16th April 2007
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful. The only possible thing to do with the day was enjoy it. My broad bean and baby squash seeds, planted with the girls on Mother’s Day, had shot up into exciting dimensions. I spent a happy hour or two potting them all up, mixing seed compost with my own with an alchemist’s smile on my face. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing new life out of old and knowing that at least the waste from the fridge has been put to good use rather than landfill – and that we shall be eating it again, in a different guise, so to speak, in the not too distant future. The tomato seedlings were coming along nicely too and, in a fit of horticultural abandon, I even imagined selling them at the garden gate…this was country living indeed!
N cooked a fine ‘repas’ of tuna pasta, washed down by a bottle of chilled white Riesling and enjoyed around the newly scrubbed and oiled table and chairs (much needed after three winters of neglect). The girls continued with their endless games of ‘families’ and I wandered round the garden replete and contented. The hyacinths I’d planted late were scenting the air from their burgundy flower-lets , the daffodils, equally late into the earth, were bursting with yellow and orange-headed life around the apple trees and behind my little ‘home-made’ dry stone wall which divides the wilder bit of the garden from the more formal. The other old-timers around the place were nodding their approval. The clematis in the copper beech was showing signs of life, the cornflowers and wild geraniums forming perfect green clumps before their summer wanderings. Ferns were unfurling, foxglove leaves growing dark and strong; early soft nettles for beneficial home brews appearing on the sidelines; purple periwinkle, yellow celandine, orange tulips, acid green euphorbia, magenta honesty and dark green comfrey, pale blue forget-me-knots and giant white snowdrops vied for space together. A single pale purple azalea was in full bloom and smelling sweet, way ahead of its siblings; the little apple tree my brother gave me when L was born was showing off its first green buds and the camellia bought for an unborn child held a few pink flowers tenderly in its glossy dark leaves.
Everywhere I looked there were signs of new life and the vigorous energy of nature. The cream sheep were still fat, and three cows – dun, black and white, and black – drifted artistically into view in a far green field studded with yellow dandelions. The air was warm and still, the village happy in the embrace of the hills. I couldn’t help but be happy too.