Thursday, September 14, 2006

Frankie and Johnny!

Those of you who have heard John's rude comments about cats will be amused by this picture of him snoozing the afternoon away with Frankie by his side. Frankie is visiting right now and she's really taken to him. She's a sweet cat - no biting or scratching from her! She loves to while away the afternoon on a lap, watching the birds outside and occasionally rubbing her head against your hands. During the day she finds the pheasants particularly interesting and in the evening she's been watching the badgers with amazement.

We're not terribly thrilled with our badgers right now. They've been digging the lawns up. Every morning John goes out, puts the grass back in the holes and does a bit of seeding. Maybe it will help to improve the lawn in the long-run, but in the short-run it's really frustrating to wake up and find all those black holes in the lawn.

It's now edging over from summer to autumn. Actually, it started back in August. It was so dry that a lot of our flowers were over before their time. Then it started to rain and got a lot cooler and windier and we thought that was the end of the good weather. But the last few days have been very nice, with sunny skies, light breezes and highs around 21 or 22 (70F).

On Sunday we decided we needed a day by the sea and went off to Aberystwyth, which is the nearest sea-side town to us. We spent the morning wandering about the town and along the front, then went on to a really nice RSPB reserve on the Dovey estuary called Ynis hir. We're planning to go back again in the fall when all the migrants will be there. Later in the day we went to Aberdovey and after walking around the town had a supper of fish and chips before heading home. It only takes about 1.5 hours to drive over there so I think we may be going back more often for a fix of sea air and different scenery.

Today we woke to pouring rain and after a while the stream started flowing again. Unfortunately, it still can't keep it up and now that the rain has stopped we have a dry bed once more. The water table must be very low and we have to wait for the aquifer to get full before the flow will become continuous again.

There must be enough water in the soil for the plants as they are thriving again. The trees and shrubs are full of hips, haws and berries, and some of our cooking apples are rotting on the branches. And the lawn - it's growing like the dickens! In some places the blackberries are small, dry and shrivelled, but in other districts there are big, black juicy berries just waiting to be picked and made into jam or blackberry and apple pie.

As you can see from my coloured pencil drawing on the left, I have fruit on the mind right now. I've been really impressed by the quality of the fruit we get here, even in the supermarkets. The pear you see was a conference pear. These are very hard and tasty. The nectarine was ripe, juicy and delicious - neither of them lasted very long after I had drawn them!

The other thing that impressed me was the length of the strawberry season. We started off with strawberries from the southern islands in May and ended up with berries from the northern Scottish islands in August - and they were ALL ripe and delicious.

Well, it's time to go down to the living room and read a bit. Since I started on the anti-depressants I've been less nervous and guilty about taking time to relax and I've been sitting down with a good book or two or three!

Stay in touch, please!