Home again and what a fabulous morning. So much to do outside and the whole valley lying lazy in the sun.
The strange selection of pictures is firstly our mushrooms, grown in a box on the pantry floor and looking, I hope you agree, very convincingly like mushrooms. In the background is the distressingly awful kitchen made bearable by the bottle of wine and the kettle.
The swallows are swooping and diving this morning, busily repairing the nest in the big pigsty. They fly in through the little window above the door and are coming so fast it amazes me that they don't fly straight into the wall on the other side. I sat on the seat outside the pigsty for my coffee break when I was working this morning inspecting the non-existent carrots (too dry for germination I think) and they came whizzing in above my head. I had hoped to get a picture of one sitting on the pigsty roof but numerous attempts have failed so I hope from the second picture you can see where they go in and get the general idea.
They are such beautiful birds that it is easy to forgive the mess under the nest and we simply cover the various bits of not in use garden stuff with an old tarpaulin and let them cover it pleasingly with poo. I have seen swallows on and off in the kitchen garden for about two weeks but when we came home last night there was one sitting on the roof of the pigsty. It sat and sat and another one came and joined it and they had the look of journey's end about them. "You know when you have been on a really long walk and you end up at the bothy you are going to stay in?" Ian said. "They look just like that, when you take your rucksack off and just sit outside and do nothing for a bit."
Last year they raised three broods in the pigsty and every evening they would wheel and dip and skim, sometimes clearly catching small insects on the wing, others apparently flying for the pleasure of it, demonstration flying, showing off flying, flying because they can. I love them.
The last picture is the view from the new hawthorn hedge at the edge of the kitchen garden up the valley towards the ridge. I am always trying to get a picture of this view and always failing. The scale of a single photograph is all wrong and nothing captures the pattern of fields and woods, the white shapes of sheep on the other side of the valley, the four or five farmhouses far away, the trees along the stream in the far bottom and the sweep away up to the ridge, the hills rising towards Moel Arthur. On one visit my son-in-law spent hours with his camera and if you look at his twenty or thirty photos you begin to have the sense but a single one simply won't do it.
This afternoon is a gardening afternoon. I have a whole heap of people I should call and things I should do. I didn't go for the scan this week. Let it wait for me. I will go next Wednesday. But after two days of working myself silly in London it is the reminder I need that what will make me happy today is to work quietly weeding and planting with the sun on my back. So I will.
Carpe diem: seize the day.