This blog is a place for showing what the garden gets up to, the chickens who live in it, and random thoughts, usually triggered by chickens or plants.
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There is a Christmas Market on Cathedral green. The grass is flattened by rustic buildings and baby Jesus has his own, fresh from B&Q, right at the front. This is all a call to spend money, but first I have to take a closer look at that baby.
It is good that megabytes don’t weigh much. If they did, my phone would be too heavy to carry, because it is stuffed with moments. The best ones prove something or remind you of a lesson learnt. Like these thistles.
Everything was nearly ready, the barn was full of stuff that people might need, like forks and washing up liquid. Backstage we made a store room for tea towels, pillows and other things that are hard to sort into tidy piles, and attractive to sleepy cats. Time now for more hurdles and hard lessons.
The chickens watch from the gate. They like the busyness as we rush in an out of that barn to polish taps, angle lights, and wrestle with curtains. It is fun, except when you get tripped up by a chicken, or until you go to IKEA to seek out fine, soft, crisp, bedding with tasteful cushions. IKEA is just a place for getting lost, feeling inadequate and making argumentative decisions about cheese graters.
There are flags all over the village but this is the biggest one. When it flaps backwards, the letters spell NOITANOROC. A confusing word for a strange day. Watch it on TV? Go eat soggy cakes in the rain outside the village hall? Swear allegiance? Announce that he is ‘Not Mine’ or something else? What to do?
Continue reading “Do I Need a New King?”
If you have friends who buy lottery tickets, you can suggest that they share any big win with you. I have and they seemed to agree, and even smiled when I told them what I will do with my half. Until that happens, the barn has a mortgage, so we are entering the murky waters of Airbnb. There is a lot to do.
We got to the best part. Sunshine pouring in through new windows, flooring going down, shelves going up, fresh paint licking corners and the excitement of ‘carpet day’ on the horizon. Even the sliding door, that kept getting stuck, started working. I was gloating over that door, thinking how silly I was to worry about it, all winter, when Building Control turned up. Then things went wrong.
I lost a friend. She wasn’t well, so I was vaguely thinking about visiting, and then, suddenly it was all over in that bleak, unfair way that makes no sense, and generates questions.
The stairs arrived, and triggered a heated debate about colour.
When a list of things to do gets complicated, brains come up with startling thoughts. Especially in the middle of the night when you are not looking. ‘Who is going to do all this stuff? Forget character and history, we should have knocked it down, put up a kit house instead. What is a kit house?’
The barn was empty. All we had to do was pop in a few facilities and add a lick of paint. The advisor said, ‘you can turn this around in three months.’ It took three months to knock down 2 walls, dig 6 holes, and learn 9 lessons.
The golden rule of converting a barn is ‘Start with an empty space,’ and the rule of shared living is ‘Anybody can leave stuff anywhere, and nobody knows who did it.’ For decades people squirreled things in there, before going off to new homes and travels, or back to their room to enjoy the extra space they made. It was like a department store, full of things that nobody wants.
So there was the barn, new roof, dry walls, and occasional people living in the temporary camp/flat upstairs. This was so illegal you could either stay awake worrying about insurance, and planning regulations, or do mindfulness.
Autumn beauty here, but winter is coming and the house is full. Seven people, cats, chickens, visitors, the occasional rat, and a roof full of birds. Crows guard chimneys, swallows nest under gutters, and starlings sneak around inside the roof. Everybody needs a space to live, the humans and chickens pay to keep it all going. It was kind of working, until last winter, when we got a leak.
We had a family wedding. Not too large, because we all know the old saying ‘The bigger the wedding, the shorter the marriage.’ It was just the right size, with all the ingredients to set the couple up for life. This is their recipe for a good wedding and, next time I get married I will probably follow it.
The blackberries and sloes are early this year. You can almost hear them chanting: ‘Here we are. That’s it. No more summer, any more.’ How did it go so fast? What even happened? Tip. If you can’t remember how you spent your time, look at your phone, and piece it together with whatever photos are there.
The lawn is crispy dry and the watering can has has cracked up in the heat. We tried to make a swimming pool out of a plastic bath, but sitting in a warm slimy water is not as refreshing as you might think.
Sunny days, sweet peas, borage, and nothing to complain about. Except, this week one of us lost a bike. Stolen from a city centre bike rack in broad daylight. It was only a bike, nobody died, and maybe the thief really needed it, but it is unsettling when a stranger takes a much loved thing. It makes you review security.
Twas the night before Glastonbury, and all through the house… people are gone. The cat lies mournfully with an entire bedroom to herself and my phone is alive with stressed messages from family, friends and colleagues. They are all preparing to dance in the fields of excess, with crowds, heatstroke, mud fever, cocktails, and far too much fun. It’s quiet and sensible here. What to do with all that ‘not going to Glastonbury’ free time? Step out and admire the flowers? No, better than that. Let’s clean the cupboard under the sink.
Sitting out in the sun and ‘Doing Nothing’ is a bit like yoga, filing a tax return, or defrosting a freezer, because you have to commit time, and stick at it. Don’t bring your list of things to do, because you might forget you are forcing yourself to do nothing and start doing the things. Slow down, maybe read a bit, watch clouds and notice whatever is around. Here it might be swallows skimming the sky for flies, the cat stalking a moth, or the chickens chasing a butterfly. Those chickens. What do they actually do all day?