A Work of Fiction

Martin and his girlfriend Steff have moved into the cottage of their dreams in deepest, rural Wiltshire.
Read her diary and live the life.

Rundown and Romantic

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

More Friends...

Went to Seb's. He rang earlier to say he had something that might interest Joe, which immediately put me on amber alert because anything that Seb possesses generally means we end up with something similar. We already have sheep, a few chickens, a two-year-old cat (found straying in the village), and a puppy to replace dear old Bertie will be with us within days. Although 'replace' is not at all the right word.

So we trotted over to Seb's house after lunch with no clue as to what he had in store. But we heard them before we saw them. Ducks. Large, white gorgeous looking things that waddled about busily like they were auditioning for a Beatrix Potter film.

And yes, Joey loved them. And no, we aren't having any.

And no, I'm not sure I mean that.

Rusty, Old and Perfect!

I am so excited - I have a new bike! Well, when I say a new bike, it's ancient and rusty and falling to bits, but I adore it!

Martin found it on one of his now frequent trips to the tiny, almost forgotten except to the hardened fans (a category my son now falls happily into), old-time railway stations that are still to be found hidden and tucked away amongst the trees and valleys of our English countryside, if you know where to look. Walking along these platforms, one is literally transported back to a time when men would rattle up the lanes on their pushbikes to catch the train and, seeing it just about to pull away from the station, dump their bikes in the hedge until they returned in a few hours to pick them up. Or maybe not, but where the black plumes of steam tend to choke most visitors, they stir my imagination more effectively than the smoking of any substance.

But back to my bicycle! I think, to be honest, it's past being ridden, but I shall keep it in a sheltered spot outside the back door, graced by the inevitable pot plant, then perch on its worn-out old seat when no one's looking, and dream...

Paradise Lost, Paradise Found...

I couldn't stand it any longer. Looking out of my kitchen window at the abject jungle that has sprung up overnight, owing to the steady rains we've been having recently, spurred me into action big time. I needed a scythe just to cut my way to the shed, mind you, where the medlar tree had evidently decided it would not let me in through the doorway any longer. I did consider the window, amassed with cobwebs and a handful of dead woodlice, but decided I was the grown-up here and got nasty with my secateurs, telling myself if it came back to get me next year I'd show it Seb's chainsaw.

Honestly though, tidying the garden was like clearing up after an all night party; blowsy, drowsy plants, lolling over each other as if still drunk on the rain and unable to stand. Petals from the roses and sweetpeas had drifted across the grass like abandoned clothes, and wanton poppies, heavy with seed, hung their heads low in shame.

So while Joe was busy raking out excess weed from the small pond he and Martin have created from the stream, and Martin was pottering about totally unconcerned in the veg plot, I was pulling and tugging and fighting an all-out war with the undergrowth, but I think I may have won. Now, when I stand at the kitchen window, I can just glimpse a semblance of the garden I once had, if I look carefully enough.

Paradise Reclaimed.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Here,There, and Gone.

Oh, for more mornings like this one: The curtains were drawn, it was so early, but the light woke me, flooding the room with warmth. It coated the floor and the rumpled quilt on the bed with a surreal honey wash that had dust motes dancing and spinning in its wake. Martin was still slumbering deeply, his head buried in the pillow and his feet jutting like dead things from the tangle of bedclothes. I ached to share the sheer beauty of this moment with him but didn't have it in me to wake him. So I picked up my book and struggled with it for ten minutes, but the glorious start to the day was too much of a distraction. I opened the window to breathe in the air, then slipped downstairs to make an early cup of tea.

And what a perfect time to be up and about. When nobody else is, when nobody else is even conscious! The whole world belongs to you. The day was born solely for you. Opening the back door, the sounds of the stream seemed almost too loud, like they would wake the world, but a solitary blackbird in the overhanging branches saw it as happy competition, and racked up his volume in reply. I wanted to laugh and put my finger to my lips.

Sipping my tea and feeling the breeze on my feet, my cheeks and in my hair, and watching the spangled sun poking its fingers through the tall trees across the grass, I suddenly became aware of movement, then all went still. I lowered my tea slowly and peered across the field: deer. Two of them. Looking my way, aware of my presence, curious but unafraid. Then they were off, a few tentative steps into the sunlight, a magical sight which the World missed completely, followed by a full-blown gallop into the trees. They were gone and all was liquid blackbird song again.

So much in so few minutes. Why would anyone want to sleep through this?