Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Rakes and pains

For the last five days now we've had amazing weather - clear, cloudless blue skies and genuinely warm, spring-like air. At lunchtimes our thermometer has looked like this:

Pretty good for January, huh? Reminds me why we came to live here and not one of the many places I've fallen in love with over the years that are farther north .....

For the first couple of days I huffed and puffed around inside, carrying on doing things that were on the jobs list like finishing the staircase, plastering a wall and cutting the tiles for the bathroom floor, while gazing longingly at the bright yellow thing in the sky outside. By Sunday morning I could take it no more. Reluctantly I decided that Leaving The Premises was, given the length of the jobs list, just a step too far, but a couple of days working in the garden ... well, it's still work (and therefore okay), no? So on went the shorts (yes, really) and wellies, and we set to on the mammoth task of clearing up the garden ready for spring. Here, that means first and foremost raking leaves: living in the middle of several hectares of woodland is a wonderful thing, but trees have leaves, and leaves fall off. Most of them head Grillou-wards, or at least that's what it feels like, and every year we fill seven or eight huge leaf containers that we've made from chicken wire and hidden in strategic places in the woods (where else?).

Although I wouldn't swap it for anything, there are times (usually when I'm mowing ...) when I wish we had a nice, flat grassy garden instead of half a hectare of of rocky nooks and crannies on various degrees of slope, but a day of raking and barrowing and green has reappeared: always a wonderful moment. Next, we started pruning and shaping hundreds of shrubs, and beginning the task of clearing rocks and head-height brambles from the area around one of our ancient oak trees so that you can get near enough to hug it, and generally cleaning out some of winter's debris. Yesterday evening, the forecast end of the good weather, felt like the end of a holiday; I couldn't bear to come in and was still on the end of my rake, in bright moonlight, at 7.30.

At 8pm I realised that I was a bit stiff. By 9pm, I ached all over. By 10pm I could hardly move. It was great. Much of what I'm working on at the moment requires standing for long periods in one place, usually in a silly position, doing things that need anally perfect measurements, and my body had been crying out for some stretching and some physical effort. It got it.

This morning the sun came out again. But just to make you feel better if you're shivering in colder climes, winter is apparently returning on Thursday, with a 'high' of just 1 degree forecast for Friday ......


Unknown said...

Hi Kalba,

I saw your blog in "A taste of Garlic" and wondered if you would be interested in contributing to our new online magazine TIENS ! Le Sud-Ouest de la France.

Here's the address to the home page: http://websitetiensmagazine.dutchgiraffe.fr/

For more information, please contact me.
Kind regards,
Perry Taylor

Kalba Meadows said...

Hi Perry

Thanks for the link to TIENS! - very slick! I'll drop you an email.