Reasons to be cheerful part 4

I am smiling to myself as I type, with the lyrics to Part 3 running round my head. You have to love a bit of Ian Dury and the Blockheads ( And this week I have many reasons to be cheerful.

Gourmet Sunday, over all, went off well, and I have therefore been relieved of cooking duties until Thursday as compensation for my efforts. (As depicted below, this comprised a trio of beetroot treats, roast pork etc, poached pear cocktail and my new seasonal cocktail, the Maria Verde (a recipe for the last of which will in due course be uploaded and available via the home page)). There was the odd moment when things shimmered in a slightly out of control manner, but over all nothing that could not be resolved other than (I am afraid to report) the moment when, whilst I was turning the meat in the oven, Lyra sneaked into the dining room where the starters were laid out, edged my chair to the side, and neatly licked every scrap from my plate. My plate mark you, not Lachlan’s or Keith’s. Luckily there was spares of almost everything save for the crackers so after some stern conversation about dining room etiquette peace was restored.

We have had a series of misty mornings, but a few really quite sunny afternoons when there has been a good deal of cutting back and weeding. I am definitely not on top of things, but I am still making progress and I definitely haven’t reached the “sod it” stage when I retreat indoors and declare gardening over until next year. Lyra and I have also had some splendid walks. No puddle has gone unsquelched. More pheasants and partridge in evidence today – several squadrons shot out of the hedge, providing air support to a lone rabbit, as we passed on our way home. Lyra was on the lead so we proceeded home briskly, with me mud skiing. Squirrel Nutkin has also been much in evidence, accompanied by Ms Nutkin. I look forward to the little Nutkins in due course.

On the crafty front I have finally broken the back of the longest cardigan the world has ever seen and sewn it up -just the facings to go (dances small jig). In this endeavour I was accompanied by the audiobook of Ghost by Robert Harris. (not a ghost story by the way, more of a thriller). This one I really enjoyed (I listened to the Second Sleep, another of his, recently and was less keen – the ending seemed a bit limp somehow). I have also girded my loins and tidied up all the remaining dried flowers. These had been scattered all over the floor of my Garrett which crunched and crackled underfoot. Various posies were tied and consigned to vases about the house. The rest was sorted into “suitable for pot pourri” and “bin”. My floor is now spick and span and ready to be turned into a mess by a brand new project.

However, our biggest and fluffiest reason to be cheerful turned one today. Happy birthday Lyra. Lachlan and Keith showered her with cards and gifts, I made rabbit shaped dog biscuits and tonight we are treating her to a night by the log burner and her favourite David Attenborough documentary. It is a dog’s life….But well deserved, I can’t think how I would have managed this year without her cheeky, smiley face in the morning, her unstinting patience with my annoying photography habit whilst walking and the exercise chasing after her when she escapes. Thank you Lyra. Hard to imagine you were ever this small though!

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