Bringing on the wall, Day 13 – and rather a lot else, including a Phantam!!(!)

It seemed a long time since we’d done any work on the wall, what with the Sage having been away last week. It was a lovely hot day and (having also lain on the lawn reading the papers and then cycled into town and back) it’s worth the pink arms to have enjoyed the sunshine. Here are the latest pictures –

I know, it’s taking a long time, but this is a hobby, not a race.

While I’m about it, here are the photos I unsophisticatedly took of the Bishop’s garden. I’d rather like the backdrop of the cathedral to my garden, wouldn’t you? The tall purple plant with long sprays of flowers is a buddleia alternifolia and the one with lots of little white flowers has huge leaves and is crambe cordifolia – crambe means cabbage, so that’s its botanical family. I didn’t recognise the spiky mauve plant in front of the artichoke or cardoon, can anyone help me?

In other news – the rabbits are ever more unafraid. One can get within a few feet of them before they lope unhurriedly away. Sometimes, you have to clap your hands. This is quite sweet, but the downside is that their fleas have found Tilly. It’s not usually a problem of hers, as she has short, coarse hair with no undercoat, but I’m having to frisk her several times daily. I have powdered her, but don’t care to use powder anywhere she might lick and I’m not fond of the idea of systemic killers either.

Last night, the Sage went out for a final check on the chickens and found a chick on the hen-house floor. He brought her (all chickens are female until proved otherwise) to show me. A sweet little day-old chick – but we have no cockerel. Dave, this morning, became quite excited, first suggesting parthenogenisis and then a miraculous Virgin Birth, but I explained that the likeliest explanation is that she is a Phantam. That is, that the cock pheasant who has been much admired by the bantams is responsible. We don’t know which bantam is its mother, but the Sage popped her under one who has been hopefully sitting on a clutch for weeks.

It is bound to be infertile, unfortunately, as such hybrids are – but if it proves to be male after all, does anyone happen to know if it will behave like a cockerel – that is, aggressive to other cocks and will attempt to mate with females, or if it will be like a castrated male and not interested? After all, infertility doesn’t necessarily imply impotence, but it may do. I’ve a feeling that mules don’t have the frisky personalities of stallions, for instance. We’d like to keep it as a pet with the others, whatever its sex.

Tomorrow – babysitting from 7.30 until 9.40, when I’m off to the High School to take part in interviews. Interviewer, not ee. Oh, that reminds me. There’s a committee that hasn’t really got off the ground since the chairman left the governors a year ago. So I arranged a meeting for Thursday to get things going again, someone’s agreed to be chairman, although he can’t make the meeting – but he evidently didn’t think it was up to him to do an agenda. So I did, and sent out all the papers…and then it occurred to me that a couple of items heavily rely on staff, as non-staff governors don’t have the necessary info. This morning, I emailed a staff member asking him to lead those items – bluffing again, I didn’t even say sorry for the lack of warning. “Will do” was the cheerful answer. Isn’t he nice? I’ll take in some specially delicious chocolate biscuits.

Oh – English cherries are in season, and they are delicious and ripe and it’s a short season, so hot-foot it down to your friendly local greengrocer (there are still a couple of dozen of them in business throughout the land) and buy them while you can. They’re a bit horribly expensive, but our Kentish growers have to be encouraged – Al had 15 cherries on his tree and the birds have eaten all but 4 of them, although they were netted and not even ripe yet.

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