On a cool bright day, a hiatus between the low pressures sweeping in from the Atlantic, R and I have been in the garden - cutting back catmint, clearing debris, removing self seeded forget-me-nots and enjoying the weak December sun.
We walked to town in the morning for a coffee and I took this picture from the road below the house. You can see my understuff on the washing line. You can see our Notable Tree - the big sycamore which hides the house in the summer - and the woodland beyond which protects us from the westerlies.
After we stopped gardening we walked the garden as we often do and in the boughs of a small prunus - that has purple foliage - we discovered a nest. Everyone had walked past this without seeing it. The construction is of grasses and moss, then lined with sheep wool and incredibly soft.
All around the garden there were stirrings of a New Year - buds greening on the flowering currant, snowdrops showing the first signs of white petals, daffodils pushing out of the soil and grass.
When we reached the lower garden by the Wendy House (writing shed) we sat on the bench and looked back up the walkway over the boggy ground. It was clear that there is still a lot of work yet to do.
Moving on - we had another tragedy - a dead goldfinch. I suppose with all the Nyger seed feeders it was an accident that was going to happen sooner or later. The colours in the plumage are fantastic - perhaps only surpassed in Britain by those small blue and white jay feathers. One can understand, if not approve of, people keeping these birds in a cage as an adornment for the house.
Now, on Christmas Day I went next door with their card and on the way cleared out the drain in the field. The water comes out of the ground in the bottom right of the photo and runs into the top of our garden. A previous farmer drained the field and just let the run off go through our fence. To stop the upper garden becoming a quagmire I dug a small channel and this takes the water down to our stream (which is also a product of clumsy drainage in the field).
And finally - last blog I gave a list of books - to which readers have added their favourites.
This December I was presented by my friend Neil Curry with his translations of a selection of the work of Jules Supervielle - The Fable of the World (Shoestring Press). This is an interesting take on the Creation and well worth a read. You do not have to be a religious person to enjoy it - though God does pop up a lot. (That conjures up an intriguing image - God popping up.)
And so to the approaching year of 2014. The first stirrings of ideas are beginning to emerge. I have already been berated by R for making ANOTHER flowerbed.
Mind you, if you do not have flowerbeds then you tend to grow weeds.
Mind you, if you do you tend to grow weeds!
The difference is that, where there are beds there is weeding.
And then to the discoveries, bird nests, new shoots, four seeding buddleias by the corner of the house, a seedling hypericum, the gooseberry cuttings I thought were dead are not, the pink top of a rhubarb plant is poking through the manure, that we do not need a big pond - small dams in the stream will provide stagnant water for the frogs, toads and newts.
There is barely a breath of wind in the garden this sunset. I cannot hear the distant drone of traffic on the A590. This year is going out with optimism in view - which for miserable old me is a big surprise - more exercise, more diet, more hope and for my reader, more blog.
Have a wonderful 2014.