Wednesday, 20 May 2009

A Home from Home

A small caterpillar has taken up residence in our bedroom. Found grazing amongst the cabbages, he was rescued from death row by the children. They made him a new home and plan to keep him until he has made his cocoon. I like the artistic way that the mini flowerpot has been arranged amongst the blossom and chive flowers don't you?

I don't think he's got a name yet. I will keep you informed of his progress. I think he's having a bit of a rest at the moment. Lucky him. Just wait 'til they get home from school.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Lovely, Lonely Rose

I've got new batteries in my camera now so there's a bit of catching up to do with things blooming all over the place in the garden. And it's not just the plants. I was blooming all over the place today too. I was hanging out the washing, lost my footing and landed on my head in the rockery. The speed of the thoughts cascading through my head as I tumbled to the ground was unbelievable. I actually had time to think Oh no, I'm going to lie here unconscious and no one will know I'm here until it's too late. Not only did I have the time to formulate a plan to jump up and go to the telephone and alert someone, anyone, but I managed to execute it on the moment of impact. Quite impressive. However, in the grand narrative of my demise and resurrection, I didn't include a plan for letting go of the clothes pegs in my hand. If you look closely at the picture of the scene you will see 2 red clothes pegs. I am sure that a story will emerge from this. One day, when my head stops hurting. You'll pleased to know that no plants were harmed (apart from some superficial squashing) in the making of this post.

What I really went outside to do with my camera was to take a picture of the first rose of the bush climbing up the front of the house. I think it's a rather nice one if rather lonely. There is the promise of more to come but this one seems holds the most power because we didn't know what colour it would be. The secret is now out and soon, so will the rest of the roses, hopefully. Yes that's it, hope. Hope I don't fall into the rockery again.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Blooming Marvelous

I'm afraid that I don't have much to report. At least nothing new, anyway. I've been a recluse for the past week due to illness so it's all gone by in a bit of a blur. So I thought I'd post this picture of a rhododendron because it looks cheery which is more than I can say about myself!

The only good thing about all this is that my dissertation creative writing is finally coming together which is a relief. I've abandoned the idea of extending it to full novel length because I've decided that I'm more of a short story person. There's no reason why I can't write collections of short stories and as a form, I find it far more inspiring creatively. So that's that then.

This weekend, we're probably going to be digging a hole in the garden. Don't worry it's not for Monty but for a pond. When I said 'we', I strongly suspect that I will be making tea and supervising. Or even catching up on the sleep I'm missing out on now. Talking of which, I really should try again because I've got to be up in about 3 hours. Oh no!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Moan moan moan moan moan moan moan

The conifer towards the back of this photo is where I hope to be one day. Tall, poised, balanced, reaching for the sky in a dignified sort of way. The hedge leading up to it is the other aspects of my life, neatly pruned, flowing along their journey. The bit between here and that conifer is a bed of in a state of transient wilderness, a mixture of mature herbs; bay, rosemary, sage, mostly nice things. Just out of sight to the right, there is a small tree, as yet unidentified by us. We're just waiting for it to do something to make itself known. In the meantime, my attention is drawn towards the burgeoning weeds, the curse of any garden. The weeds have arrived there, either by seeds carried on the wind or from roots that have lain dormant, waiting for the right conditions to shout out their existence. The weeds come in the guise of illness and I'm pretty fed up with them.

Of course it's a way to meet new people. I'm on good terms with the phlebotomist at the hospital. We meet fortnightly and I look forward to the delicious free coffee (the treatment isn't) although I was alarmed this week when a notice went up on the machine stating that it is now forbidden to take your drink into the treatment areas. What kind of customer service is that? The result is that I knock back two in a row in the waiting area and arrive to see my new best friend on a caffeine high.

I have noticed that health care appointments are as much about the journey as the destination. There's a lot going on out of our view - probably the source of much stress to those working in the field - with the patient's arrival in the correct place to meet the right person who can corroborate that their notes correspond to the person in front of them being the most significant. Yesterday, I was an unlikely auditionee for the role of Goldilocks. First I sat in the chair in the doctor's consulting room. Then I was admitted to the inner sanctum of the surgery's administrative office whilst the secretary made some phone calls on my behalf. Next I was sent downstairs to sample another chair. As I sat outside the nurse's room at the GP's surgery, journal on my lap and scribbling away, one of the GPs (not the one I'm seeing currently as I like to spread the cheer around fairly) came past and said to me 'Are you writing your life's memoirs?' and my reply was 'Well, I may as well do something whilst I'm waiting'. I think he kept walking in case I was contagious.

The day carried on in the same vein. I caused the same sort of scared amusement at my evening class as the blood pressure monitor inflated at inappropriate moments. I started off having it covered by my cardigan but then realised that buzzing and going red in the face with overheating was a little startling to my fellow students. As it is a counselling training course, being anything other than totally candid in your exposition of your woes or joys is frowned upon. I have yet to find a simple way to articulate the process I am undergoing which could result in me being diagnosed with the same illness that King George is supposed to have suffered (yes, he was mad too) and is the basis for the myths of vampires and werewolves. I know that I'm doing a bad job in disentangling the knot of curiosity. Any attempt to offer a watered down synopsis of the plot so far inevitably leads to the unfortunate question of 'So, what are the symptoms then?' at which point, I hope for a distraction. Nothing is ever simple.

So, back to the garden. As I hold the camera to take the picture from the perspective you see here, my own distraction is the unidentified tree. It's probably a very innocent, common one. It's probably one that can co-exist happily with the conifer. I'm very interested in the concept of perspective. No view is ever so clear-cut, there's always something just outside of the picture that changes the way you look at the object of your gaze. The key to living artfully though is to watch and wait. It will identify itself in good time and I can take another picture. Who knows, I may even have got rid of the weeds by then.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Yesterday I got to live out one of my imaginary lives as a doctor. No, not through any magically-acquired expertise or Hypocratic oath but I was appointed as Senior Consultant at the Insect Hospital. Alas, the first patient was a sorry case. He (or she, this has yet to be determined) was admitted after being found lying prostrate on the front lawn. The team worked hard on the victim of this savage attack, a dragon fly, which, it is thought, was unprovoked. The hospital spokesman has described the patient as critical, having sustained severe abdominal injuries and says that the next few hours will be crucial. He (or she) is receiving round-the-clock attention including little bits of rock, a bowl of water and blades of grass.

A witness (who prefers not to be named) has given a description of the assailant. He is said to be of muscular build, his coat an orange hue with slightly darker stripes and amber eyes. Anyone with information should come forward.

Monday, 4 May 2009


I'm beginning to wonder what it is about gardening and the pleasure of it that drives us to see it as a worthwhile pastime. Aside from growing vegetables for obvious reasons, and the need to present our homes in a pleasant context, I suspect that there is something else happening.

Yesterday, I decided to throw away all the plastic containers, most of which were left by Mrs G (to whom I owe an apology as I inadvertently added on an extra 10 years to her age yesterday) and I have taken a disliking to. That's the container's, not Mrs G, in case she reads this which I'm sure she won't.

Anyway, I am going get rid of anything that is plastic or ugly as I see no point in displaying beautiful plants in hideous pots. I will then take pleasure in arranging the pots around the garden. Yesterday, I spent a while finding the perfect spot for an old sink in which I was planting some salad plants, parsley and thyme (photo to follow later on). I decided on a vacant patch of concrete up against one of the greenhouses; hardly glamorous but it seemed important to have it placed correctly. So, the positioning and presentation of plants, even in an almost agricultural context, is key to my satisfaction in having been 'gardening'. Curious.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

She has told me that I don't have time to write my own blog any more. True, I am busy on another project and my time is limited but I do miss the contact I have with you, my adoring public.

I thought you may be wondering if I was still around so I managed to persuade her to post this photo of me. It think it shows my best side (not that there are any really bad ones, of course) and was taken when the older boy was home from university. He's gone now so the explosions and gunfire has died down (I have noticed that I'm not as deaf as I thought) and they're clearing up the debris. The one thing I'll say about us dogs is that we don't eat and sleep in the same place or leave our bowls scattered around the floor.

Soon, She will be pestering me for the first drafts of my writing. She is so impatient so I bid you goodbye again for while.

A Match Made in Heaven

I used to have a thing about shoes when I was very young. I am frequently reminded of the fact by those members of my family who were present at the time (along with the fact that my sister changed my nappies when I was a baby) that I liked to go into shoe shops and try on every single one on the racks. This was something I grew out of which is just as well beccause life is too short to spend it procrastinating over your footwear. However, yesterday, I did find myself taking a trip back in time. OK so the shoes lined up in front of me on the carpet (there's something very particular about shoe shop carpet) were there not because I was just working my way through the shop although it may well have appeared so to any witnesses. The reason this time was that it is hard for me to find shoes to fit, especially with swollen ankles. So, I fully expected to walk out with sensible shoes but I didn't expect black patent leather AND a matching handbag. Today, I so nearly wondered into another shoe shop. The good times are back! Whooohooo!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Snap Happy

The other day I went around taking photographs of all the flowers in the garden. We first saw the house in October and moved in at the beginning of December and although we suspected that little surprises were lurking beneath the cover of winter, we had no idea just how many or how beautiful they would be as they sprung up. The previous owner sent us a card at Christmas saying how she hoped that we would enjoy the garden because there would always been something in bloom. How right she was, although it was somewhat of an understatement. She lived here for 60 years so that's a lot of work, the fruits of which I almost feel guilty for snatching from her as in her 100th year she moved to a flat. I do feel like we stand alongside her now in the queue of unlikely murderers lining up to exterminate the local pigeon population. On the Christmas card she also wrote 'Don't let the pigeons eat all the sprouts' and it seemed a little bit over the top. Not so. It's not just the house we've taken over but the battle too. No doubt the pigeons will greet the bank holiday weekend with mixed emotions; more human presence but more crops being arranged in the soil for their delectation.

Anyway, I just had to take another one of the clematis this morning. It climbs up an old stump in a way that made me think how artful its positioning is but also a little anxious as to what might replace it once its flowers have died. I suppose we have to trust Mrs G's words and wait for the next surprise.