I will have to be very careful what I say in this blog because as Aideen types it out for me, she will edit any excesses on my part! This morning whilst I am cleaning out the chicken house and with an egg in one hand, Aideen came rushing out to find me. In floods of tears, she informs me that she has just received the mark for her final recital – a 1st! I smother her with kisses and cuddles, nearly squashing the chicken egg! Aideen cannot stop crying for at least an hour, I think it is relief, she had never dared to hope that she would achieve this level. I cannot think of anyone who deserves it more, I have never known anyone work so hard and the past few months of Covid related complications had added massively to her stress levels. Now I just need to persuade her to allow us to upload the video of her performance to the website so that an audience can finally hear her recital, which was prevented by the surreal restrictions placed on everyone by this horrible virus! This might take some time as she is very modest!
Aideen, Meave and myself sit around for some time in a bit of a daze, shedding tears of relief and happiness, and eating chocolate. After lunch, Aideen returns to her harp…yes, unbelievably she is still practising some particularly horrendous Wagner extracts for a harp class next week. I go outside, trying to persuade a not very enthusiastic Meave to cut back the multitude of Valerian. I carry on tidying up the ‘cottage garden’ style beds outside the back of the house. These beds have been left to their own devices this year and are rather overgrown. Only Bella (the dog) can squeeze through the stepping stone pathway that runs through the middle! Drastic pruning, tying back and weeding is required. Lavatera, sage and verbena have become rather overblown and floppy. I had already started on this job prior to Lisa’s visit but it was a lot more of an appealing prospect on a dry day like today, I made good progress and it looked much better…I could even fit down the path.
I planted out 12 trictyrtis lillies in the newly opened up space which will hopefully flower. I am then called away for a family meeting at the bottom of the orchard about bricks…do other families having meetings about bricks? Patrick has uncovered the pallets of bricks that were already there before the most recent 19 pallets of bricks were brought in! He is looking at them puzzled, lifting them up and measuring them against each other. There are several different types of brick here of different sizes including those salvaged from the walls, newly bought reclaimed bricks and new hand-made bricks. He does not really know how many of each is there, they are all needed for different parts of these two sections of wall. The ‘joy’ of such ancient walls is they have already had a long history of repairs and alterations and now are a patchwork of different brick sizes! Patrick has just ordered another 2000 bricks for the top ‘coping’ of the wall and now he is worried that this might be unnecessary because we might already have enough bricks of this type! We spend more than an hour counting bricks and assessing how many courses of bricks will need to be re-built until Patrick feels reassured.
After a well-earned cup of tea, I return to the garden and try to weed and cut back the two beds that are overrun with Valerian, beside the fountain. This is quite hard work and I’m not sorry to finish, hopefully tomorrow I can plant out some more plants in the areas that I have cleared – I am nearly finished with my planting marathon! Then it is just weeding to worry about!