The river was still and full today - quiet, apart from the odd salmon rising, sending rings eddying to the banks. All the way we swapped beats with the herons, who didn't seem at all pleased to see us. We were interrupting their second breakfast, I expect.
Model Dog walks so close beside me that I often find her ear lying softly in my hand, like an end of velvet.
She paces like a great cat - her shoulders loose and sinuous, the fluidity of her gait swaying her slightly from side to side. The TeenQueen on the other hand, is like a deer - light on her feet, easily startled, fleet and silent - she is away in a rush of air if something catches her eye.
When we got home I put up the Christmas tree I bought at the weekend.
It may not smell of sharp, pine resin, but I will enjoy looking at it every day - I think it is beautiful.
It was made by a Sligo glass-maker I know, and I loved it the moment I saw it on his stand at the Christmas Fair. It will be even nicer on a sunny day.
|My Christmas tree|
The rest of my day has been calm and quiet. I looked up as I was filling the kettle to find a flock of goldfinches on the bird nuts and 'cupcakes' outside the window. I have only recently opened this new restaurant, and it has gone straight to No 1 in the charts, but the regulars are tits of all kinds, chaffinches and sparrows, with the occasional visit from one of my garden robins. I haven't seen the goldfinches since last winter and it was a good day to welcome them back.
|Some fuzzy goldfinches through the window|
Armed with my hot drink, the dogs and I headed for the flower garden. I've been gradually putting it to bed, but some things don't want to go. Today I picked the last delphiniums, pink achillea and tall purple campanula (a flower that always reminds me of pixie hoods), and cleared another good stretch of the long herbaceous border, cutting back and weeding, but also taking time to split and replant various perennials before tucking it all under a thick blanket of compost.
It's a laborious job, but a satisfying one. A chance to say à bientôt and thank you after a long, long summer. And a chance to bury some treasure, as my friend, the Talentui Goddess, calls planting bulbs.
I am late with the bulbs this year, but as it still feels like October outside, I'm not too worried.
And when I see them again, in all their glory, the winter will be past and a new season of growing will have begun.
It was a good day to think of replenishment, I needed it.
Just as it was a good day to walk in the woods.
I used to walk there almost every day, but I've hardly been this year.
They are too full of ghosts, the woods, they make my heart ache.
But today it was a kind of solace to visit them again, the wind like wild water in the treetops.
It's a year ago today that Top Dog died and our world staggered on its axis. Dramatic to say that, perhaps, but true, and - daft as it may seem - I still catch myself thinking that he'll be back soon.
I saw a heartbreaking tombstone in a church once. It was for a young child, and all it said was: 'My beloved is in the garden, gathering flowers.'
Typically Victorian, I know, but it brought tears to my eyes. And I understand the feeling.
Top Dog is off somewhere, doing something. Chewing his bone in the orchard perhaps, or lying in the sun in the courtyard.
I just haven't seen him for awhile because dear Model Dog and I have been busy doing stuff too.