Monday, 14 March 2011

A busy weekend

I had meant to post over the weekend, but things got busy. I was trying to divide myself too many ways! We had lovely sunshine yesterday, but I couldn't take advantage of it as I had rashly decided to redecorate in the kitchen and change the warm yellow ochreish colour with cream paintwork to white walls with Cornflower blue paintwork. As the contents of the bay window were piled up around the room and on the kitchen table, I had to plough on until I got that end finished and everything could go back where it belonged. Now I am on the wall with the inglenook in it. It also has a door, and a sink and kitchen window in it so not too much wall. Whilst I am at it, I have been having a cull of my china and copper collection and intend to have a stall at the Fleamarket on the showground next month. That is pretty therapeutic as it focuses my mind on what we intend to take with us WHEN we finally downsize.

As for cats, we have another TWO TOMS roaming about the place - and being chased off by me (and Miffy) when they appear. Poor Eric the Red is not an aggressive cat and really doesn't want to be beaten up by them, so he keeps a low profile, but turns up for feeding. If he has missed a feed and is lurking in the bushes, Miffy continues to sit by the bowl and gives me a Hard Stare when she sees me and I know to bring more grub out for Eric. The boys are now fully integrated into the family and all have taught themselves to use the cat flap and can come and go as they please. They are SUCH a joy, so loving and playful and gentle and they make the black girls (Lucky the matriach, and her daughters Fluff and Lucy) look a complete bunch of harridans which, to be honest, they are as they all have attitude and CLAWS.

As for the tadpoles. Well, after losing a dozen frogs in the ice and snow when the main pond had six inches of ice on it and presumably the wildlife pond not much better, and despite the poor little chaps being frozen solid several nights last week after heavy frosts, we have an AMAZING number of tadpoles. Thousands. I have never seen so many. There are another 6 or so lots of spawn developing in the main pond too, and yesterday I counted 5 toads in that pond, obviously there for mating . . . Nature abhors a vacuum . . .

All the "dark" you can see in this picture is one mass of tadpoles - e.g. nearly ALL the shallow shelf . . .

Just one little clump of frogspawn (some not fertilized, but now grub for the others) acts as a raft for the hatchlings.

In the garden I have bought a tray of 24 Pansies (LOVE Pansies and their happy little faces) and crammed a dozen each into two tall ceramic pots. Then at the car boot sale yesterday, all I spent was £2 on a dozen more Pansies which I will put in another pot to make the front look cheerful.

I discovered that the three pots I had planted up last autumn with apple cores from the rarer sorts of apples I bought in Hay-on-Wye (to eat!) have lots of seedlings come up. The apples were Falstaff, Monarch (more of a cooker) and Devonshire Quarrenden. I have put them in the greenhouse to keep the frost off them and will transplant them when they are grown on a bit. I realize they probably won't be true to type, but it will be interesting to see what does come up. Two grown trees we grew from pips when we first got here are mature trees now, and both slightly different - although you can see the attributes of the mother-tree. One has very much bigger fruit, and the other more colouring on the skin.

My mind has been dwelling on two articles about Edith Sitwell which I read in the last few days (one in the Mail and one in the Saturday Telegraph magazine). There is a new biography out about her but at £25 I shan't be getting it, although I would like to read it if I find it in the Library. Poor woman - she had the most unfortunate face - bony, angular and with a nose to rival Wellington's which is NOT a good attribute for any woman. Her father, described as "eccentric" which I think was a polite euphemism for barking mad, had poor Edith in some iron contraption to keep her spine straight lest she stoop from some imagined malformation, and also had her fitted with an iron nose-straightener (it didn't work!). Can you imagine how unhappy and persecuted she felt. All because she wasn't a BOY (she was the first-born and a dreadful disappointment to her father because of her gender, although she was later joined by two brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell). Her father once suggested (to his gem of a Butler who "played Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote") that shouldn't the dining knives all have handles of condensed milk (!) whereupon the faithful servant suggested that this might be problematical because of the cats . . . She went on to hold fashionable salons of poetry and was known for her poetry and recitations . . . The family spent the summer at Scarborough, and we used to regularly visit their home, which became an Art Gallery, when we holidayed there

I have also been pondering about Juliette de Bairacli Levy (her book "Wanderers in the New Forest" is beside me as I write) and the beautiful poetry of my favourite (and equally beautiful) Edward Thomas . . .

Below, the ochre-looking walls are actually white, but with no natural light hitting them, they still look the old colour!


  1. I love the cornflower blue and white BB. So fresh. You have been working hard!

    Good news that so many tadpoles have survived.

    Eric the Red looks a beautiful cat. I expect he is the father of your (now grown) kittens? Miffy obviously has a soft spot for him.

    I read reviews of the Edith Sitwell biography too. it sounds interesting, especially as the Sitwells were on the fringes of the Bloomsbury artists and writers and there was some cross-pollination of ideas going on.

  2. Ahh I knew you would know that. I wasn't too sure, but thought she must have been. I loved the comment about her probably staying virginal until her death since she wasn't exactly "cuddly"!!!

  3. I love the new paintwork and the pansies are always so cheerful x

  4. Lovely blue and white, just what people imagine when they think of a house in the country.

  5. Very handsome cats! You have been too busy--its what happens to us after a long cold winter--the urge to freshen the house, garden, plant, rake, etc nearly does one in.