Sadly, today was a ‘no gardening’ day due to inside DIY & ‘sorting out’. Progress is good upstairs…Aideen said to me before the Zoom talk last Thursday that I will soon have to change the section in the talk on our bedroom…“the plaster is still bare and the windows unfinished in our bedroom”…
Well, the plaster is still unpainted and the windows are still not boxed in, but I not only have a magnificent set of bookshelves built around the head of the bed, we now have an amazing fitted wardrobe built into the corner of the room at a right angle. It is not ready for clothes yet but when it is finished the effect on the room will be transformative and then hopefully windows will be enclosed and plaster painted!
However, today, my job was to prepare the living room for the next stage of DIY. When we adopted St Mary’s pipe organ (it was removed from the church to create extra space and it was in danger of being scrapped) circa. 2011 and rebuilt it in the house, it came with various bits of decorative panelling and old pieces of wood that were involved in it’s original casing in the church. These interesting pieces have been awaiting a solution from Patrick to become part of our living room. The organ console is in the living room and the pipes are housed in an adjoining narrow room. You can hear the organ by opening the door!
Therefore, in order for Patrick to work out the best way to utilise these various wooden bits and pieces, I had to move furniture and relocate the contents of drawers and cupboards…a lengthy job.
It also involved a trip to the basement with Patrick to search out any stored large pieces of wood from the organ that will be incorporated into his final creation. I’m sure it will be very beautiful when he has finished but it will take a lot of working out. Due to this, I have still not finished my seed order!
Mystical bees and entrepreneurial daughters
Early this morning, whilst looking at a book on Victorian Kitchens, ‘Life in the Victorian Kitchen’, by Karen Foy, I read a short section on bee keeping. In the past, bees were attributed with almost mystical powers and people would tell their bees about important events in their lives, such as births, deaths and marriages. The timings of swarms or the presence of a bee in the house all had their own meaning. I had been unaware of this part of the history of bee keeping until this morning, however, I do have a tendency to gravitate towards the bee enclosure in the corner of the orchard. This is partly due to the bees, which in the warmer months are quite mesmerising to watch, but it is also due to the viewing platform. At the start of the pandemic, in the first lockdown, I would visit the viewing platform practically every day. It is the highest point in the garden and you can see quite a long way, over the kitchen garden and across the fields. During these months, particularly at the start of the pandemic, I had very rarely left the house, and the viewing platform gave me an opportunity to look out over the garden walls at the world beyond Church Gardens. Recently, I’ve not visited this vantage point very much because the wet weather makes the path of sawn logs slippery, and I am well aware of my track record of falling over! However, in the last few days I have very carefully climbed up to check on the bit of ‘outside world’ I can see and it is comforting.
There is a regular short feature on radio 4 in the morning about what different listeners do to make themselves feel better in these stressful times and today, there was a lady ‘bookaholic’…I could relate to everything she said, including the pleasure of arranging her books. One of the great pleasures of Patrick’s DIY exploits has been having more shelves and soon, good sized wardrobes. This has led to a frenzy of ‘sorting out’ and organising from everyone which is very therapeutic and it does distract you from depressing news reports.
The girls are arranging clothes, shoes, makeup and nail varnish, and I am organising books and soon, Patrick and I will be able to sort out our clothes. We might not be quite in the league of Marie Kondo’s, ‘Spark Joy’, a detailed illustrated guide to decluttering your home, (which unbelievably, considering my household muddle, I have read!), but it is undeniably exhilarating to finally get one’s possession into some type of order. Maybe one of the few positives of lockdown is having the time to do the many things that would normally have to be left ignored.
Aideen received her first order of her pressed flower art last night and by the end of today she had another two. These are now available on our website in our 'shop' and on Etsy. This might be a small beginning but I am very proud of her entrepreneurial spirit. This has not been a good time to graduate from a conservatoire, having studied classical harp and I admire her resilience. At lunch time, I make a massive bowl of salad with my garlic/honey dressing, I feel very conscious of trying to keep the family healthy at the moment and later I make soup with leeks, butternut squash, potato, onion and garlic. Tonight’s dinner will be fish pie with broccoli and cauliflower cheese.
I finally finish the seed order this afternoon, first going through all of the existing flower seed packets. I then order another 50 packets of flower seeds to add to the existing collection …is this a lot? I chose lots of interesting new varieties of existing favourites and some completely new plants that I’ve never grown before. Aideen is very interested in the order as well, as I need to plant enough flowers to provide a beautiful display in the garden and give her a plentiful supply of material for her pictures!