The irresistible lure of a new project..

How short the days are. Walking Lyra just before 10am a few days ago the sun was so low and slanting that it felt like evening. My shadow was long and spindly and crept up the hill before me. We took a turn past the farm at Little Swinton and found the horses had been brought down to the field next to the big barn. As we passed they clustered over to the gate so we went to say hello. The soft whiskery mouths and big brown eyes and lovely horsey smell were sorely tempting. As we walked up the hill towards home I tried to remember the sensation of flying through the air, and subsequent landing, the last time I rode and found I couldn’t. However, as I type this I can feel the plate in my arm twinge, so perhaps that will suffice to keep me on the path of sanity….

The weather gods continue to be fickle. A tantalising hour or two of sun in the morning turns into stair rods of rain just as I am putting my garden boots on after walking the dog. A mild afternoon of damp mist is suddenly blown away by an ear tingling west wind which burns the tops of my ears as I bend to wrestle with the buttercups and chills me to the marrow. Gardening has, therefore, proceeded in short bursts around the middle of the day, fuelled by porridge and followed by a hit of the squidgy salted caramel brownies Lachlan made for his last Gourmet Sunday (they are diet brownies as he cut them into small squares. In an act of rebellion I had one and a half yesterday……). Progress inches forward. On my way back to the house this afternoon after a few hours at the buttercups I stuck a questioning trowel in one of the pond beds which has become infested with a sort of creeping yellow potentilla. I suppose I was thinking of lifting a few of those to add to the pile for the compost heap. But no, the wiry roots have inveigled their way into the rootballs of well nigh everything in the bed. With a sigh I realised that forking at the edges is not going to work so I have commenced digging out the plants I want to keep with a view to a good dig through to clear the menace. To keep my spirits up I am telling myself this will create a few spaces for trying out something new. I have quite a few spaces to fill at the moment, what with the new border by the hedge and also a large area by the front compost bins which has tantalisingly good soil. I think this might be the very place for azaleas and possibly even meconopsis. (I have attempted them elsewhere but they have have struggled in the clay and are not thriving) and of course a few peonies would not go amiss. I have promised myself a gander through the Binny Plants catalogue on some rainy evening soon (link attached in case anyone shares my peony obsession) (https://www.binnyplants.com)……….

By three most days I am creeping up to my Garrett, knitting bag in hand, with a view to cracking on with a Christmas jumper. I have two on the go and am fighting the urge to start a third. I have a good (I think) idea for a fairisle, which is much more tantalising than the fairly plain one I am half way through or the endless button band on the one which sits at 80% completed. The imp on my shoulder is saying “what harm would it do?” but I can picture myself at midnight on Christmas Eve contemplating five 95% finished sweaters so I am trying to hold the line of “finish what is on your plate first”. To compensate for this stern jumper discipline, I kicked off a new sewing project a couple of days ago. (This does not count as (a) it is a different discipline and (b) I had swept the floor clear of dried flowers and it seemed a shame not to cut something up). This has gone swimmingly and has largely used up one of the landing curtains and two pairs of holey cashmere jogging bottoms which finally gave up the ghost earlier in the year. I now feel completely vindicated in my policy of never throwing anything out. (Pictorial evidence of this gem will also be added to the post Christmas fashion show). I have three library curtains, the other landing curtain and a bedroom curtain still tucked away in my trunk of useful stuff and all manner of possibilities are wafting through my brain. …

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