My pond frog has found his night-voice. All last night he croaked and creaked, announcing his frog-presence to the sleeping world. This morning the arrival of the rubbish truck out in the road got him really excited. Creak went the wheelie-bins, croak went the frog, louder than ever. Darling! I'm over here!
Thursday 11th December
First thing this morning I managed to sneak up on him, poor thing. He's partially submerged underneath the white Arum lilies, about as close to Pond Cottage's window as possible. Quite sensibly he is a murky pond colour, and reasonably large (the size of a serving of fillet steak). But when I took the lens cap off the camera...
The Beethoven Sonata de Jour is no. 16. I've struck a few 'duds' in the thirty-two. Mind you, my Scherzos tends to come out as slow, plodding quasi-waltzes (I'm not a fast sight-reader). And whatever happened to my leaping octaves and rippling semiquavers? Lost in the mists of time, I'm afraid.
Sorry, sorry, sorry. I've rattled my way through Beethoven's unmemorable no 16 and sulked my way through Albeniz's Jerez. I've watched some cricket. I've been swimming, and done some op-shopping - I've bought a tiny Christmas tree covered in red bows and a little Clarice Cliff 'Celtic Harvest' bowl for the cottage. There's no excuse not to get into a Christmas decorating mood when one visits the Charity shops. Baubles and bows, golden balls, tinsel, little drummer boys - they have it all.
I planted out more Echiums (the bees love them) by the cottage, and poked violas and dianthus into pots. But I have seriously displaced my gardening mojo. There are bags of horse manure waiting to be spread out, and yet more down the road to pick up. Only last week I was jumping and salivating at the thought of free well-rotted horse manure...
Now it's nearly night-time, and all day my pond frog has been nowhere to be seen, let alone heard. I'm worried. I'm imagining Minimus the cottage cat creeping up, belly scraping the ground, ready with an opportunistic paw...
Friday 13th December
Aha! My frog is back, re-minimalized (vocally speaking) - just one midnight croak, followed by a profound silence for the rest of the evening. He hasn't passed on (in all meanings of the phrase), but has definitely gone off the boil (ouch). As has my ability to play Albeniz and THE most wonderful piano piece known to person, 'Jerez'.
Robin Hood Rugosa Rose
I've come up with an analogy. A mad sixty-plus woman gardener suddenly launches herself into a triathalon, without having been training every day for three months. Silly to be upset because she has to walk some of the run - it's the doing that counts! Right? Right! So I've downloaded the first four Telemann Fantasies for keyboard to provide some balance. And if I played through Jerez once a day, twice through the hard bits, I'm sure it would be better by Christmas.
- The Bonfire :
- This is a thumbnail picture of that very tree mess blazing away! So glad it's over. No more big winds, please.
And what about the garden? Today I will decommission the bonfire (that is, barrow out the ash and spread it sensibly along the side of the driveway). The ash is all that's left of the tree mess that the big September winds caused. I will also spread out the horse manure. And then, armed with my puffy bottle of unmentionable stuff, I will deal to the weeds in the driveway gravel. Ha!
Late Morning, After a Most Successful Piano Session...
Now here's a good idea. Play early in the day when the mind is sharp and flowing with confidence, choose a slower tempo, hit more correct notes, and the whole thing sounds better! Rocket science? Not...
It's too hot to be outside for long, but I've made a good start barrowing the ash. I've also shifted the 'antique' white cafe furniture onto the house decking. I never sit on it where it's currently located, and seats are for sitting on, I reckon. And guess what? We've just won the cricket. Yippee for us. Finally, a test match win, after quite a long string of draws and losses.
X Marks the Spot
Saturday 14th December
I didn't sleep so well - I was worrying about the frog, wondering if he'd met with grave misfortune, hoping I'd hear a noise. Nothing. I checked the path right around the edge pond early this morning - nothing. Where do missing frogs go? They only hop across paddocks to have adventures in children's books. And why leave a beautiful pond, shimmering with blue and red dragonflies and all sorts of other possible frog-food items?
I am ploughing my way through Beethoven's Sonata no. 29. At the risk of being offensive, it is by far the worst piano music I've ever tried to play. There I am stretched out like an albatross, right hand clattering on the treble-most keys while the left hand trills and rumbles in the deepest bass. And then my hands join together in a heavy fugue, with the stodgiest of counterpoint.
What on earth was Beethoven hearing? To me it all sounds like the blustering of an angry, deaf old man. Wikipedia tells me it is 'among the greatest piano sonatas, one of the most challenging solo works in the classical piano repertoire'. Hmm... Sometimes 'challenging' can mean 'unnecessarily annoying'?
There's not much to tell about the garden, but I have done some clearing in the water race. I've pulled out tree rubbish wedged in the Gunnera, trimmed the huge leaves growing over Willow Bridge, and semi-rescued one of the orange river pumps (the rope had rotted). I've done a bit of weeding and a bit of watering.
Daylilies by the Water
My Pond Frog is OK!
Good frog news! Walking over to the cottage, I heard the loudest 'plop' by the pond's edge. My pond frog flicked his super-bendy thighs and swam down out of sight. My goodness! He's OK, he's still there, he's just gone silent. Fair enough. A great way to end a great summer's day. Time I stopped worrying and trusted the frog to know what he's doing.