THE most amazing week!

 That same look...
Two Rusty Dogs

It's been one of THE most amazing weeks in my recent life. It started with some wonderful horse manure and ended with my grand piano repaired and the rebirth of the musical me. And in the middle I've finished the Moosey Christmas Calendars. And it's not yet December!

Tuesday 26th November

I love, adore, am thrilled to bits (and so on) with my new supply of free horse manure. It is well rotted, in bags not so heavy that I can't swing them lustily into the boot of my car. Today I made three car trips. But (oops) I didn't do any real gardening.

Dog Photographs...

I've started the Christmas calendars (which I give to friends and family). And it's the same old story - how to find twelve interesting photographs of the same dog (Rusty), who does exactly the same things and always has the same goofy-eyed look.

The garden scenes are easier to choose, with just a sprinkling from the colder, drabber seasons. No-one needs to see the reality of mid-winter. I've also recycled last year's images into an updated 2014 calendar - here are the first six months.

The cats' calendar has presented a novel problem. My big fluffy caramel cat Fluff-Fluff usually has a huge portfolio of stunning garden poses. This last year I've tried to be fairer to the others, and as a consequence he doesn't really have any. I have heaps of pictures of the grey cats Minimus and Lilli-Puss. But grey is not so ornamental in a garden.

 An indoor photograph.
Tiger the Tortoiseshell

Then there's Tiger the tortoiseshell, who rarely ventures outside, so she's rarely photographed in the garden. Such beautiful stripes, such an expressive face (and such a wobbly white tummy) - what a shame! Perhaps a compulsory cat-modelling session is called for.

 So pretty!
Wet Rose New Dawn

Wednesday 27th November

It's another wet day, I'm afraid, and I may be fated to stay indoors and work on the calendars. But first I'm off outside to admire the new side gardens, all covered with brown loveliness (we're talking horse manure here). A gardener cannot spend the whole of the day in the house...

Ten Minutes Later...

No way! It's too wet to do anything - even to pick the floppy peonies. But the patio roses looked magnificent with their drippy blooms. So I carried Tiger outside and tried to get her to pose amongst the wet pink rose petals. I thought it would make a pretty, wistful cat picture but she would not co-operate. I give up.

Scary stuff - the tuner is coming to look at my sick piano. I'm so scared of knowing what's wrong. I've been putting this moment off all year.

Thursday 28th November

It's an amazing, amazing, huge-wide-grinning day. My piano is OK! Back on January 28th it stopped speaking to me and started rattling instead. So I stopped playing it. Finally, all these months later, I'd organised a chunk of money to pay for what I thought would be an expensive repair, even a replacement. Eek! Facing my fears...

My Piano :
It's a Yamaha, and has been with me for nearly forty years. That's almost forever!

So the piano man arrives and yippee! Nothing is cracked or broken, just the smallest of tweaks needed. I am so happy - it's as if a missing part of my soul is back. I've christened it by playing 'The Holly and the Ivy', in a gospel improvisation style, and then stuttering through a Brahms Rhapsody. My piano is back! Oh joy! Now I can play every day, and be the complete 'me' again.


Oh my goodness - what a day! There's more amazing news. My dear friend has knitted a striped 'hoodie' for one of my cottage teddy bears (the bare one, hee hee). She doesn't think I've gone daft (i.e. turned into semi-senile older lady, jamming a room full of bears, and then making them pyjamas, day clothes, etc.). This is true friendship.

 Growing in the very top of the spiral.
Clary Sage

More Excitement!

But there's more great excitement - more of those lovely bags of rotted horse manure (oops, they're still in my car). So how much gardening have I done today? Well, I've been playing the piano. Two Schumann sonatas, the new Brahms Rhapsody, and several difficult pieces by that cross-the-hands-over trickster, Albeniz. I'm playing everything slowly, enjoying every note, so pages of allegro semiquavers are taking an age to get through. But it all sounds so wonderful. I didn't realise how much of 'me' has been missing.

But while I've been distracted, certain parts of my garden have seized the opportunity to grow madly. In fact, they have become overgrown, in a matter of days. So I've done some weeding in the herb spiral this morning, where things are grim.

Weeds! Everywhere! The orange Calendulas have gone to seed, and old forget-me-nots are still hiding in the daisies. The new Poached Egg flowers are flowering - definitely an eggy look! The path around the spiral is in a dreadful state, but it would be at odds with the spirituality of this tiny space to even contemplate using a nasty weed-killer. A blow-torch at dusk, with respectful chanting, perhaps...

 An annual growing in the spiral.
Limnanthes - Poached Egg Flowers

But my musical excitement continues. I am sight-reading all the Beethoven piano sonatas. So far, so good - one down (no. 26), slowly but surely. It's fun. And tonight my Jazz choir has its BIG concert performance. I am now their conductor, which is something new for me. Hey - the musical me has totally taken over this journal! Where's all the gardening news?