Happy happy happy. Happy. Happy. Grrrrrr.
IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF A THREE-DAY BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND. AND THE CROWN ON ONE OF MY HORRIBLE STUPID TEETH HAS JUST FALLEN OUT. I’m so happy. Happy, happy, happy, happy.
It has not been a brilliant day and furthermore Peter is in Cardamomlinghamshire visiting relatives so I don’t even have him around to blame.*
Gemma told me last night, cheerfully, on her way out the door after handbells** that she probably won’t be there for afternoon ringing at the abbey on Sunday. She saw the stark panic flood my face and said hastily, you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. I’ll be fine, eggs grow on trees, teabags make the best tea, and Charlemagne was a girl. AAAAAAUGH. Last Sunday it was five fabulous male ringers . . . and Gemma and me. AAAAAAAAUGH.
I’ll be fine. Yes. I’ll be fine. I’ll take my knitting. . . .
AND WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A FROST TOMORROW NIGHT. A FROST! A FRELLING, FRELLING, FRELLING, FRELLING FROST! IT’S MAY! IT’S MAY IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND! WE’RE ALLOWED TO PLANT LITTLE TENDER GREEN THINGS OUTDOORS IN THE GROUND IN MAY IN SOUTHERN ENGLAND!***
I had quite a nice time in the garden a couple of days ago—when it finally stopped raining long enough to make this practical—playing eenie meanie with all the racks and rows of little green mail-order things that arrived during the floods and are still waiting to be put somewhere they can settle down and grow.† I planted the sweet peas, finally, some begonias, some (tender) fuchsias, most of the rest of the glads, some petunias. Today . . . today I (furiously) planted the dahlia cuttings in pots two or three sizes smaller than I meant to—I don’t have TIME for endless potting-on: stuff goes in an intermediate pot and then it goes into the ground or into its big permanent pot—so they’d all fit on a tray in case I’m bringing them indoors tomorrow night. The stuff that is already in the ground is going to have to take its chances†† . . . but the sitting-room is going to be frelling impassable if I have to bring in all the unfrost-proof things in trays and pots or still in their mail-order plastic cells. . . .
* * *
* You made my crown fall out! You did! You know you did!
** Have I told you we seem to have morphed into Thursday and Friday handbells?? Wait, wait, I have a novel to finish and I do need to reserve some brain. I think I’ve told you Gemma is a doctor, and she’s just changed clinics/surgeries which means her schedule has changed, and Thursday afternoon handbells are no longer possible. So we had, I thought, moved handbells to Fridays right before New Arcadia bell practise^ . . . except that it turns out Colin can’t do Fridays but was too polite to say so.^^ I have this habit of not really paying attention to details and therefore found myself saying to Niall and Colin, well, okay, we’ll just have to keep on with Thursdays, and Niall and I can ring with Gemma on Fridays . . . WHAT AM I SAYING. This week was the first of the new schedule and . . . two days in a row of handbells is . . . intense.
^ Which means I will now stuff hellhounds into their harnesses and pelt out the door so as to be out of earshot by the time they start ringing up. I’m getting better at sleeping through Sunday mornings though.
^ The British. ARRRRRRRGH.
*** I’m having another of those ‘why do I DO this to myself??’ moments. I moaned this to Peter tonight over the phone and he said, because you’d think less well of yourself if you didn’t^, which is true as far as it goes, but it still begs the question why do I have to choose activities where terror will be my natural environment? Why couldn’t I collect stamps or go to more films?^^
^ And given my standard level of self-appreciation this could get dangerous.
^^ No horror, of course.+
+ Avengers Assemble is playing semi-around here this weekend and I am half-tempted to go except for two things: (a) it’s in frelling 3D, and my loathing for (frelling) 3D was renewed and reinforced by (multi-frelling) THOR and (b) I haven’t got time. If I’m going to ring bells and sing and rescue all the little green things drowning in my garden(s) and finish a novel before the hellhounds and I have to stop eating, although the hellhounds wouldn’t mind, I haven’t got time.# And, just by the way, Sunday morning ringing at New Arcadia is forty minutes plus a one-minute bolt from the cottage to the tower and a more leisurely several-minute stroll back. Sunday afternoon ringing at the abbey is an hour, plus a half hour commute. Also, terror is tiring.
# And the blog is a not insignificant eater of time.~
~ And there are a lot of doodles waiting to be doodled. Siiiigh. I should draw you a Venn diagram of Available Energy Usage by Robin McKinley some time. I don’t know if this is the frelling ME, or advancing age, or just that I’ve always been peculiar, but what I can and can’t do isn’t just about whether I feel (relatively) alert and intelligent or as if I have ham salad for brains and limbs made of half deflated inner tubes. It’s more of a Chinese-menu situation where you want stuff from as many columns as possible. And your fortune cookie is still going to tell you you’re frelled.
*** Meanwhile friends in the Midwestern prairie are having temperatures pushing ninety (°F).
† I’m still seeing disturbingly few little feathered things in the shrubbery.^ I wouldn’t have thought literal drowning was all that likely in my garden-on-a-hill, and there’s still the greenhouse to take shelter in. Nor would I have thought I have many predators out there, although what is that unpleasing line about there always being a rat within five feet of you? I’m sure my local rats would be more than happy to tuck into adolescent robin. But dad robin is still hanging around for mealworms. Robins are such fearless little critters^^ that you get a prime view of what’s going on with them. There were still two adults^^^ when I started putting mealworms out but they were very chary of me—which served to reinforce my guilt about how little gardening I’ve been doing recently and it’s not all down to the weather—but robins don’t really do chary and dad, at this point, pretty well gets in my face and says, Mealworms? Where are the mealworms?, if he’s dispatched the previous serving. I put them out twice a day, and he must be feeding them to someone because if he ate all of them himself he’d explode. The mealworm saucer normally lives on my potting table in the greenhouse but I put it out in the courtyard by the kitchen door when I want to use my table, on top of a tall pot that will have a dahlia in it eventually. He knows this. So first he sits in the apple tree next to the greenhouse and stares at me, and then he perches on that pot and looks at me meaningfully. I may have to start buying more mealworms.
^ I did get a couple of photos of the babies, but they’re not very good. The nest is tucked back behind various jars and plastic boxes of plant food and it’s dark. I didn’t want to blow a flash in their tiny fluffy faces and I haven’t been very lucky with the right angles of sunlight . . . or any angles of sunlight, lately. They’re only in the nest about ten days, I think—maybe two weeks. Not long at all. And I didn’t notice they’d hatched immediately—they were already beginning to grow feathers by the time I saw them—since I’d been trying to leave mum alone so she’d go on sitting. But I’m reasonably sure there were five of them to begin with. Five’s a lot.
^^ Unlike their human namesake
^^^ If there’s only one parent left, it’s probably dad, because mum has sashayed off to start a new nest somewhere else.
†† I may raise the odds a bit by throwing a bit of bubble wrap around. After potting up the frelling sweet peas—usually I just slap them in the ground to begin with—and bringing them in and out for about a fortnight I am VERY RELUCTANT TO LOSE THEM NOW.
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