aide-memoire

Well. Previous days have gone and if i can recall anything from them great, but if not then hopefully it all starts here.

I ended up screeching out of the kitchen door, having managed to carefully place a full mug of tea on the side but NOT having managed to stop myself from flinging the phone and some kind of long-horned beetle across the room + along the way upending a chair and the clothes airer. Upon sober inspection, the beetle was quite glorious but that’s not the point, is it? I first saw little parts of it out of the corner of my eye. Just stop. And consider those last few words for just one moment. I was sitting down…in the kitchen ..which meant that the beetle…yup. You’ve got it! Waaaay too close! So i flicked my hair and one outraged beetle ended up on my leg and waggled his legs at me. The rest is history.

Overhanging branches in the lane were lopped, so a few have ended up filling in gaps in the ‘hedge’ and the flowering ?cherry ones brought inside to stand in front of the fireplace. It looks fabulous.

I’d been waking up in the middle of the night for quite some while and couldn’t really work out why. According to Quadrille’s fabulous bird song book, it’s a family of Tawny owls. For a few nights i’d been closing and opening the windows which scared them off but their exit was very vocal indeed so i’m just living with my wonderful nocturnal choir.

Whilst uprooting a thistle, i had quite obviously not checked carefully enough as a shiny blue (large) beetle scurried up the nearby grass and waggled it’s legs at me. I carried on, so the beetle came much closer and carried on waggling. Left it to the thistle and will go back tonight.

Clearing the well established dock i (yet again!) didn’t check carefully enough and leaning down with face at ground level, brushed aside a clump of not-yet-gathered grass cuttings. An eye opened and closed; clump of grass cuttings was replaced smartly! Five minutes later i lifted it again. The eye opened again, closed and four legs were gathered closer to the toad’s round cosy body. The eye opened for a final time and i swear the toad said,
“Would you mind? thank you very much indeed”, as it sank down further into the moist grass cuttings.

There are some orchids growing in the garden, common spotted i think and hopefully not blind. Don’t like the look of them though….sure the leaves should be more rosette-like…Hmmmm. The toad and i shall keep an eye on things.

Whilst de-brambling the japonica an eye opened and there was a rush of greeny yellow as a young frog nipped into the middle of the bush. It sat tight, keeping an eye on me. We eyed each other, then got on with our lives….i clipped while it dozed.

We have some ancient beech hedge around the house that is partially maintained by someone else…and ….a low wall with fencing on top (that i originally didn’t like but now understand the reason for for). The wall and fencing also has Some hedging/ trees/ honeysuckle/ other plants in it. This needs adding to. We have already had one dog break Into our garden for a play with ours! i am almost certain that a fox was strolling through another part as well. THAT part has now been firmly blocked but something tried to get through the other night, i’ve blocked it again! the fox can jolly well go round and go through any number of far more easily available gaps on the Other side of our garden.

Apparently it’s going to be cold tonight so before the garden runs away with us completely….i’m back off outside….
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Drinking…apparently, far too much tea
Eating…..anything that can be prepared swiftly
Listening to….birdsong and tractors
Watching….things grow
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…and just like that, i’m home.

For me anyway, the concept of “home” is an odd one and it is something that i’ve chatted about with others. Is “home”, however one defines it, an area? A building? A room? Is home the people? A person?
For me anyway home is really about having a bedroom, my own space, even if shared with another or others. True, if more rooms are involved, i’m even happier. But push to shove….the nurses home at Central Middlesex Hospital springs to mind… i can make myself at home, in a room, quite easily. Opposite that nurses home there was an old deserted children’s home that had escaping purple iris, galloping pink flowering currant bushes, wild and endless herbaceous borders with flowering shrubs around the edges and random bulbs providing endless blooms throughout the year so my bedroom usually had flowers.

A swift count tells me that this is my 27th bedroom. So it’s the 27th time that i’ve put down roots, invested emotional energy in a place, coaxed plants to grow, arranged photos on a handily available surface (gosh, that dates me!), it’s the 27th time that i’ve made decisions about where to place furniture. The 27th time that i’ve shaken my head and wondered yet again about my propensity to collect clutter.
We are almost there. There IS the minor matter of a previous home to sell, but matters are taking their natural course and i have no doubt that the right person is waiting to move in, to start their life in that part of North East Manchester that i grew to know and love so well. Initially (way back when) there were misgivings about living on the edges of a city, loathing suburbia it had to have easy access to wilderness and Moston Brook so near provided a much needed escape for me. Moston Brook with its damp and ever changing habitat.

So imagine my amusement to discover that our garden here in Scotland, is frankly a minor Moston Brook! But however tempting it might be, a Garden is not a publicly available wild space nor should it be treated in the same way. So no, i will not be encouraging swathes of bouncing meadowsweet, nor will our garden include banks of butterbur. For now at least, what grass is available must be cut….the thistles will not be allowed to grow….ground elder or dandelion can’t be allowed to flower along the boundary with our neighbour….and somehow, the rush will have to go away without forming damp, dank, colour-leached patches. Hedging plants need to occupy some gaps…..a massive towering bundle of old brambles and odd dead branches must be cleared….a few shrubs require rescuing…. but that apart, all we need to do is reclaim what was once a perfectly decent garden.
As far as gardening goes, I’m not great at destruction. But here? Here there needs to be some fairly tough ground rules:

1) Thistles and brambles are banished. If we want blackberries there are perfectly acceptable thornless varieties and don’t start me on the thistle.

2) Eating ground elder/ sorrel/ dandelion is not a rational form of weed control, not in this garden …

3) That old adage of ‘Less is More’ is a very good place for us to start…and also remain for a little while longer.

4) Rush in one’s garden is neither acceptable nor helpful. Some people might want to weave with them and suchlike, i don’t. They can go and the sooner the better. I’ve been told about and shown nicely mown areas that were once rush infested. So i know that without recourse to draining the land it is possible to heavily discourage their existence in a garden. It shall be so.

5) Gardening on into the evening is now out. (Midges)

Excuse me, there are about three years depth of dead rush to rake out.

Oh…and would i go back to living in England or on the edge of a city?
Nope!
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Cudweeds and woundworts…..

I wonder, is there a vast difference between the focus encouraged in PhD students……and …..the positive rigidity of thought that is rapidly growing in regard to my interest in wild plants?

Frankly (and we’re in the UK, so yes this terminology Is correct!) i couldn’t care less about supper tonight, but i Do care quite a lot about whether or not the sweet woodruff should be moved. Figworts and periwinkles, mugworts and toadflax, mulleins and the latest wall growing red-shank are of far more interest to me than lots of what’s on offer as an alternative right now.

Is this the start of an inexorable slide into chaotic domesticity? Or could this desire actually fuel my need to have our home orderly …so that….i can go back to the welted, melancholy or creeping thistles? The jury is out!

Happily our household is currently doing their own things re meals, as one of us is on a very strict and hugely successful diet….leaving me free to eat whatever on earth i want and whenever i want as well! So supper tonight is halved oatcakes spread with marmite, topped with halved tomatoes and the whole lot are sat on slivers of cheese. Yoghurt and honey followed by chopped apples, yummy. I think the other meal consists of some cooked option that doesn’t at all appeal….

As the years advance, so does the possibility me wandering around far flung hills and hunting down rare plants. I may be spotted in the distance but at least i’ll be happy!

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April

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Our life is getting a tad more crowded than we had planned for 2017 to be at this stage. So one way of winding down has been to make things; stuff that can be used, handled, held and considered as my days unfold. A new purse was called for as the previous one finally gave up and this wool kinda called out to me from the bottom of a charity shop box. And there was a question over the solitary earring….. they look quite good together, i think?

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I’m a tactile kinda person, there is no earthly use my having a diary online… dear me no, got to be able to hold it in my hands. So earlier on in the year i arrived early for a course, settled myself in a cosy armchair, with a good view, decent cup of tea, pair of scissors, sellotape for covering the final object, glue and a pile of magazines and freebies. The end result is pleasing ( well for me anyway!),  has started many conversations and ensures that i am where i ought to be with + with the correct clobber…..

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Slowly, I’m reclaiming the small things about living which bring pleasure and simplicity. Working with my hands, both for pleasure and also for necessity in work, is bringing a degree of peace …..and dare i say it, tranquility too.

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In other areas of life the home smells of tea tree oil, is draped about with drying washing and the dog paw bled all over the living room floor this week, shortly after the cat threw up over the kitchenish area…….

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In this anonymous space i can say……

….that i have just shrunk two, woollen, long, gorgeous jumpers that my beloved husband bought back (this week) from his travels in the south of our country.

 

In my defence……(slight)…..tiredness played a part.

 

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So

Am i cross?

Upset?

Amused?

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Those emotions (as yet unidentified) are galloping around my entire body!

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October

Ate what really was the very last of our wild strawberries 🙂

Hauled most of the plants o-u-t of our front garden soil and into pots- tidying that little patch up until it looks Suitably Suburban and actually not like something that is to do with me at all……

Walked the hound until he stopped and asked to go home again!

Forgot to make jam.

 

[That last one can be sorted later, the fruit is in the freezer &  local blackberry bushes are all done and dusted. Time for sticky work surfaces another day…….]

Today really was a day for sitting in the sunshine and sieving soil, a time and a space to be comfortable and to have my hands in compost ….that i have nurtured! OK. The nails could look  better but then again, acrylics are not really my thing ( to put it mildly….) so that’s ok. The front now looks uncomfortably not like my garden! But this needs to happen. And the only way to get from where we are now….to where we want to be….is to sort our home and sort the garden ….and at some point in time……..decide what to do next.

 

  • There is another grandchild to be introduced to, this must happen and soon.
  • Am taking a few days out this week , long overdue.
  • Old friends are resurfacing, just like the yummy autumnal mushrooms that are also appearing all over the place. Other friends are moving. So a totally new address book calleth
  • Work requires a certain ’embedding’

 

In short……my roots are being distinctly loosened.

 

 

 

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We’ve eaten outdoors lots this year……this was maybe my favourite meal  🙂

 

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overpaid tax….and some

Returning to work, flexi time, is suiting me….generally speaking….and all is kinda OK. The availability of shifts is sporadic at the moment, but the again it usually is during the summer holidays + everything does take a bit of time to pick up as we drift into autumn.

I’ve been here before, many times, in various incarnations; i know how it works.

It remains a very real pleasure to go into child care settings and work alongside the regulars, discovering and exploring together with the little ones. Nothing much to beat a hefty lump of play dough, or a heap of sand…..

 

Only this time i discover that i am paying tax.

Which means that the P45 hasn’t been actioned.

And now the tax office details that i’ve been given, doesn’t exist either.

 

The joys of constant reorganisation.

The delights of striving for excellence.

The deep desire to …oh i don’t know….(breathe deeply…..)….

 

i feel the pain of my boss who went to look for the tax office details on the side of his computer, only to realise with a sickening thud that ‘we don’t do it that way anymore’

No indeed

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