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Sunday, 23 June 2013


The poet Wallace Stevens said that the only limit on a person's life is a weak imagination. He believed the imagination is "The Magnificent cause of Being, the only one reality in this imagined world."

When I look out from my bedroom window this is the view I see.

Not really.

I can see the Isle of Wight on a clear day but not the mountains in Zhangjiajie which was where this picture was taken by my daughter who has just returned from a trip to China. But what a view. It is the stuff of poetry and literature.
What goes hand in hand with the imagination is not wearing your glasses. The other day I watched a river of wool gushing down the hillside into the valley. On closer inspection(still without my glasses) I could see it was a herd of sheep being let from the top field into the bottom field, all being chased by a sheepdog as they jostled to flow through the narrow gate. It was a wondrous sight.
And thinking of sheep, those three rams in the field at the bottom of the garden (see a previous post) who had looked so massive, have been sheared and now quite honestly they are puny, skinny, insignificant creatures which must give rise to the saying " Oh you're just all wool!" If they sheared them before the mating season they probably would all be rejected with a toss of the head.

I had a curious conversation with the plumber who came round to mend the boiler yet again, about eyes. He told me in lurid detail about having a cataract removed whilst still conscious and said that at the time he couldn't go out in the day because it was too bright, so he often only went out at night. It made me think of vampires and perhaps instead of being blood sucking creatures favouring the dark, they just all had eye problems.

The week has been partly dominated by trying to save a fledgling that Pocket(quarter Bengal) brought home. It was a robust little thing and appeared unharmed by being in the jaws of death, but it was still bald apart from a few tiny feathers on its wings and a tuft of down on its head - and it hadn't yet opened its eyes.(Well it might have opened them but couldn't bear the sight of what was going on and they remained firmly shut.) I think it  was a starling and not even a fledgling yet  and I didn't know what to do with it. It was still alive and I could find no sign of its nest or its mother and had no idea where it came from.
What to do?
 I knew in my heart it wouldn't survive but I couldn't put it out of its misery or leave it for the cat again so after a while I thought I'd pop it in the swallow's nest in the stables. where they had just had a second batch of chicks. I put a lot of straw under the nest and hid in the other stable to watch through the chat grill.
It was a stupid idea.
For a start it was twice the size of the swallow chicks. The mother swallow flew in, saw it and dashed out again to return with its partner. They both hovered over it and then fled. The new chick promptly fell out of the nest because it was twice the size of the other chicks. Then I worried that the swallows wouldn't come back and instead of one chick dying I had caused the death of the swallow chicks as well. I was miserable.
I ended up making a nest of my own with straw and some of Harry's feather hairs and fed it tiny amounts of cat food with a pair of tweezers. Surprisingly it lasted two days but by lunch time on the second day it had died.
I was cross with myself for interfering and only felt slightly better, when after ages of watching the stables from behind a bush, I saw the swallows return.
Papaver Patty's Plum. No glasses required to see this massive thing.

Rosa foetida still in its pot when it should be scrambling up a tree somewhere.
 The plumber who came to mend the boiler, once he had finished his cup of tea and the ghastly eye stories, told me he used to work for someone who had a parrot. It had a fantastic vocabulary and when it wanted attention it would mimic the sound of the telephone ringing because it knew that someone always dashed in to answer the phone. In the past I've seen a parrot up in the trees at the end of our road which must have escaped from the Victorian Leisure Gardens - the Larmer Tree - I am keeping my fingers crossed that Pocket doesn't bring one of those home.

And so to Mr Stevens ..........

Disillusionment of Ten O'Clock

The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
Catches Tigers
In red weather. 
rosa rugosa alba which is out of its pot and climbing up the back of the stables.

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