Monday, December 26, 2011

A mild Christmas, a welcome change

Friday, with the temperature about 5C, and strong sou'westerly blowing, I cycled to work, thinking all the while that I was mad for doing so, with a weather forecast for rain, mainly heavy, in the afternoon. Unlike last year, there wasn't the need to wear anything over my spandex shorts for warmth, so that would be enough to mitigate the worst of cycling in the rain. As it turned out, when I set off home a while after 2, it was starting to sprinkle with rain; eventually getting heavy enough to want a waterproof, but not really uncomfortable at all.

Saturday, a muntjac wandered into the garden, and ate some of the remaining windfall apples, the ones too small or damaged to have harvested. The cats were not amused by this thing invading their territory, and kept a wary eye on it from a distance, and well away as it wandered off again. At least it was too big to fit through the cat-flap, unlike pigeons or the various rodents whose entrails at times have decorated the kitchen floor; more like the pheasant that was left on the doorstep, with just a clear cat-inflicted bare patch on its neck a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday began with the exchange of presents -- where I got Vinge's latest, novel, The Children of the Sky, the long awaited sequel to 1993 Hugo winner, A Fire Upon the Deep; and Tim Worstall's book of essays on economy and the environment Chasing Rainbows, which metaphorically in text is like suikawari without the blindfold; and then lunch.

Having not thought to book until 5 weeks ago, we had a simple enough choice of places where there were still slots to be had -- lunch at the Carpenters Arms.

This was a leisurely affair, 12:30 for 1, canap├ęs, starters, then buffet style mains, where I was unable to take up the offer of a third helping, before the cheese board, a little Xmas pudding, and coffee with petites-fours; and so home in gentle fashion by not too long after 5pm.

So today could be pure R&R, with just a little bit of pottering in the garden for some fresh air -- clearing the tomato plants out of the greenhouse, hoovering the lawn (to get rid of fallen leaves), trimming where it had straggled over the borders, and clearing the few places where plants had stopped for the winter and obligingly dried up (the marigolds are still in flower, as are the antirrhinums; not just the viburnum which I'd expect to be flowering now); leaving a little space in the green bin for more gardening later in the week.

Some of the sunflower heads that haven't already been stripped of seeds, I hung up for the birds; and the last handful of rosebuds are in a vase by the fireplace. And so the garden remains in a late-autumn limbo, until I really can't postpone pruning the roses and apple trees any more.

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