Saturday 3 October 2020

BIG birthdays

I had one; yesterday. And it wasn't 21 . . . an odd day, overshadowed by a slightly desperate feeling that each minute should be enjoyed to the max, mainly brought on by the fact that I was . . . alone, albeit with dogs but they don't generally note human events, or if they do I haven't found a card anywhere yet. 

Mark was away on a concert tour - a hugely interesting one, and was planned sometime before, although I suspect my birthday might have slipped his mind at the time of planning - no blame here though. You go and enjoy yourself, don't mind me, etc. Sob. The son was also away, some hours Southwards and couldn't leave as the building of a special carpentry model was to be undertaken; the first real piece of work after several weeks of destroying plasterboard walls, shifting rubble and other non-woodworking activities. 

So, the day started with me muttering to myself that it was only a day, a human-contrived set of hours marking an utterly overlooked, minuscule event (not to my mother!) that occurred many years ago. I did the usual routines, opened cards and found the excellent present Mark had left concealed. People rang and were lovely and said things like, 'what have you got planned,' and 'is Mark taking you somewhere special,' etc, to which I had to admit that I hadn't planned anything further than hobbling around the garden and observing birds/clouds/plants etc. I say hobbling, as I was/am. As if to celebrate a new life-phase the sole of my left foot which had been slightly painful had decided to shift up a gear to very painful. My usual, leave it alone and it'll sort itself out, policy wasn't working. Hm. 

                                                            Morning hobbly wood walk

Driving would be ok, so I decided to make a trip to a fascinating sounding plant nursery about 40 mins away via a restaurant they recommended. Dog walk undertaken, but not to usual standard, I drove, got lost but enjoyed the route; ate organic beef Bolognese in excellent down to Earth, arty restaurant and arrived at the plant place. Well worth the trip; not yr average garden centre, a serious, plants-for-the region place with not a gnome or wind chime in site. (Plantagenate Plantes, near Saumur, Loire)

                               My idea of a perfect eatery - Le Puy à vins at Le Puy-Notre Dame.

I had a long chat with the owner who will come and investigate our plot and make suggestions, bought a restrained selection of flora and returned home to dogs keen to walk. Limped up the road and pushed them into a field where they ran off and ate unspeakable things as I couldn't run after them . . . did jobs, answered emails, and then went around to our charming neighbours for an 'apero' (not an ape, spell-check). An hour of chat, laughter and fizz sorted out any lingering, pathetic self pity and I returned to clear up the dump of a kitchen, hot bath, reading, phone calls with my absent family and watching an episode of Detectorists, a brilliant series of gentle/wry humour and human observation, if you haven't seen it.

                                          Is that... yes, it could be - three day old goat poo

This morning I am one day older and the day's list contains currently normal activities interspersed by larger bouts of foot-resting reading/writing, and no pressure to enjoy anything more than I usually do . . . The hazy gloom of a grey autumn day was illuminated by a beautiful bouquet of pink, mauve and white flowers, delivered by a man in a black van wearing a black mask, rather like a Milk Tray ad from the 70s. (Thank you Katherine).

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