Inter Alia

A welter of birthdays, visiting offspring, family reunions yet more birthdays and sic like affairs have come between me and my keyboard of late. However, following yet another bout with mum’s insurers (the product was ironically entitled “RBS Elite” – god help those in steerage is all I can say…), I find myself with an urgent need to direct my thoughts to more positive matters. The ongoing hailstorm has ruled out communing with nature and given my rage levels I feel it may not be safe to pick up the knitting needles. So here I am, pulling up my camera roll and focussing hard on anything fluffy through grimly clenched teeth. I may also have broken into a previously overlooked premium chocolate biscuit selection. Miraculously, after three biscuits and a scroll through the last few weeks of camera action I can feel the hackles descending, slightly.

Fluffiness was delivered in spades over the last week or two by the Hirsel calves, with all nine now born (much to the relief of the poor heifers). The bovine contingent were ably assisted by Lyra, still sporting her “recently groomed” look, Pingu and Dobby (the latter’s fluffiness somewhat undermined by the gimlet stare and the memory of the dead mole and headless mouse delivered as Easter gifts).

In the garden, the alternating sun and showers has brought on the bulbs in a sudden spirit-lifting rush. Keith’s rockery is awash with sky blue anemone blanda and fritillaries are springing up all over. Peering over my reading specs I can see the first of the library bed tulips starting to open and dancing yellow flowers on the erythronium. It has even been warm enough in the morning a few times (at least when swathed in the repurposed dining room curtain dressing gown..) to wander round with my first coffee admiring all the promising new sprouts and shoots. Almost all my seed trays (aside from the chilli – again…) have started to germinate and a couple of wet afternoons and donated pots have led to a satisfying benchful of potted up seedlings. If the snails hold off we’ll be inundated. I’m just hoping that when people start visiting the garden I shall be able to find homes for some of the surplus. As usual at this time of year, hope triumphs over experience and a motley row of cuttings amasses to the left of the potting sleeve. I now have a range of wilting clematis spears and a few browning unidentified twigs, but the nepeta actually looks quite promising. Chrysanthemum next!

Pictures of various completed projects also raised a smile. The glamorous model is sporting a sweater whose primary objective was the using up of lots of odds and ends. I only had a few balls of the main colour and oddments of the rest. To ensure I didn’t run short I had to keep, back and front and both sleeves on the go all at the same time and the patterned yoke started at precisely the point I could see the main colour running out. At this stage I retained a single strand about a metre long of the main wool …. Each subsequent new row of pattern presented a high stress opportunity to run out of the relevant oddments needed half way through. The black laptop bag was created from the rear ends of three pairs of Lachlan’s old jeans and some spare bits of the old library curtain. I’m not entirely sure what Lachlan makes of it, he looked positively dumfounded when presented with the offering. However, I was quite chuffed and when he wears out the next three pairs I may make my own. It puts a whole new complexion on the “bumbag” concept. (For those interested the six remaining legs look set to make a gardening skirt when I find a spare afternoon to work out where the hem should go and find some suitably robust buttons.) I was also quite pleased with the tweedy book cover made for a charity shop “rescue” book. (I’m trying to wean myself off recipe books as we are overflowing and up cycling a second hand one seemed a neat way to get round the ban).

I haven’t even got to the vast swathe of dog walking pictures yet and I suddenly find myself back in equilibrium. I shall pause here and hold the wild anemone and primroses in reserve. If the shower of blithering incompetents actually get in touch tomorrow I may need them…

And the moral of this blog is – picture storage is cheaper than defence counsel in a murder trial – click and save mes amis, click and save.

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