Still soggy

The rain persists. I am wondering if the last gardening day may have already passed and all the remaining half finished jobs will just stay that way….. Lyra and I squelched around the lanes this morning. One fat rabbit startled in the hedgerow but no deer today. There was also the throat catching smell of foxes, though no sight of any. We had gone around the other side of the hedge in the deer field, where the verge looked a bit less sodden, and the different angle gave us an excellent view right into the middle of the hedge to see the rabbit tracks and in and out warren holes. The best of the older hedges are double sided, two rows of hedging material, usually hawthorn mixed in with dog roses, elder and beech either side of a rise of spoil from a ditch the hedge runs along and with intermittent hedge trees, beech, ash, oak and the odd scrog apple, planted in the middle, the roots knotting through the middle forming arches and caves for sleepy mice and rabbits. The hedge sides lean and weave together at the top providing a roof over the birds nests. All this is hidden in summer but in winter you get a good old boggle. There is a deep dry den under one old ash tree and, thinking of the fox smell, I did wonder. However, closer inspection of this desirable residence only disclosed one rather surprised brown mouse. A rainbow on the way home, compensation for the drenching.

The new library shelves are nearly ready so I spent the afternoon in there taking books off the old shelves and packing them up in some sort of order (by topic for non fiction, A-Z by author for fiction). Curiously, our biggest single box was for “A and B”. Keith spent weeks looking for a book earlier in the year which had been shoved inexplicably in the children’s section (by Keith I think). With new shelves and, finally, a built in ladder, I am keen to impose some sort of order. The books for London are all in boxes above the garage (in no kind of order) and I think before everything is decanted we will need another winnowing out. I think the already read thrillers can mainly go, so if anyone is after one do shout.

Further cake innovation. I adapted Auntie Zee’s basic gingerbread again, this time into a prune, plum and honey cake. I even dug out the bundt cake mould, but then did what I always do – tried to remove it well before the cake cooled with the usual result of cake stuck in mould. Will I ever learn….? Ah well, we can have the imperfect bits with extra plum compôte and custard. I have uploaded the recipe (see link to my recipe blog on the home page) and user feedback from Raymond next door is positive.

An evening in front of the fire with Lachlan’s Christmas jumper (I am on the home stretch and the tricky picture bit is done) and an audiobook beckons.

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