|Autumn is here|
Yesterday morning I leapt out of bed before six, threw on black jeans and jacket, stuffed everything else into my suitcase and hastened to the airport. Later I realised I should have rethought the black, but when planes or trains beckon, you don't generally stop to think, because lurking in the back of your mind is the bald fact that neither will wait for you, no matter what.
I say 'hastened' because, in view of the above 'bald fact', it seems an appropriate word, but actually very little hastening happens once you've left the house. The taxi maintained a decorous pace, I had to kick my heels for half an hour at the bus station, and when the bus did finally get underway, I immediately fell asleep.
There's nothing quick about airports either. You're either hanging around staring blankly at vast overhead screens or being herded through cattle-crushes like troublesome bullocks, crushes moreover, that are designed to make you snake around every inch of the floor. Not surprisingly, as soon as the plane took off I fell asleep again - this time with sunshine streaming through my porthole window.
I've been in Suffolk for a couple of weeks, where my father has been rather unwell and my mother rather tired, and although I felt bad about leaving them with Dad's illness as yet unresolved, the In-Charge's college routine is not indefinitely flexible and for now, it was time to go home.I was looking forward to seeing everyone, especially my Model Dog. And the TeenQueen, not to mention the cats and my new girls.
|TeenQueen and Model Dog|
But as I said, I should have rethought the black.
There is nothing like a dog's welcome. It is rapturous, all-embracing and covers every available surface.Two minutes after arriving I was smothered in fawn and blonde fur, all of it held firmly in place by copious quantities of lick.
It's so nice to feel loved.
|Maybe it's just cupboard love|
Unlike dogs, who wear their hearts pasted onto their foreheads, cats are not so easily won.
They're far more likely to say things like: 'What sort of time do you call this?' and 'Decided to come home, have we? Well make yourself useful and get me some supper!'
Eventually they do come round, but only after they've made their point, so it was some time before I felt a soft, sinuous winding around my ankles.
'You won't recognise the hens,' the In-Charge said and for a moment I wondered what terrible fate had befallen them. But when I went out into their paddock I saw what he meant. Amongst the little flock that rushed to see what was on offer (I'm under no illusions here), were 5 neat brown chickens
It took me a long time to work out who was who, and although she is bigger than the rest, it wasn't until I spotted her unlady-like spurs that I could be sure which one was Mrs Scissorhands.
My new girls are totally transformed.
Sleek, svelte, barely a feather out of place. It's hard to believe they are the same creatures.
|Wilhelmina and Constance two weeks ago|
|Wilhelmina and Florence today|
|Yah Bird two weeks ago|
|Yah Bird today|
Time is a strange thing isn't it?
An inexorable force, and supposedly the same for everyone, yet so unpredictable in its effect.
For some the days fly, for others they go on leaden feet.
Two weeks have turned my bare, bedraggled escapees into little brown hens.
Yet when I went into the flower garden, nothing had changed. Late delphiniums, Peruvian lilies, yellow roses, pale lemon and pink achillea - all still in flower just as they were when I left. It felt like I'd been in there yesterday.
|Graham Thomas, a beautiful, deeply scented yellow rose.|