By Sarah, May 19 2015 01:21PM
What ho. Is it Spring? Oh. No. Well, I'm here now, so I suppose I will tarry awhile, mainly because it's too cold to move anywhere else. I have been sulking / hibernating / sneezing for a month or two, and having a mild mid life crisis the upshot of which is that a) I have had a haircut at an actual salon (with a stylist who seemed able to peer into my very soul and invent an apposite do: "Dirty! Messy! You godda keep it dirty AND messy, darlin' or it WON'T WORK!!!" the upshot-upshot of which is my commissioning of a coat of arms with the motto 'Dirty and Messy' featuring the heraldic devices of the half-throttled dog mangled chicken rampant and the mud clogged laundry filter sinister) and b) I have decided to apply for an MA in Early Modern History before my frontal lobe becomes so addled by pig ordure that my brain becomes fit for nothing more taxing than the commentary on 'Ice Road Truckers'. In preparation for academia I am reading Schama on the Dutch Golden Age. Schama is a bloody smartarse. And I want me a bite of that arse. Oh yeah. A big gobful of olden complicated arse. Now, let me turn back to my research if I may. I find there's nothing like getting back to the primary sources. Now where was I?... Hard life, blah blah... drudgeful rural existence, yadda yadda.... scratching a living from the land... clothes held together by mud... diet consisting mainly of pease pudding washed down with rancid frumenty... Oh hang on, that's my diary from last week.
Yes, it's all a bit grim and cold, but not as cold as it was last week when I accidentally let the heating oil run out on the coldest day of the year so far. Fortunately, even though I haven't got the foresight to not run out of oil we did have the foresight to install a wood burner eighteen months ago, for just such eventualities (though it does comes in very handy for the ritual burning of inspirational quotes printed off from Facebook and the unintentional ruining of handmade boots as well). Also I had made sure that I had recently become better acquainted with someone who owns one of these.
Frances is a friend of Rachel, my dear clean-freak erstwhile almost sister-in-law. Frances makes socks with a Victorian sock cranker which is frankly (Mr Crankly) the best invention since the electrical moustache restraining spoon (pat. pending). I actually went for a SOCK FITTING which made me feel a BIT like Prince Charles. Though he probably doesn't have to drive half a mile up a potholed lane through a snowstorm without a fan or heater in a filthy Megane which is literally falling apart around him to get to his sock fitterer, and his sock fitterer probably doesn't live in a hidden rambling cottage smelling of woodsmoke and stewing apple with kindling drying in nets chrysalis-like under the eaves. And he probably doesn't come away with a demijohn full of the most beautifully clear elderflower wine thrown because it's cluttering up the hall either. Three days later I went back to pick up the socks. They are hardwearing, warm and comfortable as well as looking like the cat's pyjamas, hosierally speaking. Frances is launching a website soon so YOU TOO COULD OWN SOME OF THESE BABIES. She is 'The Sockmaker' and her Old Cranker is a thing of cottage industrial beauty.
Elsewhere, outside, in the quagmire: piggies. Our three weaners moved into their bijou hovel the week before Christmas when they were small enough for me to carry all the way down the hill, wriggling and squealing like stuck pigs, despite not being remotely stuck (sissies). They aren't any more. In fact they have just crossed over from 'cute pigletty wigletty' stage into 'stop chewing my welly shoe lest you don't stop there right I'm off' stage. A few days ago they kept escaping their electric fence and rampaging into the sheep only zone, much to the sheep's chagrin / utter indifference. We finally realised that rather than charging the fence as we'd thought, they had worked out how to lift the electrified wire off the hook thanks to the makeshift plastic hosepipe handle wrapped round it. With their snouts. Clever, scary snouts full of snaggle teeth and cunning. Which is why I have no compunction whatsoever about turning them into pancetta, because frankly if the welly shoes were on the other trotter they would gladly hoover up my generously proportioned hams without even pausing to slather them with mustard. Which would be a shame really, because proper seasoning is everything, don't you think.
Finally, to the garden. The garden. the garden, the garden. Hang on, what garden? Yes. Still. After six months and three teams of different blokes and a sum that would have funded some kind of exploratory mission to Jupiter and back in a golden rocket jazzed up with diamonds, the raised beds are (sigh) NEARLY finished. They are still empty, so we could still conceivably convert them into three very long swimming pools or super delux dog kennels featuring home cinema (playing Lassie, Beethoven, Dogtanian etc), gym (bone on elastic stuck to wall) and mezzanine leisure area (hot-tub full of fox poo). Anyway. All I need to do now is paint them, put some paths down and fill them with aggregate for drainage and beautiful friable black loamy entirely clay free weed free slug free horse syringe free Jerusalem artichoke free soil. And then plant them up with lovely seeds and plantlings. That's all. If you have any idea how long it will take to fill up 30 sqm with a recalcitrant wheelbarrow and a pink plastic octopus spade please put your answer on a postcard and pop it in this diamond encrusted rocket. The winner will receive a jar of green tomato ketchup wrapped up in a copy of the Venny Tedburn Parish News puzzle special ("1 Across: The state of being covered in filth (5). 4 Down: Not tidy (5)")
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