Life seems to have been particularly busy in the last ten days or so since my last trip to London. There I got a dental check-up (my teeth are fine), visited the Rodin and the Art of Ancient Greece Exhibition (fascinating and beautifully laid out) and took Middle and Eldest Son to dinner and The Lantern Society, my favourite Folk Club (what a treat to catch up with them both!)
The weather has been highly conducive to gardening. We have had long periods of sun, but reasonable temperatures, and just enough rain. As a result, many days have been dominated by clearing weeds, planting out seedlings, localised manual watering and working out how to keep the destructive birds, mammals, molluscs and insects at bay. Almost everything that needs protection now has some form fencing, netting or other damage prevention measure in place. I will now sit back, wait and watch the ways the animals will thwart me anyway.
In my last post, I compared the post-modernist house of Erno Goldfinger to a previous house of ours. My last visit to London and overnight stay in the Barbican reminded me, too, that the post-modernist gardens there are now being echoed by Long-Suffering Wife’s (LSW’s) planting of our new walled garden. Our final load of gravel and the water feature have now arrived and so our new garden just lacks maturity, but there are already some similarities with the Barbican gardens (although the scale there is massive compared to that of our ex-car parking area). It has certainly been pleasant sitting in the new garden in the sun with a glass of wine after sweating over weeds, seedlings, bean poles and netting.
LSW and I have also been enjoying the annual Nailsworth Festival and, especially, two walks arranged under the auspices of the festival. The first was a history walk in the vicinity of our house. It added to our knowledge of the footpaths, industry and religious history of the area – particularly the historic presence of the Quakers and Baptists in what was once one of the largest non-conformist settlements in the country.
The second was a 12 mile walk billed as being a walk from Nailsworth to ‘the sea’. In fact, ‘the sea’ was the tidal estuary of the River Severn at a point where a number of sea going ships were beached to bolster the coastline alongside the canal along which we had walked. The so-called Purton Hulks, were an interesting climax to a full day of walking up and down the Cotswold escarpment and across the Severn valley in perfect walking weather. LSW and I certainly pushed up our daily step count averages that day!
We also had a good day out walking in New Quay and Aberaeron in West Wales. We were staying with friends who have a second home there in what seems to be a lively and familiar community of second-homers based in London, Birmingham and South Wales. The health benefits of all the recent walking were offset by rather too much tasty food and drink in New Quay. On the route back from Wales, these indulgences continued as we stopped off at a family party celebrating a brief visit of one of LSW’s first cousins (once removed) from Singapore; lovely!
The food, drink and merriment isn’t going to stop this week with more of the World Cup to watch and celebrate (I hope), and the marking of LSW’s birthday with dinner in London on the way to a weekend in Paris.
So: busy and full days, full weeks and, as I near 12 months of retirement, I will shortly look back on a full year.