Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Reflections on Falling off a Ladder

One minute I was up the ladder. The next, flat on my back on the concrete terrace at the back of the cottage.  There wasn't even time for my past life to flash before my eyes.

I lay there, wondering if any bits were broken, but all seemed to be in working order, though the pot which held the blueberry bush looked a little the worse for wear. I gingerly set off up the garden to the house, reassured Tod that I was ok - not that he'd realised anything was wrong - and he departed for his normal evening of bridge.

I'm not good up ladders.  Much beyond the third step and I'm hyperventilating.  So later that same night, when my right foot had swollen (I was not quite as ok as I first thought) and the nurse at A&E asked what height I'd fallen from: "Un? Deux? Trois? Quatre? Cinq?" and I replied: "Cinq ou peut-être six", I meant steps and he meant metres. He looked a little startled.

It was a busy night at A&E and not much sign of a doctor.  I was relieved that the woman who came in with contractions was whisked away.  Not sure any of us in reception would have been up to delivering a baby. By 2am I still hadn't been seen.  So we came home, caught up on lost sleep and my foot has steadily mended ever since without medical intervention.

Friends suggest I should stop self-harming - what with the sun burn in early summer and now this.

I reckon it was hubris.  Pride and falling and all that.  I was busy; coping (I smugly thought) without asking Tod for help; rushing around getting the cottage ready, doing the garden, painting furniture; making the patio nice with curtains and shading. My second reaction lying there (after first wondering what I'd broken) was: "There's still so much to do".

And that's it. All this year there's been so much to do. In fact every year we've been here there's been so much to do.  Friends tell us they love what we've done in the cottage and the house, what we're creating in the garden.  Me, all I do is rush around, getting stressed, as I see more jobs to be done.

Maybe the Universe is trying to tell me something: "Slow down. Stop and look around.  This is a beautiful place, to be loved and appreciated for what it already is. Pause. And take joy from what you have already achieved."

Monday, 16 September 2013

Too Soon!

Summer is already slipping away.

We light the fire in the lounge against the chilly evenings and talk about moving back down to the cottage when our last guest departs in the middle of next week.

The dahlias haven't even begun to flower.  And have we really had our last swim of the year?  The pool water feels uninvitingly cool under its so-called heat-retaining cover.

The grass badly needs cutting, but it's sodden and the dogs come panting in from their morning walk with thick mud on their paws, which they trail all over the kitchen floor.

Faced with a grey steady drizzle, I decide to get my hair cut in Leclercs rather than try some soggy weeding. This is my summer haircut you understand - short and easy to care for after swimming.

The hairdresser and I share commiserations over the weather.  She's young with brilliant red spikey hair. She solemnly tells me that our wretchedly short summer is all due to the phases of the moon.

She reassures me that next year will be better.  I hope she's right.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

I've been Ironing Sheets in the Cottage

As friends from previous visits can testify, this is unheard of. Especially as the lawn needs mowing, kilometres of tatty edges need strimming and the gravel driveway needs a good, down on hands and knees weeding. But it is also pouring with rain.  Has been most of the day.

Probably my fault.

Last year our friends stayed in June and spent most of the time inside playing card games and doing jigsaws because the weather was so lousy.  So when we talked about this year's visit: "Come in September" I said "It's always lovely in September."

That, and the fact that I've made a shady outside pergola for them, complete with gently wafting curtains, where they can sit in comfort, sheltered from the blistering heat of the noon-day sun, enjoying a good wine and a tasty meal. The dripping curtains, sodden piles of leaves hiding in corners around the pot plants and puddles of water in the plastic seats of the chairs look decidedly uninviting, but there's little I can do about it at the moment as the rain has set in for the rest of the day.

Hence the sheet ironing. At least I can make the inside of the cottage as welcoming as possible.

They arrive late this evening. When did Flybe make that unhelpful commercial decision?  They hasten to say that all they will want to do is sleep. "But you must have at least something for supper, you'll be hungry." I insist, at the time envisaging the table under the pergola laid with candles and an inviting warm quiche and salad to tempt them.  I think it will have to be hot soup, in the kitchen.

The rain has eased a little.  So back to the next set of pillow cases and duvet.  This is quite a novel experience. Hope they are not too tired to notice.

PS. And what do those weasel words "minimum iron" mean?  One either irons, or one doesn't.  How does one iron "minimally"?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Our First Boat Trip

Nothing to this boating lark!  I could quite enjoy this!

I think I'll be ok, so long as I stay here, nice and safe under the table in the galley.