I’ve been away with my friend Daphne in Kent for a couple of days. Although it’s only a few miles outside Canterbury, the village doesn’t have internet or mobile coverage (unless you pay for the former, of course). So, having finally caught up with reading blogs and even commenting on a few, I’ve fallen behind again.
Daphne had invited me to stay for longer, but I had to get back today. The auctions of Lowestoft china that Russell started in 1984 and continued until 2013 have been started again, by one of our helpers and a local collector, with the assistance of a professional auctioneer at a fairly local firm. Sally, our helper and friend, kindly wanted to say a few words in tribute to Russell at the start of the sale, which I was happy for her to do, though I didn’t want to go to the sale itself. However, I did say I’d go along to the view this afternoon. I felt apprehensive beforehand and emotional going in, but I pulled myself together of course, and it was all right. I felt I should support them, so left a few bids (I know, as if I don’t have enough Stuff already) but I don’t know yet if I’ve been successful, of course. I rather hope I haven’t bought everything I bid for and I won’t be too disappointed if I haven’t bought anything.
Having been to two concerts in the last few days, I’ve coped better with music as a consequence and, for rather unknown reasons, put myself through two of the gloomiest albums I have in my possession on the way home: The Sunset Tree and Get Lonely by The Mountain Goats. The first is about a chap reminiscing about his early years with a violently abusive stepfather and the second about a young man whose wife has left him and his plunge into depression and suicide – or attempted suicide anyway, I have my doubts that lying down to drown in brackish water is as final as he suggests it is. I think that one would be unable to help jumping up again as soon as one choked on the water – but it hardly matters. I listened and I’m still here. In fact, I seem to have worked my way through any musical anxieties for now. I’m listening to Madame Butterfly at present because Charlotte wasn’t sure that she knew the music and I fished it out for her. Well, no I didn’t. I looked it up on Spotify.
Last week, my gardener finished cutting the grass for the last time, we agreed, this year and had done various other tidying and he asked if there was more I wanted done. I said that I’d like the rather uninteresting shrubbery outside the dining room to be cut back. It must have grown at least ten feet outwards since it was last pruned and, though it will look rather a mess for the winter, cutting it now will not stimulate its growth in the way a springtime pruning will do. I did make a start a year or so ago, but I didn’t have time to finish the job. Since then, I’ve mislaid my pruning saw. I lent it to Ronan and he returned it, but I don’t know where it got put. Since my best secateurs were found in Russell’s big workshop a fortnight ago, somewhere I wouldn’t have put them (rather to my relief as at least it meant they were not left outside to rust), I rather suspect he put away the saw equally randomly, if not in the same place. So on Saturday morning – late morning at that – I ordered a new one. I took the free postage rather than paying for quick delivery but, all the same, it arrived on Monday morning. Splendid service both from Amazon (sorry, to those who won’t use them on principle) and Royal Mail.