Around about, inside out, upside down….take your pick, that’s the way of the weather just now on the last day of January. I’ve not been for a walk recently, nothing to do with the weather, just that I have been busy and also taking more exercise on the gym equipment. Things will change as they normally do, it just means my usual schedule or regime has altered a little. It is an awkward time of year for being outdoors gardening though some things need doing despite the weather. It is the rain and sleet showers coupled with blustery winds which keep me out of the garden but I have been digging out a few bluebells before they develop too much. I have to dig out the bulbs to ensure they won’t return and there shouldn’t be many of them this year, nothing like those I had to remove last year by a long way. I have kept myself busy with little projects inside the house while I wait for the weather to improve. The sun is beginning to shine on more of the (rear) garden with each passing day as it gets progressively higher in the sky. Spring isn’t that far away and I am looking forward to it. The rhubarb I had relocated a few weeks ago is already beginning to sprout leaves and in a day or two hence I hope to be planting some seeding potatoes in the same bed. It has been quite some time since we grew potatoes but we did get a good crop at that time. We have deliberately chosen a variety better suited for boiling rather than one more suitable for making chips (fries). I prefer the former anyway. There is something special about small new potatoes covered in melting butter with a pinch of salt I think. As I sit inside writing this with the wind blowing showers of sleet and rain onto the window and the low temperature outside my thoughts are set to the warmer times ahead. Maybe I’ll be eating those newly grown potatoes.
I was in bed by ten-thirty after which I remembered nothing until I awoke for a little trip along the landing at five in the morning. It was new year’s eve but not that I’d noticed, I was too tired. On waking I should have done some exercising but my limbs were aching. Whilst I had been collecting stones from the beach the day before I noticed my posterior thigh muscles were beginning to ache. It had to be the elliptical cross trainer, well not the machine but my lack of experience on it! It isn’t as though I have been doing much on it but even the small amount of time I have spent was enough to cause my injury. Latterly I had been spending only a couple of minutes on the machine and even then with the supply switched off, in other words using it at its absolute and lowest settings. It is more the movement the legs go through rather than the resistance level though I suspect. Until I can get used to it I will have to ensure my time on it is kept to a minimum. Anyway the long and short of it was that I decided to once again take a short break from my regime. My day, new year’s day was therefore spent relaxing and doing nothing for once, oh sorry, except for taking out the trash! I don’t make resolutions for the year as you may remember which means I am not setting myself goals which I probably would find difficult to maintain anyway. If I do set myself a goal it can be anytime throughout the year and it usually involves a project of one sort or another. Those things I do keep. See last year’s posts! I do have one or two things I would like to do but whether they will come to fruition remains to be seen. In the meantime one of my aims is to get used to that damned cross trainer!
‘Jump the gun’, might be another description I assign to myself at times. Why? Well it is because I am a forward thinker and a person who when has a project often sees it finished before it had begun! I often think too forward into the future as I like everything to be organised and well planned out. I like things to run smoothly as I plan them to but that is never always possible due to events and circumstances beyond my control. I get annoyed in those cases.
The problem with thinking too far ahead is that we can miss what is happening in the present. Much of my time has been spent in the garden over the last twelve months carrying out alterations and additions, removing unwanted plants like bluebells and montbretia (may need more work on these next year too) and general maintenance. E and I were talking about the garden and the wildlife we get in the relatively small area at the rear of the house, other gardens. I was talking about the method I used when deciding how to populate the flowerbeds I had been working in these past six months. I told her that I think forward to how I imagine the bed would look like in winter and how much greenery we would like to see there at that time of year. Not all the trees and plants in our garden are evergreen but I like to keep deciduous plants to a minimum so that there is always some green foliage to see during the cold moths. I have also to bear in mind how fast they will grow and to what size and all this helps in the decision-making. Anyway we got to talking about the wildlife, owls, foxes, squirrels, mice, bats and a huge variety of birds all live or spend time in the rear gardens to our property. They all have to plan ahead too don’t they? The forward planning I make has taken a different route lately, for one I am planning less because there is less to plan for though there are still some things I, we need to plan ahead for in the coming months and some of them I wished were already done and dusted. At this time of year when the weather is warm and sometimes humid I don’t feel much like doing anything but I know if at least I don’t make any plans to get things done later they may never get done. Now, at the Summer Solstice my thoughts are elsewhere for a time.
It had to happen and I was thankful it did. The weather had turned cooler and less humid than it had been for weeks. Yes it was wet and damp after the much-needed rain but by the afternoon on Friday the sun was beginning to shine through the clouds. The weekend promised to be similar though with less if any rain in our location. That would change in the week ahead according to the forecast with Monday being the wettest day. Ah but that was in the future and I had plenty of time before then to get out and about in the fresher air. I had to abandon the idea of mixing some fine concrete to do the work I described in yesterday’s post but that was alright, I wasn’t in the mood to do much work anyway except maybe to dig out weeds and generally tidy around the gardens. Many months ago, even a couple of years ago we had dug out a few overgrown shrubs but it had been difficult to dispose of the large root balls. The local council would not take such large items except for a fee but I wasn’t prepared to pay for something I was throwing away! That meant I had to keep the root balls for a while and let them dry out when it would be easier to saw them up into manageable pieces which could then be disposed of in the normal wheelie bins. I have disposed of quite a lot thus far but there still remains more to go. Yesterday I managed to saw up some more and placed it in the bins. I cannot put too much in the bins each time else the council will refuse to dispose of it. I reckon another collection or two will see the last of those roots. You have to remember that there is other green waste to dispose of on a regular basis too, grass cuttings, leaves and other plant materials. As it is at the moment we generally fill two bins for collection at two-weekly intervals. I’d had enough of the gardening and was prepared to leave it for a spell in order to give myself some breathing space. There is enough work to do in the gardens to keep me going throughout the year if I was mad enough to allow it. I took time out and went for a walk mid-afternoon and felt all the better for it.
So there I was sitting in the garden on a more chilly an afternoon than we’d had for quite some time, though a little later it all changed once more and I began to reminisce. It was Sunday, a day for resting and I know I should have been taking a walk somewhere but somehow that was very far from my mind. I was in introvert mode, didn’t want to see anyone, speak to anyone or even leave the security of my home surroundings. I was moody and full of self-pity, Sound familiar to anyone? I love people but sometimes cannot bear to be with any of them. I had taken my cup of coffee out onto the patio to sit and reflect on things. As is normal in these situations my mind wanders all over the place, dipping into and out of the past and my experiences in it. Does it not seem strange that we can only look into the past? The present doesn’t really exist for as we think about the moment it has already moved into the past. The future is a place we have yet to visit so we know nothing of it as a personal experience. Our future we hope about. Anyway I got to thinking about my childhood experiences and my parents, specifically my mother, imagining what it must have been like for her when she was younger. as children we seldom think about the childhood our parents had and especially their experiences. It is only as we grow do we begin to consider those things, the struggles they faced in their own time and after we were born. I sometimes have to shake myself from such thoughts and just remember the good times. There were far more good times than bad ones. Then this song came into my thoughts and I couldn’t stop thinking about my mom. My mom died in 1997 and I remember her liking the song too….
Well she often reminded me of the songs that were about when she was younger, the golden oldies. Songs may represent the era in which they were written but essentially they reflect life and the same old problems that each generation has. I hope you like it anyway.
It is late on Monday afternoon or early evening if you prefer, it is 5.30 on the clock anyway. I had no work today. I have just sat down with a cup of coffee after returning indoors after a short walk. Short walks mean anything less than three miles for me and they are usually around two. I returned home over an hour ago but I didn’t come inside immediately, I sat on the bench seat we had placed in the elevated position under one of the front windows. I knew it would come in handy!It wasn’t very warm but neither was it very cold and there was almost no wind so it was pleasant for sitting outside. So I sat there in contemplation, something I love doing, just sitting there and taking stock of things. My thoughts drift all over the place and one thought leads on to another. It is like an adventure, not knowing what will turn up next. I hadn’t felt particularly energetic before I took the walk, in fact the opposite was true, I wasn’t feeling up to going for a walk but I made the effort. Perhaps it is the time of year for it is hard getting motivated when the sun isn’t shining and it isn’t all that warm. I was glad I did, I felt better on my return. So I had been sitting there for about thirty minutes when a car pulled up in the street outside one of the gates. I knew immediately who it was and why they had called even before the car had stopped. It was a regular visitor on her delivery round, delivering packages and parcels in the area and she was delivering yet another package for E. It is all to do with E’s small hobby/business making greetings cards. She receives an awful lot of mail since her project took off. She wasn’t at home for she had gone out for a few hours presumably shopping. The girl didn’t see me sitting there in the twilight gloom as she approached the steps leading to the front door. Even when the floodlight switched on automatically she still hadn’t noticed me until I greeted her with a ‘Good morning’. That always brings a chuckle. I asked her to post the package as I wanted to remain seated for a little longer. She is a very amiable person and easy to talk with so that’s what we did for five minutes. Then she left and as she did another of the floodlights switched on too. It hadn’t noticed her approach but it noticed her departure as she must have walked down the steps on the closer side. I hadn’t triggered the light even though I was closer still but then I was sat motionless. She triggered the third floodlight as she walked down the path back to her car. Soon all the floodlights switched off and I was again in the darkness of twilight, my favourite time of day, evening twilight. I sat there quietly for a while longer before returning indoors and to prepare myself a coffee, the one I have been drinking while writing this.
It is November 29 as I write this on a cold but sunny day. It is now mid-afternoon and the sun is hiding behind the houses across the road, soon to disappear below the horizon. I have just finished baking another apple pie. If you will remember I wanted to use a roll of the ready-made pastry that E had purchased some time ago to make the pie rather than make it myself from scratch as I had done yesterday. I had to wait a day for the pastry to defrost.
It begins to get dark around here not long after four o’clock at this time of year but in about three week’s time the daylight hours begin to increase once more. It will be the Winter Solstice and the sun will begin its northward journey as we push on toward Spring.
I am not sure why the Solstice is called the Winter Solstice seeing as it marks the beginning of the season. In these last few weeks of Autumn the weather has become noticeably colder and we’ve already had a couple of days of deep frosts, for most of the country anyway. As I live on the western coast it tends not to get quite as cold as it does inland, a good thing for the plants in my garden, that is the ones which normally grow in warmer climes. We have a few growing in the less exposed part of the garden where it tends to be slightly warmer out of the wind. Even so, some of those plants can tolerate temperatures down to -8 deg C. I wouldn’t survive long in those temperatures unless well-wrapped up. When I went to work this morning everywhere was covered in frost except where the sun shone and it was around 1 deg C. An hour ago it had reached 3 or 4 deg C, the maximum for the day though the frost remained on the lawn where the sun wasn’t shining upon it. Most of the lawn is in the shadow of the house at this time of year and never sees the sun at all. It will be April before all of the lawn is in sunshine at some point in the day, though not all at the same time. I have just been watching someone installing a floodlight above the front door of a neighbour’s house across the way and wondering why my neighbour hadn’t asked me to do it. I am not sure he actually knows that I am an electrician as we seldom speak. He is an elderly gentleman in his mid to late eighties who now lives alone since his wife died many years ago, probably approaching or around twenty years ago as I remember. He employs many guys on a regular basis who look after the maintenance of his house, one is an electrician who specializes in fire protection. It will be he who was installing the light. I didn’t pay too much attention. At the second of the two jobs I did earlier the lady watched my every move and sometimes I find that a little unnerving. She was pleasant enough and was simply interested in what was involved. I try not to interfere when someone is doing a job for me but if I do watch I do it discretely. It is beginning to get dark now as I finish writing these thoughts down….four o’clock….. right on time!