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.