Monday, 20 October 2008

One of those just right days.

Saturday was one of those days when everything goes right (and after the previous week or so I felt we deserved one). The light is golden here when the sun shines at the moment and on Saturday morning the sky above the ridge on the other side of the valley was flecked with pink and gold cloud long after the sun rose and the light pouring into the bedroom window as I lay in bed was liquid gold.

A leisurely breakfast, both of us home at last, and a wander round outside to start the day. The builder has been working steadily on our outside utility. An ancient yew tree had been growing into the corner of the building and gradually pushing it over but the stonemason has rebuilt the corner about two hundred years further away from the tree. Unless you take down the tree or demolish the building the contest between the two will happen again but we don't want to do either. Two hundred years will see us out, a phrase my grandma used to use about her winter coat for the last twenty years of her life. I don't think she expected to live to ninety three. There is still a lot to do but, walking around outside, the building sits comfortably alongside the cottage now. The stone work is crisp instead of ramshackle and an asbestos roof has been replaced with reclaimed slate. It will be great.

We went into the village for a paper and a trip to our butcher's. This always needs a good half hour as no one ever rushes in Mr Morgan's. We discuss the weather and the sunrise and he asks after the progress of my Welsh (araf:slow). Talking with Mr Morgan always makes me feel that the world is a better place. If as you age you earn your face, his is the face of a man with a lifetime of kindly courtesy behind him. It saddens me to see how many of his customers are elderly, although some of the younger people in the village do shop there. I have slipped into buying occasional meat in the supermarket, the meat is not as good as his and it is not as good for the village either. The place would be so much poorer without his shop in so many ways. Next week I will take him a big order for my freezer.

We come home via the garden centre and a gentle detour down some tiny back lanes. It amazes me that we have lived here for three years and yet we can still find lanes only a mile or so from home which we have never seen before, a hidden countryside, lush and tree filled, lower than our site on the hill.

The afternoon is spent in the garden, planting numbers of daffodils to supplement the existing Tenby daffodils around the fruit trees. I planted two hundred and fifty last year and this spring they were pretty but unexciting, dribbles not drifts, so I have ordered another five hundred. I wonder how long it will take me to get used to the scale of gardening an acre field and more after so many years in city gardens.

We take out the courgette plants, crisped by the cold nights of this last week. We have been eating compulsory courgettes for months. I like them but I am glad now to move on to leeks and celeriac. The brassicas come up too and are dumped on the compost heap, all my kale and broccoli turned skeletal by the depredations of thousands of cabbage white caterpillars. For weeks I mounted a caterpillar patrol, picking them off morning and evening, but it would need a mounted twenty four hour guard. Next year I shall net them.

And the evening was a meal of Mr Morgan's meat and our own vegetables, a log fire in the woodburner and a bottle of champagne for no reason other than itself. A calm day, a companionable gently busy day, a sunlit day to store up against the winter.

22 comments:

  1. That sounds like an absolutely lovely day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You had a lovely day. That's how some of them go, really well.
    You sound a lovely calm type of person and your blog sort of oozes calmness and tranquility.
    I am off to bed now!

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a lovely day Elizabeth - one might even say a Country Living day...!!! ;-) (Don't worry, I love it too - am even a subscriber.)

    ReplyDelete
  4. You deserved that day - and the champagne - think of it as an award for your headless chicken days on the commuter trail!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Elizabeth your blog is as tranquil as ever and you are so right about the meat, I urge everyone if they can buy local from farmers or butchers, but be sure to ask the butcher's where it comes from. Years ago a friend lived in an Oxfordshire village and when she asked about the beef in her local shop she was told it came from Sotland which meant primal cuts (best cuts) in vac pacs, despite the signs saying local meat. Luckily she found a farm shop with genuine local meat to take her business to.
    I do wish things were more tranquil here, but one day they will have to be when our bones creak too much. However methinks it is too soon to put anything on ice just yet.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm so glad the building and the yew tree will be easier companions once more, or for the next 200 hundred years at least. What a wonderful saying - I want to incorporate it!
    A mellow autumn day - nothing more perfect. I'll toast you in a glass of the amber liquid - apple juice!

    ReplyDelete
  7. A golden day indeed.
    I love the description of the wall being 'two hundred years away', very evocative!

    ReplyDelete
  8. And what a blissful sounding day!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your golden day was well deserved, Elizabeth, you put in so much hard work (how will you find time to run as well?!). Here's to more golden days and the next Operation Aberystwyth.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Champagne just for itself - golden bubbles for your golden day, sounds gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ooh I feel all calm now! You know next year you could always make a soup base with the Courgettes and freeze it, instead of having to eat it all at once. It's lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love reading your blog and picturing it all in my minds eye too. I thought of your Cavolo Nero when I was at Harlow Carr - they had made cloche/cold frames like the Geoff Hamilton ones Toby made on GW last Friday, but of willow withies (Some were sprouting tiny green leaves), with a fine white netting over. They were so beautiful. And the cavolo nero inside was untouched and very photogenic!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Just lovely Elizabeth. Have just read Cait's blog and now yours and feel calm and restored so thank you both. Good luck with the bulb planting. That is quite a large number! We are giving our freezer order next week too - whenever I buy supermarket meat it is not only not as good in quality, but far more expensive to boot. Often have champagne (well, Cava) here for no reason other than it feels good to have! xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. A lovely golden autumn day - enjoyed the rainbow photo too.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds blissful, Elizabeth. I think we'd all like to come and join you, but then what would you do for tranquility?

    ReplyDelete
  16. How good it is to be alive on a mountainside on a golden day in autumn. I hope there are many more for you like that.

    ReplyDelete
  17. your life always sounds so pleasant. i love the idea of champagne for no reason.

    ReplyDelete
  18. That sounds my sort of day. We are fortunate in having a village shop which is now run as a co-operative, but alas, local meat is something they don't sell. We have some local farm shops though, and our lamb comes from a neighbour (is hogget in fact, and tastes FAB). In St Clears we have a wonderful butcher - world class - and his venison comes from the Balmoral Estate. That is a special treat, for birthdays and Christmases, but it tastes so much the better for being an indulgence and absolutely melts in your mouth . . . Gosh, I've made myself hungry now!

    ReplyDelete
  19. A great read - I'm very envious!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Sounds like my ideal kind of day, Elizabeth - indeed how could it be otherwise after waking up to liquid gold? Love the idea of people 'earning' their face as they age - I know exactly what you mean.

    Excellent blog, as ever.

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a lovely gentle blog, Elizabeth!
    Mr Morgan reminds me of the butcher we had in Great Waltham in Essex where we bought our first house - but that was in the seventies and the shop must be long gone. We buy meat from the supermarket or farm shop here, though there is a butcher in town. Wonderful idea about opening champagne for no reason. I would never dare to do that. But still the day you had maybe deserved to be celebrated.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are the best thing and the conversations they produce are the whole purpose of blogging for me. Do tell me what you think!