Tuesday 27 October 2015

Seven awesome secrets about me

I really tried to think of seven awesome secrets about me
because I know that posts with numbered lists are
the way forward.
Try as I might, I couldn't think of anything awesome to tell you
except that I harbour a suspicion
that I should have been left-handed,
my birthday falls on the seventh of the month,
 the digits of my age add up to seven
and I can hardly bear to listen to The Archers anymore.

Oh and that this blog is seven years old.
If you have been, thank you for looking in.

Friday 23 October 2015

Emergency Minivering

But this time, at any rate, she was safe.
There was the house,
as neat and friendly as ever,
facing her as she turned the corner of the square. . .

Except that the house has had at least one window
missing for every day of the last week.

And inside is far from neat and friendly,

because more than a century's worth
of grime, soot and brick dust

has been released into the house,
and deposited on every naked surface, 
meaning that,

'the feel of door handles and light-switches,
the shape and texture of the bannister-rail under one's palm;
minute tactile intimacies,

has mainly consisted of grit.

The key does not turn sweetly in the lock
because builders do not believe in closing doors
and prefer an unimpeded passage through the building site
which is what your home has become.
All the furniture is shifted from room to room as they progress
and I cannot at present access
my writing-table with the letters that have come for me this morning
or the
three new library books lying virginally on the fender stool

their bright paper wrappers unsullied by subscriber's hand.

So I did the only thing possible to mitigate this discomfort,
which I know to be only temporary
and ultimately a Good Thing
because we will have a warmer winter as a result of this work,
I bought three

chrysanthemums of the 

big mop-headed kind,
burgundy-coloured, (not quite)
with curled petals. . .

and if I can clear a path through the debris
I might even make myself a Miniver tea:

honey sandwiches, brandy snaps,
and small ratafia biscuits;
and there would, she knew, be crumpets.

 but if not I can at least listen to this,
the missing piece from Mrs Minver's jig-saw puzzle,

the familiar sound of the Wednesday barrel-organ,
playing with a hundred apocryphal trills and arpeggios,
the Blue Danube waltz.

There is no clock 
on the mantlepiece to chime

very softly and precisely, five times

but there is certainly

a sudden breeze bringing the sharp tang
of  a bonfire in at the (gaping) window

because my neighbour has purloined the old windows
to burn in his stove.

Saturday 17 October 2015

Little Boy Blue

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow on your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow
The cow's in the corn.
Where's the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He's under a haystack
Fast asleep.
Will you wake him?
No not I,
For if I do
He'll be sure to cry.

I'm brushing up my nursery rhyme repertoire.
You never know when you're going to need a diversionary ditty
with a little one about the house.
But I may have to rewrite this.

We've got quite used to

The ponies on the footpath eating bracken -


The cow's* in deep woodland eating ivy?

Where is Little Boy Blue when you need him?

*These are British White cattle, 
one of the oldest breeds of cattle in Britain 
with direct links to the ancient indigenous wild white cattle.
They thrive on poor pasture, rough vegetation and heathland
and have been brought in to help manage a coastal nature reserve.

Thursday 15 October 2015

Abandoned places*

I love a beautifully restored, productive walled vegetable garden.

How sad then to stumble across this one,

in the grounds of Peasmarsh Place in Sussex,

once the home of Alice Liddell
of Alice in Wonderland fame,

and now a private care home.

And yet, oblivious of the neglect,
the orchard was flourishing.

Trees bowed under the weight,

of rare varieties.

The ground littered with bruised and rotting fruit.

Oh what a terrible waste.

Despite the reproving gaze of this gentleman,

Reader, I succumbed.

Good job I had capacious pockets that day.

Heather sees the same problem where she lives.

* No not this blog, cheeky.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

The missing weekend

Following Sue's excellent instructions,
I used Pic Monkey to make a collage
of the last few days when summer took a curtain call.

Featured are:
the air raid shelter wall at the bottom of our garden
which has such beautiful brick shades, I think it deserved a picture to itself,

Grantchester meadows and the River Cam in Cambridge
whence we returned our son for yet more Japanese studying,
(we had tea at The Orchard),
a few grasses from a nursery in Sussex to rectify the rather disastrous
meadow grass experiment,

(first year great, second year thistles, moon daisies and narrow-leaved plantain
 overwhelmed the thirty six other weedier weeds)
and finally my Cornus kousa chinensis,
displaying its fine autumn colour.