Thursday, 16 February 2023

In praise of big trees

Photos from a glorious afternoon dog walk with the middle boy on his birthday the other day. 17 no less. He keeps muttering things about motorbikes. I pretend I haven't heard.

We were driving home the other day and we spotted a car that someone had driven actually into the front door of a house on a neighbouring road. The house was on the corner so I'm guessing someone went around it a little too fast. Very annoying for the homeowner who had no use of their front door for several days until it was removed. When we got home we found a brown envelope on the mat containing the middle boy's provisional driving licence.

Locally, it seems to be all about trees and hacking things back at the moment. A large number of mature trees have been removed, many of them ash trees with ash die-back I think. A few saplings have been planted to replace them. Fair enough. But the local authority is absolutely obsessed with cutting back hedgerows to almost nothing which is a bit rubbish. I just wrote, 'I am in a permanent fury' and then deleted it. Wouldn't want you to think I am all cross all of the time, but it does REALLY bother me.

Out of the window I can see a wonderful tree. Pictures below.

I always look at it when I get up to stretch and procrastinate. It's lovely and so many different species of birds use it, including for roosting at night and for nesting. There was another one, but it has been removed. I live in fear of this one going as well. But for now it is there, in all its glory. It amazes me how much habitat a single tree provides. It only takes up a few square feet on the ground, but in the air, a whole world of wildlife. Absolutely wonderful. 

Over the past two or three days the frogs have started getting out and about again. The littlest boy and I saw three on the evening dog walk alone today. Sadly, they are struggling to find garden ponds these days. I think about putting one in the front garden sometimes, but then I would worry about the traffic if it attracted frogs. 

I dragged the dog (literally) to the vet the other day. Have you ever wondered why the floor at the vet's is so shiny? It's all the cockapoos being slid along the lino. He didn't seem quite himself and the vets do love to get stuck into tests and things. He was squeezed and prodded and as usual refused to show anyone his gums. I provided a (very small) urine sample which they said they would send off for analysis.

After I chased them up a few days later, they rang me back with a conversation that started with, 'Unfortunately, ...' My heart actually skipped a beat. In fact, the unfortunate thing was that they had failed to send off the urine sample which was now no longer fresh and they wanted another one. It was quite a good tactic because after the initial shock of thinking that he had been diagnosed with something dreadful I was happy as a clam that it was just an administrative snafu. So we went back out on the streets with our pot. It didn't go quite as well the second time to be honest. I didn't really want to go down to the bus stop and have an audience of 15, so we went somewhere else, and the dog wasn't keen about the pot and then there was some leakage in the bag and all in all it was a bit disappointing. Anyway, all seems well and I was promised some sort of small refund because of the failure, which was a surprise.

The two younger urchins had another ski lesson the other day. The middle boy slalomed past some little people at an odd angle so as not to canon into them and ended up hurtling into the netting at the end of the ski run, handily placed to stop skiers from hurtling off the end and into the car park 30 feet below. Both of his skis shot through the netting and he was briefly wedged, which the littlest boy quite enjoyed. At some stage I shall have to buy them all of the things on the list of clothing. I hadn't quite appreciated how much is involved in skiing when I blithely signed the initial form. 

All good at your end? CJ xx

Saturday, 21 January 2023

All the things I'm going to do the week after next

How are we enjoying the fresh January energy? I always love this time of year with its lovely cosy winter days, long dark evenings and fabulous skies. I love the excitement of a new year and I am still ever-optimistic this will be the year that I will get ALL of the things done. 

I've realised that I always genuinely believe that just as soon as I get this particular pile of work done, I will have time to make a start on everything that I want to accomplish. Somehow, I imagine that if I can just get on top of stuff, just clear this work away, then I will be in charge and free to achieve absolutely everything.

I know this about myself, and yet I still believe it somehow. I actually will have more time the week after next, I just know it. I can't fault myself for optimism.

The upshot of this is that I don't really have any news, except that I have my nose to the grindstone. It's good to have lots of work of course and I am very glad of it. And very much looking forward to the week after next. Or maybe the one after that.

I have returned the eldest to university. The most interesting change I noticed was that he now enjoys country music. The littlest boy found a secondhand guitar in a local charity shop, so we bought that for him and he is happy as a clam. I told him that we should go to Nashville. I have always fancied a trip to Nashville. I don't know the first thing about it really, except that there will be guitars and cowboy boots and I imagine loads of creative energy. And I believe it is really expensive. 

The books are from the local community bookshop. I popped in and it started raining. As time went by, the deluge got worse and worse and so I was forced to stay where I was and buy books. It was dreadful. I've read Sharp Objects before and really enjoyed it. The others are new to me. It's a brilliant shop, and very cheap. Just 50p a book, with all proceeds going to the local community. I've taken quite a lot in over the years as well. It's good to have a nice secondhand book shop as so many are closing. The big Book Barn I used to go, with over a million books, closed down a while ago. 

I think I shall start with Lessons in Chemistry, which I've heard quite a bit about. I think I shall be able to start it the week after next.

Do let me know your news. And I shall try very hard to do something newsworthy to report back next time. Although most of the things on the calendar are appointments such as 'optician', 'dentist' and 'vet', so I can't exactly pinpoint where the excitement will come from.