I was distinctly out of sorts and grumpy yesterday morning. A heady combination of insomnia aftermath and a rather ill considered weeding comment from Keith. However, I put the ire to good use and vigorously dug out a corner of the gravel garden where mares tail had woven its way in amongst an elderly stoechas lavender and a patch of achillea. I was hot, bothered and testy by five. The boys had gone off with Lyra so I decided to make the most of solitary splendour and wandered round to see the pheasant chicks without the dog. They are funny little things – a number had got out and were engaged in a spirited attempt to break back in. They were cutting the rape field on the south eastern side of the wood and I counted maybe seven hares darting out. I was just navigating through the long grass, thinking I might check out the ducklings too when Lachlan called.
“Where are you?”
“Going to see the ducks”
“Are you dressed and ready?” (for a barbecue with friends that evening)
“Course not, what time are we due?”
It was 5.50 by my watch. I have not moved that quickly for quite some time. However I was home, showered, changed and picking up the neighbours by 10 past. One excellent consequence of running that late is that it concentrates the mind. There was none of the usual “what to wear” dilemma. To save time I went for an all in one playsuit and just hoped I would not need the loo. An excellent evening then ensued. As ever, with the Georgefield crew conversation turned to the many mysteries of Kathy Kirby (I shall not even attempt to explain – suffice to say we always end up there after a few bottles). I was serenaded with “Once I had a Secret Love” over my coffee this morning……
Lachlan has dedicated today to resolving an urgent cylinder head gasket issue with Elizabeth, his elderly Landie. Keith is on standby to assist (thus far his assistance has entailed making coffee and getting the Guardian sudoku wrong). My part in this endeavour involves taking Lyra off for a walk and tiring her out (if not removed from the scene she runs off with the bolts). It is a perfect day for a walk, mostly sunny but with just enough breeze to keep you fresh. Harvesting is now well underway. The rapeseed is the first to be cut and Lyra is confused to find that the towering plumes in which she used to get lost have vanished, leaving only a few husks. The thistledown is now on the wing, leaving just the prickly golden cases. I wonder briefly if these would be good in a dried flower arrangement but then look at my bare hands and decide that discretion is the better part of valour! In amongst the burdock burrs I find the first few red haws of the year.
We decide to pop in to see Tom and Sue. Lyra is most enthusiastic – Sue is always liberal with the digestive biscuits. Alas poor Sue is hobbling with plantar fasciitis (which I have had and it is a right bugger). We repair to the new loungers on the back lawn and in a show of solidarity I consume two pieces of cake and a shortbread biscuit quite undoing the work of the walk and healthy porridge breakfast (though in my defence I had to eat the shortbread as Lyra had licked it). Lyra has two digestives (also showing great sympathy). We test the loungers thoroughly. By the time I peel myself from the cushions to come home sue and I have come up with several jobs Tom could be getting on with.
Along the lane there are bright sulphurous dots of hawksbit and a few harebells (my absolute favourite) under the hedge. I find a few spears of betony with its lovely soft green velvety leaves in the ditch. There is also a mass of feathery hemlock whose prettiness quite belies its toxicity! To the delight of the bumble bees the knapweed is still going strong.
I get home to find the Landie in bits, the Guardian sudoku still incomplete and the coos in a mellow mood. Shaping up to be a perfect Sunday.