A lovely week full of visitors, first from family, then from a gardening friend who has moved from a virtual to a real friend but whom I would never have met without blogging. We share a passion for gardening and it was great to wander around and have my ideas both understood and challenged and to hear a new perspective on my field and my trees. It has made me look at my garden again, appreciate the progress I have made and decide what to do next. The wildflowers under the orchard trees need more time, thought and attention. Zoe suggested planting rattle which weakens the grass. I have been meaning to look into this for ages but will actually do it now! She also had a wonderful idea for making a window onto another view, not the compelling view from the house across the valley of the ridge and the bronze and iron age hillforts, but the view down the fields towards the hidden river, where the wild cherry trees shine with white blossom in the spring. Genius.
We spent a day at an extraordinary small church, a place of pilgrimage, a place where the air between worlds is thin. I can't decide how much to share of this so I am thinking about it some more.
And then a visit from a Canadian writer who sets her thrillers in our part of North Wales and was visiting as she does quite frequently for some research. Again we would not have met were it not for Twitter. I set out to pick her up from the train wondering if we would recognise each other (slightly easier for me than for her as she at least has a picture on Twitter while my avatar tends to be whatever flower I am liking at the moment! In order to be recognisable I would have needed to cover my head with echinacea). I needn't have worried. Everyone else was carting huge wheeled cases onto the train, returning from holiday, while she was travelling light. As I showed her round she pointed out to me that so much that I take for granted is exotic and unusual for the majority of people who live their lives in cities. I never take living here for granted, in that I am aware of how lucky I am, but I do tend to forget how different some of our life is.
And more visitors today in the cottage, family ones this time. I love having people coming through and like cooking for them and talking and sharing things but this morning I was struck by an overwhelming need for a bit of time to myself. I took myself off to the greenhouse with a cup of tea and the newspaper and soaked up the silence which was not silence: the distant noise of a tractor working across the valley, the sound of insects buzzing in the marjoram, high above a couple of crows shouting at a buzzard as they chased him across the sky. Later I took the heads off my dried lavender, a slow rhythmical job rather like a slower version of topping and tailing gooseberries. Ian worked away preparing the onions for storage. The mixture of a bit of time to myself and then a mindless task in the sunny greenhouse with quiet good company smoothed me out again. I could feel my fur lying the right way again, like a cat being stroked.
Mindless, soothing activity.
Works for me every time.
What works for you?