Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Is It Time For A Glass Of Wine Yet?

Given that it's 4.30 probably not.

But, you see, I have the beginnings of a sore throat which is making me grumpy because it's not all that long since I got rid of the last one. I am not, generally, an unhealthy human being. I don't suffer from depression or overdue amounts of tiredness, I am positive and energetic and like being busy (just as well in this house really). I am beginning to suspect The Swimming Pool as the Harbinger Of All Germs, which is annoying because (even allowing for The Lurker) I like going swimming. Much as I also like running for keep fit purposes but at the moment I don't feel well enough to do either, hence the grump and the associated need for wine.

I'm also a bit worried about our pigeon:

 Doesn't look well does he? He's been sat like that on and off for the past two days. I fear old age is creeping up on him.

My gran, who died when I was eleven and who was much loved by me, has been in my thoughts a lot this week. She was an artist who rode fast horses and loved the countryside and all things in it. As a Land Girl she once got chased up a tree by a bull and had to wait there for several hours until rescue came while he patrolled the bottom. When I was little she used to save her fag packets for me and I would tip those small colouring pencils you get when you're little into them and pretend to smoke them while she had a ciggy (NOT the done things these days at all, but we had fun). We pretended we were living in Africa and I had a husband called Morte who was away working. We drank G&T's (pretend ones, or at least mine was) and talked of old days (I was about 8 at the time).
For me, she represented enormous fun. She went too soon and I still miss her. This was hers:

It's a collection of tiny pottery animals sitting on a small piece of wood. I have been sitting looking at it a lot in recent days. I've got it by my computer. Things like this are touch-stones for the people we love who have gone. They keep them close. I always feel nearer her when I look at it, just like I always feel she is reaching out to me whenever a Jenny Wren appears as per the one who hopped into the kitchen at the weekend.  I was wondering if you guys have similar things that belonged to loved ones who have gone on ahead, the presence of which brings you comfort or makes you feel close to them?

On to other subjects. 

I have my first assignment for college. It's on Biogeochemical Cycles and Man's Influence on Them and the Predicted Ecological Consequences. I am, therefore, sitting here with grannie's little animals looking at me surrounded by text books and scientific tomes carrying titles such as: "Nature's Building Blocks: an A-Z Guide To The Elements" and "Environmental Science" and "Biology" and "Global Ecology: Towards a Science of the Biosphere". I'm quite looking forward to writing it as I like being immersed in books and doing research, even if I am slightly worried about getting the format (which, it turns out, is terribly precise) right.

Tomorrow I am making fences outside all day, which will be Quite Different, and at least it looks set to be dry (we've had loads of rain here). Thursday is Lecture Day, Friday I am going to see my old friend Mandy for some healing in Bournemouth, and on Saturday I am going to meet an ex lecturer from my course who is a Moth Expert, which will be Very Nice. After that it is half term so we all have a week off, and then I start two different practical conservation jobs, both voluntary, one on an ancient monument near here (Danebury Hill Fort) which neatly combines my two loves of history and the land, and the other at Magdalen Hill, which I have written about on the blog before. It's an area of Chalk Downland famed for its butterflies (and moths). So both those places are close to my heart and I am very pleased to be involved with them. It also works well with the course, as doing practical conservation is all part of ecology.

Half term's imminent arrival is a good thing because poor L is on his last legs after seven weeks of non-stop school, and not in the best mood as a result. He nearly flattened his art homework in exasperation last week. It was a collage hare and in the end I made it. I was quite proud of the result: "use colour and shape as the impressionists did to imply mood". Ours was a soft blue hare taken from the one on my favourite mug and made out of snippets of colour from impressionist paintings- impressed? I was! Right up until I read (when the hare was finished) the instruction at the top of the homework page which said (in rather large letters that despite having read it several times I had somehow failed to see): "HINT: Think of the colour RED." Typical. Oh well. I'd rather make a happy blue hare than an angry red one. And this isn't really the best subject for L anyway as he is colour blind. Although I suppose if his teacher queries the blue he can tell her he thought it was red.

Now he has to produce a t-shirt design for geography based on an endangered species, which provoked more eye rolling and gnashing of teeth. I don't know why, because you can guarantee it will be me who ends up drawing it.  He has (I suspect with that thought firmly in mind) chosen the White Rhino. I have suggested a simplification of the design to a horn inside a circle with a line through it and words beneath something along the lines of  "Ivory is for Rhinos and not people."

If I don't get A* for my GSCE's (or whatever they will be called in three years when he sits them- thank you for that Michael Gove) I shall be most disappointed.  

He did cheer up enough to sing me a rather long and involved song while we were walking Ted in the semi-gloom down the lane last night. We were wearing enormously over-sized flapping hi-viz jackets, just in case any of the passing car drivers who were flooring it along the lane tried to pretend they hadn't seen us clinging to the hedge to avoid being squashed as they roared past with flagrant disregard for our safety.

The song went something like this: "Oh Baby, why did you leave me? We were so good together, why did you leave? What made you go? When we were so good together?" And so on. There were many more verses all along basically the same lines. 
When, after several minutes of this heart-felt rendition had passed, during which there was no sign of abatement or indeed reaching the end, I suggested that perhaps she'd left because he kept singing such gloomy songs to her, he threw me a filthy look and told me he'd been singing it all through lunch to his friends. "Did they stay long?" I asked, trying and failing not to grin, and got a punch in the arm as a reply.  
Thereafter the walk rather descended into anarchy, with him singing at the top of his (it has to be said rather squeaky) voice: "Oh Baby, why did you have to go?" and me providing helpful answers, like: "because you never speak to me, you're always singing" or: "because I developed a head ache." 
It turned out he wasn't interest in an answer because the question was supposed to be rhetorical and therefore didn't require one

"You didn't actually sing that to any real live girls at school did you?" I asked him after several more verses (which by this time I suspected were being made up on the spot). I had to jump smartly to avoid the accompanying punch, which is Quite Hard These Days considering he is now twelve and starting to get tall and develop muscles. A passing car driver raised their eyes at us but didn't slow down....evidently mother-beating is a usual sight in Romsey and not one that requires intervention.
He assured me he hadn't sung his song to anyone except his friends (by which I mean he gave me a suitably withering look), and carried on singing until we reached the gate, at which point the song turned into a request for more time on the computer.

Before I go I will just mention the excellent Em at Dartmoor Ramblings (see side bar to the blog for her fantastic record of life in Dartmoor). Em has just emailed me a drawing she has done for us of Teddy. It is FANTASTIC and I shall be putting it up here when it arrives to show you all. She takes commissions, so if any of you have any animals you would like given the Magic Em Touch (perhaps as Christmas presents?) I have her email address.

Wishing you all a good evening. I see that it is now 6.15pm (and a thunder storm has just blown up outside) and I think that constitutes wine time, don't you?

CT x 


  1. Thanks for the plug CT! Your pigeon looks distinctly dicky. Enjoy your fence making tomorrow. x

    1. Will do- Sooooo excited about our Teddy pic arriving! x

  2. Yes, definitely time for a glass of red wine! You are so busy, so many projects, so many thoughts also regarding your grandma (I feel with you and know what you mean!) - I am amazed! I am trying to organize my life - that is already hard enough with less things going on! I admire you! Get well soon!xxxx Christa

    1. Hey Christa- how are things? Hope all is well. Yes, busy busy here, but if it isn't I get bored so I'd much rather be flying about. xx

  3. Cripes. Good luck with that assignment! That would have me looking for the bottle opener if nothing else.
    Take care and get well soon. You should have eaten that £1000 worth of bananas, think of all the minerals and vitamins in there.

    1. Writing an essay pissed- what a great idea- just think how creative it would be!

      You'll laugh at this Jess, but I went out and bought some bananas this very morning- I shall start eating them forthwith and knock the throat on the head (if you know what I mean) x

  4. I was just about to make a coffee after reading your title a glass of wine so much more enticing! Hope you have dry weather tomorrow my daughter has just phoned complaining about the rain and thunder in Southampton! I smiled art the art home work. I sure the work will have stood out against all the others.
    I will look forward to seeing Teddy's picture.
    Sarah x

    1. It's funny how that happens isn't it? I saw an advert for curly wurlys the other day and now can't stop eating them (not helped by the fact L loves them too and calls them "twirls", which I have also started doing).

      Yup, HUGE storm here tonight, but settling down now. Hope she's getting on OK in Soton with her course?

      Ted's pic is super- Em has done such a good job, she's caught him perfectly. Can't wait to show you all x

  5. Wonderful stories, CT. Best of luck with the assignment. The practical conservation work coming up sounds fascinating - two fantastic places to be.
    Look forward to seeing Em's drawing of Teddy.
    Hope you enjoyed that glass of wine and it cured the rotten throat!

    1. It's glorious here today so feel very lucky to have spent it outdoors fencing! Wine is a good cure for almost anything I find :-)

  6. Hope you feel better soon CT and good luck with the essay - a lot of those books have familiar sounding titles from when I did my OU degree!!

    The volunteering sounds fun and very interesting and I look forward to seeing Teddy's picture :)

    1. What was your OU degree in?

      Been outside all day today which has been lovely. Nice to be with the gang and also satisfying to see the neat row of chestnut posts we put in! :-)

  7. I always found it was easier to write essays a little bit hungover whilst at uni! Sounds an interesting topic. Did they say how many words it had to be? Does your first year count towards your degree? I do hope you are enjoying fence creating today! I've done a bit myself and quite enjoyed it :)

    I, like you, miss my Granny awfully. She passed away nearly 7 years ago. I wish she could see what I've achieved now. Hopefully she is looking down on us. I wear her watch on special occasions and that makes me feel especially close to her. I also miss my Gramps - he would have loved the fact I am so into nature and the great outdoors.

    I think the little pottery animals on the stump are adorable - what a lovely thing to have :)

    I look forward to seeing the drawing of Teddy! x

    1. It's 1500 words, which (as you know) is not all that many. Luckily I am reasonably OK at being succinct when it's needed, just hope I get all the right facts and figures down!!

      I'm a firm believer in friends and family who have gone on ahead glancing back every now and then to check on us. I'm sure your Granny and Gramps are both immensely proud of you and all the wonderful nature-related things you do x

  8. Have your glass of wine and bananas...although not at the same time! I love your grannies little log with pottery animals-it's lovely to have something of theirs close to you.
    I have a warm soft red winter scarf of my mums which makes me feel like she's close and brass pen holder of my dad's which is on my desk so I see it every day.
    Poor pigeon, he doesn't look well.

    1. Items of clothing like that are special aren't they?

      Not seen pige today so keeping fingers crossed he is OK x


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them. CT.