Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mortified, chastened but defiant!

Hi, dear readers - I so want to respond to the kind posts, but don't know how,and am still waiting for the senior daughter to ring and coach me - I am a total Luddite.

Yesterday was a total low point and a total washout! Now - today is a different matter altogether. It is pleasant, breezy, blue skies, and no church service in the village this weekend.

I awoke early - aware of being stared at - on the left, a pair of golden eyes with a black centre,to my right, a pair of rich treacle coloured eyes, both absolutely transfixed on my face. How I love my dogs - implicit in this unwavering stare was the message that as yesterday was a total washout as far as dog walking was concerned, would I please now arise and oblige. Oh, OK. There is a symbiotic relationship between my dogs and myself - we are able to intuit each others needs and intentions. I am so blessed - they are the cornerstone of my existence and I love them unconditionally. Even when I have to get up at 6.30 am on a Sunday morning.

By the time that I had let them out, fed them. the sheep. the cat, bathed myself and dressed, they had waited long enough I was told.

Off we set - it was a beautiful morning, fresh, breezy, pale blue sky with scudding cotton wool clouds, the dogs flying across the lawn, snarling, barking, turning somersaults in their unallayed joy, racing along the path towards the gate in to the front garden, little sods! Through the five-bar gate into the lane, across the bridge by the ford and away. I could feel the early morning sun on my back, and I started to unfurl. It really does not take long to feel that life has something to offer after all.

It really is a corner of paradise here. I have to keep telling myself to pull myself together, because many would give their eyeteeth to have this and notwithstanding all the crap in my life I have to pinch myself sometimes, because it is a gift.

We climb the track above the house, Billy races on ahead, and Maud, the true matriarch, sniffs at the young whippersnapper and takes her time. Billy jumps up at the butterflies, and exudes youthful exuberance. I watch him, he moves like a carriage pony lifting his paws high, poetry in motion. He is a beautiful young dog and I burst with pride, because I bred him,and he is 'my boy'.

I look around me, the hawthorn berries are turning orange, before they become a rich cardinal red in a month's time, the crab apples are blushing but not yet ripe, and the purple vetch, the wild sweet pea, is climbing all over the hedgerow, everything looks glorious in the early morning sun. The lady's bedstraw, at its height a rich yellow, is going 'over' and the Queen Anne's Lace is going to seed. It reminds me so much of my childhood. I went to boarding school in 1950, at the age of 5. Not so unusual at that time, just after the war. Many of my contemporaries had lost a parent or both, and were being raised by grandparents and boarding school was a solution. My parents were divorced, and I was in the care of my maternal grandparents. One of my most enduring memories of my days at New College, Leamington Spa, was the obsession with long walks. Quite taxing for a young girl. but - we had to identify and remember every wild flower, bird, and butterfly we saw on every walk. I remember to this day everything I learnt. It was, actually, the most wonderful education. It means that every time I walk my dogs, I identify the seasons, and recognise and name everything I see. I see Buzzards wheeling in the sky, herons sailing on their prehistoric way, kingfishers, green and spotted woodpeckers, all the tits, song and missel thrushes, I am so lucky, it enriches my life. I am so grateful to have been taught about all this. Every little plant in the hedgerow, I know its name, and it is a rare joy. My husband used to call me a know-all. I know who is the richer for this knowledge.

It is a tussle trying to come to grips with a new life - but I truly think in this case, venality and disloyalty will prove to be the loser.


Chic Mama said...

What a lovely post...I wish I knew the name of all the wildlife around me.
Hopefully the walk will have blown away some of the cobwebs. In fact thats what I should have done today.

Kate said...

You are so right, it is such a joy and a way of connecting to your homeland to be able to identify the natural world around you. I'm an Australian in England, and knowing what I see is something I truly miss. I've got a long way to go before I can recognise a hawthorn berry, although I could point out a bottlebrush at a hundred paces!

Blonde said...

That sounds idyllic. A lovely post; looking forward to the next!

Caroline said...

So many people have bad things to say about boarding school; you're the only person other than my own mother I have heard say anything positive. She always said she'd wished she could afford to send me where she went.

There are some wonderful walks around Leamington Spa - I only moved here 14 months ago and am very much still exploring. I do wish I knew what I was looking at in the hedgerows though. I'm not too bad with butterflies, but my knowledge of flowers and birds is abysmal!

Iheartfashion said...

Beautiful post! Sounds like a lovely spot to live.

K.Line said...

I often wonder what it would have been like to live in London post war. Such high highs and low lows. A friend's mother used to play in the rubble of the bombings. She remembers that happily, actually.

So Lovely said...

I have been reading your blog since its inception and have had the hardest time leaving comments. But now I have figured it out(well my lovely friend MTFF did). I love the way you write and am so glad that, in a way, this might be very cathartic for you in an extremely trying time. There will be a time that you look back at this time and think "how did I do get through the darkness" but you did.

Titian red said...

A beautiful post. Lyrical writing at its best. I hope there will be much to follow, it is a pleasure for us to read and hopefully a comfort to you to write.
(I do not have the joy of limpid brown eyes in the morning discretion/valour, all that sort of stuff, as I have a Great Dane who I suspect would shuffle me out of bed before I knew it.....)