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Sunday, 20 October 2013

rugs and rodents

It's that time of year when boxes of bulbs are being left in the porch - or- if you're our delivery man and catch sight of Pixie in the garden - are flung over the gate followed by a screech of tyres and the flapping of rear doors as the van and the man barely stop for breath. Pixie of course wouldn't hurt a fly but she's big and you could easily be felled to the ground by her long wagging tail. I'm grateful the boxes contain bulbs and not china from the Ming dynasty.

Tulip Belle Epoque
 I am very excited by the discovery of this beautiful looking tulip - Belle Epoque which is a sort of beigey dusky pink and I've ordered a load of them to see if they are as beautiful as their picture. In fact dozens of different bulbs have arrived, some for us but mostly for clients. I always order a quantity of Narcissi Paperwhite which are already sprouting in their bags and will fill the house with their heady perfume. Later, the hyacinths will do the same job. I usually plant up bowls of white ones but this year have gone girly with a mass of very pale pink as well, called China Pink that look fantastic in vases.

Narcissi Paperwhite
 It's also the time of year to get the rugs out for the horses. It would be good to be really organised and get them cleaned and mended at the end of the season but perhaps just as well I didn't as this year I see some rodents have had fun taking bits for their nests. Very nice for them too. Once you've bitten through the waterproof layer(good for those incontinent mice) you then get to a nice fluffy layer which is what keeps the horses warm. So all in all quite a find if you're a rodent. I'm also expecting to find my fleece in a similar state when it's cold enough to fleece up the pelargoniums and those cashmere knits no doubt will have more holes in than usual thanks to the moths. At least our moths are small. I went into the new butterfly and moth tunnel at the zoo the other week and there were moths with wings the size of each of your hands. Wouldn't want one of them in my jumper drawer.
Trude eying her rug.with the new holes in. Actually she has so many rugs I liken her to Elizabeth Taylor. She has a rug for every conceivable occasion and I expect they've all got hole in by now.

Have to confess to a short break in Turkey which was heaven. Hot and re-charging. Made the discovery of the  eating away of the fabric of our things less stressful. Meanwhile it also meant the cats could eat away at other things undisturbed.

The dahlias are still rioting in the garden, especially as I haven't been picking them whilst away. Still curious as to where all the dark ones went to.

This poem by Jamie Mc Kendrick touches on the undoing of the fabric of our heaven.


Rust and dry rot and the small-jawed moth
are our best friends and they wish us well,
undoing the fabric of our heaven.

They correspond to something inside us
that doesn't love the works our hands have made
- wire- cutters, pick-locks, saboteurs.

'Are you building a good memory to have of me?'
you once asked as though I'd just begun
a papier-mache Taj Mahal.

I keep a cardboard box of newspapers
in the cupboard so everything that's happened
is safe from pulp mills and the record-shredders

but all the while in the dark the silverfish
and woodlice are at work on the word,
its dot matrix. Living on what seems to us

dust, they profit directly from our neglighence
and attention in general only provokes
their swerving, averting or curling-up manoeuvres.

Meaning? They roll it away and break it down
into unrecombinable fragments
like fatigue in our metal or cancer in concrete.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

An Indian summer

To-day we are having an Indian summer. The whole Indian summer may well span only this day but how lovely to fling open the windows and go out without a coat, hat and scarf. Anticipating an Arctic winter I have been standing smugly by my wood pile, congratulating myself on having ordered some in on time and stacking them relatively neatly so they don't all topple over.  As Beezle and Lao Tzu would say "Great acts are made up of small deeds."

 Having wanted to photograph this new design that we planted up - all summer - I finally managed to remember to take my camera when I went to visit one of my clients. It's past its best now of course - you have to imagine it with lots of purple Salvia caradonna and blue iris sibirica in there as well.

You can't see these heavenly verbascums but they are in there as well. They are so delicate and before each flower opens they look like ruby beads on a stem.

 I think I have become A Sentimentalist. My client has invested in a small lawn mower that mows the lawn all on its own. It looks like an armadillo and it sets off along a given path, its little blades furiously cutting under its carapace. Sometimes, if it reaches a steep bit it might topple over but it rights itself and carries on, then finds its way back to its re-charging station, plugs itself in and waits patiently until it has charged itself up again. I couldn't help feeling sorry for it and the sight of it saddened me. I think this is taking anthropomorphism too far.

Pixie agrees and hopes I'm not going to employ something similar to take her on a walk.
I must send my client this poem by Rudyard Kipling. A short extract of which is below.

The Secret of the Machines
We were taken from the ore-bed and the mine,   
   We were melted in the furnace and the pit—   
We were cast and wrought and hammered to design,   
   We were cut and filed and tooled and gauged to fit.   
Some water, coal, and oil is all we ask,
   And a thousandth of an inch to give us play:   
And now, if you will set us to our task,
   We will serve you four and twenty hours a day.

 But remember, please, the Law by which we live,   
   We are not built to comprehend a lie,
We can neither love nor pity nor forgive.
   If you make a slip in handling us you die.   
We are greater than the Peoples or the Kings—
   Be humble, as you crawl beneath our rods.-
Our touch can alter all created things,
   We are everything on earth—except The Gods.