Hello hello! Lawdy, it’s been longer than I thought. Thank you very much for the ahemings and nudgings – it’s lovely and reassuring to know that I’m not blithering away entirely to myself. Truly. And actually I’ve thought about posting umpteen times recently, but the landscape around here has been too stress-sodden, too desolate to be worth relaying. Any post I might have written would have been a litany of despondencies, unspooling in long ribbons from here to the moon and half way back again. Though actually, to talk in terms of ribbons is too smooth and silky-sounding when the texture of time has more resembled a mountain of rusty nuts and bolts – a mountain that must be ascended, one bolt and one knee-breaking nut at a time.
But fear not! I do not come Ancient Marinerishly – I shall uphold (sort of) the fifth law of blogodynamics and not pin you to the wall with my litany of woes. In any case, for anyone outside the tiny circle of involvement it’s all rather so whatish. It’s the usual stuff – you know – builder being difficult, plumber being difficult, the contract that we get pressured to re-negotiate, the other contract that seems to have a large sum missing from it. It’s being expected to pay for scaffolding when we no longer need it. It’s the giant hoohaa-ery about exterior colours. You know – that manner of thing. The kind of thing which wakes you in the middle of the night, which causes you to vow ‘never again’, which looms suddenly at you while you’re eating your breakfast and has you in a lather. Stress! And the trouble with stress, in my experience anyway, is that it shrinks one’s world to a tiny claustrophobic chamber in which tap fittings and floor tiles loom vastly, and you become some distracted Alice in her not-so-wondrous-wonderland, tussling to get them back to size, the buggers.
And stress makes you behave badly. Or at least rudely. And sleep like a lunatic. And become tired. And therefore behave even more badly. Or at least rudely. And maybe turn to drink or other noxious solutions. (Having just picked out all the good nuts from the nut packet, I suggested to Mr Pimp that we had peanuts and G&Ts for supper. He thought I was joking. But you mark my words – tomorrow he’ll suggest his own variant).
So anyway, to upkeep my undertaking to the fifth law of etceteras, I give you some things which are keeping the boat semi-sane and bobbing at the moment.
I give you the fifty hyacinth bulbs Mr Pimperwonderful bought and planted in staggered lots so they could bloom over us all through our Period of Need. I should confess that I completely and utterly adore hyacinths. The colour of them. The smell. I could live in a hyacinth-induced swoon all my days.
I give you the dining room floor, now (almost) dressed once more with its sandstone flooring.
I give you these glass mosaics, with which I am having a delirious, shiny interlude.
I give you Hans Coper with whom (or with pictures of whose pots) I spent a surprisingly ecstatic morning. Simplification of form – I am convinced it’s where it’s at.
But mostly, dear Ladles and Jellyspoons, I give you Salvation by Calf. And this is how it happened. We were stressed. We were unhappy. We did what we always do at such times. We went to the farm for a spot of rustication, a top up of chlorophyll. A little rose pruning is what we envisaged, a little bad-potting. A lot of nothing very much at all. And what did we do instead? Life saving is what! Think, if you would, tiny calf with paralysis ticks. Think sleepless nights with a sick baby. Think nail baiting will-he-or-won’t-he suspense. Think injections, dried colostrum and conflicting advice. Think midnight trysts by lamplight on straw bales with bottles of milk. Think anxious mother hovering, shiver-me-timbers cold, plumes of huff. Think flooding relief when finally, FINALLY! the teat is chewed and then sucked, noisily, by the hairy little beast, streams of milk flooding down his coat. Think Mr Pimp holding a bib of straw beneath his determined little chin so that the spilled milk doesn’t freeze on him over night. Think the first thought you have in the morning being the calf, the last before you drop off. Think jealous Remingtons and anxious Miss Elsies bellowing at you over the fields. And then you’d have the gist of our weekend.
We found him like this, almost dead, on his way to total paralysis:
The vet shaved his neck to check for more ticks. He looked somewhat like a ponderous tortoise thereafter:
Finally, finally on his tottering feet again:
On the last morning, a day later than we were planning to leave, we were able to open the gate and let them both out, Molly to show off her baby (for the second time) and he, to his second shot at life as a tenured lawn mower. I hope they don’t tease him about his neck.