The best things never change
20 November 2016
We had Bridie, and our friend and neighbour Gabby Deeming (of House & Garden fame) staying for the weekend… and had the quietest time you could imagine.
The kitchen sofa was where we spent most time of all, I seem to think. We love our new kitchen sofa, which came from Mum & Dad. Here it is through the kitchen window, looking very at home.
The only event on Saturday was a book signing at beautiful Brassica, the perfect restaurant that is our favourite of all in Dorset, right on the Square in Beaminster. A couple of years ago now Louise opened her superb little homeware shop, Brassica Mercantile, next door. And that is where I spent a happy morning meeting customers and signing copies before we headed next door for a delicious, long lunch, watching waves of rain come beating across the tiny square from darkly leaden clouds.
We got home as evening was falling; stormy weather was sweeping across Dorset; we lit a roaring fire and hunkered down. Supper was followed by big-screen viewing – I could not recommend more getting a simple projector and a folding screen and plugging your laptop in to watch movies. Muriel’s Wedding, in our case. Perfect. God what a brilliant film.
This morning, Charlie and I took Mavis and Max for a walk. The countryside has shifted in to deep Autumn. The storm had passed but a chill wind was blowing.
For those who have been missing the kittens, they are growing up fast. But I must admit they are rather elusive. Here they are in their little nest in the boiler house, where they like to spend most of their time when they are not out and about, or lying in front of the fire.
Along with Charlie’s dahlias from the veg garden, lifted and drying. This week, Charlie has been working like a bionic man in the garden, planting many thousands of tulip bulbs in a few days.
After a late breakfast we went for a little stroll around the village….
The lake was glowing in the final flush of autumn colour, before all the leaves are off the trees…
However tempting the stick, Mavis does not like getting in….
Max meanwhile is quite a water baby….
The garden glowed in pale wintry light.
Rows of lettuces are still doing well.
Next years hurdles and pea-sticks neatly tied.
The compost heap is vast.
As is Charlie’s pumpkin, which provided a photogenic seat for Max for quite a little while.
But what’s it all about, really?
On Friday evening, we’d all had a great night at the village social club. It was the Annual General meeting. I opened my (Chairman’s) report of the year 2015-2016 by saying that in this turbulent year, which has seen the collapse of governments, Britain voting to leave the European Union, and the election of President Trump, it was curiously reassuring to know that here in the village, nothing had changed at all, except, I would say, in the smallest ways, for the better. The social club annual accounts were up £64 on the year. No disasters had happened (and we’ve had our share of disaster in the village from time to time). The seasons ebb and flow, and life just ticks along as it has always, always ticked along. The pace of life, without a shadow of doubt, is slowed here.
I find something curiously reassuring in this, just as I find reassurance in this season of autumnal decay. These days, it is Charlie is doing all the incredible work in the garden – my role is as a lazy and eternally grateful and equally impressed spectator (lucky me, and for readers of the blog, lucky us). But the one thing I do know about gardening is that it is optimistic. Here we are, sliding into the darkest, longest nights, the shortest days of the year, and Charlie is planting thousands of bulbs. Our minds right now are all about spring; about warmth in the soil, lengthening days, and the green tips of hundreds of daffodils and tulips edging their way up through turf or flower beds. Right at the darkest time of year we are thinking about the next season, about the future. And meanwhile, the beds are straightened, hedges planted, shrubs cut back, things neatened and tidied in the dormant season; the past is put in order.
It’s a good time of year. Things are revolving, but the best parts of life don’t change.