I’m home. Phew. Right now I am feeling very tired and all I want to do is go to bed, but I intend to stay up for a few hours more. Also, I need to finish unpacking my bag.
New Zealand is amazing. Stunning. Beautiful. Pick your own adjective. I need to start saving for a second trip to the South Island. I’m glad I didn’t go there this time because it would have been so intense, and like going through a list, ticking off places seen. That’s not my preferred type of tourism. You can’t see everything. And sometimes the more you try to see the less you appreciate, understand or remember.
MasterB was not quite sure how to react when I arrived home. He was pleased to see me, but he and Birgit have established a different routine over the last five weeks, now he has to readapt to my routine. Right now he’s curled up beside me. He couldn’t be closer. He has also seen Celia who I bumped into on the Walworth Road when I was heading for the mobile phone shop to get a new U.K. sim to replace the one I lost. Continue reading →
Là, il a plutôt bonne mine, César. Mais, du haut de ses 2 petits mois, il vient de passer 4 jours entre la vie et la mort. Sans la mobilisation 24h/24 de toute une équipe, il n’aurait jamais été là pour cette photo aujourd’hui. Acheté en animalerie il y a 10 jours à peine, hospitalisé […]
I am rather sorry to be missing the commemorations to mark the centenary of the end of the First a World War. The poppies at the Tower of London four years ago were immensely moving. I have one of them, and helped to remove them from the vote after the 11th November 2014. The spray of poppies that attracted so much attention then is at the front of the IWM in London. There are many photos online. The Tower has been filling the moat with candles. Thanks to Celia, I have this photograph.
. I should have loved to have seen the sand pictures Danny Boyle and a team of artists are creating on beaches around the UK. I saw him interviewed about the project a while ago, and it sounded extremely moving. Continue reading →
Against the brutalities of the world, small triumphs are like anchors, keeping me safe, secure while the waves crash around me: finishing a library book and returning it before the due date; recycling some small electricals; posting a present to a friend whose birthday falls when I’ll be in New Zealand.
The news continues to broadcast from a world untethered, a world where interrogators arrive in planes with diplomatic immunity, bone saws in their luggage, and the President of the United States expresses a willingness to believe the Saudi Royal family knows nothing about it. Given that country’s reputation for state control, and the Crown Prince’s hands on actions, are we really to accept that they were so busy watching the Saudi version of Bake Off that they temporarily abdicated that control to persons unknown? Continue reading →
The forecast for today was good, so when I woke up to a morning where the thick mist muted the birdsong, I assumed it would burn off in an hour or so and the sun would shine down on das Boot. Breakfast, shower, washing up all accomplished and still no sun, MasterB had retreated to under the rug in the forecabin, placed on the seating to protect the upholstery from cats’ claws. So I kept my layers on, turned on the car heater and set off on my travels.
Nial and Jan met me at the cemetery. We were all armed with gardening tools, and I had a selection of bulbs. The chrysanthemum I had planted on my father’s grave had vanished, but at Aunt’s more extensive plot (Dad was cremated, so it’s just a small marker stone showing where his ashes were buried) we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a few plants were flourishing. So many in fact that quite a few of the bulbs will be coming back to London with me, even after planting a clutch of them on Dad’s grave. Continue reading →
I am at das Boot with the First Mate (MasterB has been promoted). We are both in the rear cabin, I’m on the director’s chair looking out at the quiet marina, MasterB is purring on the pink fleecy blanket at the end of the bed.
In the field beside us the calves are grazing with their mothers. I got off to photograph some of them. They are so very pretty. One or two were curious but shy. I like to think their mothers recognise me as the woman who uproots sticky weed from my side of the barbed wire fence to give them. Certainly they seem unconcerned by my presence, and do nothing to warn their calves not to speak to me.
I wrote quite a lot about Billie when I visited Melbourne nearly two years ago. I told my friend Vicki to warn Billie I’d be relying on her for canine comfort as I’d be missing MasterB. She’s not a cuddlesome dog, said Vicki. But in the wayward manner of pets who like to prove their owners wrong, Billie decided immediately I was someone she’d like to cuddle her, and our bond was established. She was elderly then, her gait a bit wobbly, and made me think of a refined lady who’d had a bit too much Sherry but was still game for a knees up. Continue reading →
It was looking at the fenders so neatly arranged on this boat that brought home to me why I am so dissatisfied with the ones on das Boot. Mine do not match. On the port side I have some rather nice, though currently grubby, dark blue fenders. On the starboard side some irredeemably stained white ones which have ridges.
Day three on the twenty-five foot boat and I’m settling in. Too bad I have to go home tomorrow. In the fields the hay is baled, the leeks have been harvested, something tall that looks like corn is still growing. Men are out and about with guns. Maybe women too. I haven’t seen them, just heard them. And last night there were fireworks.
Who needs fireworks when you can listen to owls calling to each other?
I grew up in the country, and although now I consider myself a Londoner, there is something about the country that calls me, resonates with me. I’ve picked blackberries and my finger nails have been rimed with purple. I helped myself to windfall apples someone had left in a wheelbarrow outside their house. If I hadn’t stopped to talk to the cows in the field next to the marina I should have missed this skin shed by a snake.
Snake skin in the grass
Meanwhile meals have been enlivened by visiting swans. This one comes with her cygnet, approaches the boat then hisses if I so much as look at her offspring.
I’m working on Monday so it’s back to the Smoke tomorrow. The forecast is for
a hot day, so I’ll try to leave in the morning. The evening might be cooler, but there’ll be lots of traffic with people returning at the end of the weekend.
I’d like to be able to stay on. Stay on until I become restless. Right now, being on the boat with some human contact and some internet access, but not too much of either, suits me down to the ground. I’m hanging out with MasterB. Doing a bit of gentle boat cleaning after the rigours of scrubbing the covers, eating lots of salad, drinking lots of water and a bit of wine. The pace is so slow you might not even realise I was moving. I am very happy to not do very much, to recharge my batteries by vegetating.
For the first time in ages I brought my Lumix camera with me. I haven’t taken many pictures, but just using it again reminds me what a different experience it is to my trusty little Olympus,.
I’d like to stay and let the sights and sounds of summer in the country sink into me, so that the big skies, the scent of lavender, the bees, the pennants moving in the breeze, the squawk of the moorhen, the swan dipping its neck into the sun reflected water, are all filling my senses, so that Brexit, Trump and all the other noise and nonsense dims into insignificance for a while. Continue reading →