as it is a slow process. He also thinks we might have wild mallard ducks nesting in our big laurel bush by the river; I do hope he’s right. S. my middle granddaughter helped me in the library this morning, we were very busy. This afternoon we watched the Grand National; we had all picked a horse to win and guess what, S’s horse, Silver Birch came FIRST! An Irish one of course and the girl who looked after it came from my mother’s part of Ireland which is County Kerry. Joy for S and me too. The two horses chosen by M and I were both pulled up! At least they didn’t die, that is always my worry with this race, the horses that suffer or have to be shot, it just breaks my heart. It is late evening now. S has gone home and M and I are sitting by the river in our new deckchairs watching the sheep and lambs who are at the same time watching us. I wonder what they think of us? I am always looking at them checking they are fit and well, I wonder what they think when they look at us? Are they really brainless and stupid? The lambs keep jumping down the riverbank and delight in chewing the roots of grass and old trees. S has told me the ewes drink a lot because they are feeding their lambs. I should have realised that; she has brought back to me the memories of breastfeeding my two precious babies and drinking gallons to help increase the milk supply. Guinness was good for that too and it helped the babies to sleep! Oh I am getting broody now, no not for Guinness, but for new babies, I love them when they are fresh and newly arrived from Spirit. There is hardly a cloud in the sky, I don’t feel like cooking and it will soon be six o’ clock, open-a-bottle-of-wine-on-a Saturday-time. I might have a leisurely bath first…….. I will definitely blog again tomorrow, I will let you know if I see the dippers. If I don’t and if you are in Wales you will see the smoke rising! Blessings today? Morning cups of tea. Middle-of-the-night-when-insomnia-strikes cups of tea which are welcome sometimes too. M who is cleaning my red shoes for me with new polish! They will see me coming! Dresses and skirts, for a change. Dreams, goals, something to look forward to. Tony Benn, one of my heros. I won’t say why I have put him down as a blessing today, it might tempt providence. And a poem of course. I AM THE WOMAN I am the woman who shows her girls The purple borage turn pink in the barley water; I am the mother who makes the Ulster fry When all around are eating tacos; I am the woman who lifts her skirt And dances steps to the corner, Who knows all the words to all the songs And sings her daughters into sleep. I am the woman who cuts the turf Who climbs the hill and digs the earth To plant the tree that shades the woman Who bears the child. I am she who bleeds with the moon, Delivers the child and cleanses the wound; I lay out the dead. I am the woman who flies the plane Who trims the jib and drives the train. Who skippers the winning boat round Ireland. I am she who burns the sweet grass braid, Who fillsl her home with a light so pure No darkness reaches the door. I carry the Gartan clay. Already I am history, Let the children say, laughing When they are grown: Do you remember ould Ma Thurley With the frizzy hair and the freckles? She was the woman who broke the spade Her daughters gave her Over the head of the man who betrayed her, You should have seen the blood. Judith Hurley Let me know if you like this poem too. Ah M has brought me a glass of Chardonnay, French, Domaine Peyrot, 2006. I don’t actually know one wine from another but the Richard and Judy show Wine Club has got me enthused about the subject. Slainte! Bye for now, Caitx

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