Ooh, I was busy today. I was out in the garden, still chopping and beavering, by 8.30 and our good chum came to help at 9. Not long afterwards, the Sage, who had already been to get the day’s strawberries, joined us and we worked mightily for the next three hours. First we dug up a laburnum tree. This has been in the way, as it originally self-seeded into a path, for 60 years. In the past couple of years, I’d noticed it wasn’t flowering so well, some of the bark was dying back and some lichen was growing on it – all a sign that it was not healthy. When, having dug it up (and pushed and pulled it over), it was cut up, we discovered it was hollow with rot.
Then we tackled the lilac next to it. Now, I felt guilty there. It was healthy, but it had suckered and enlarged until it was several feet in diameter and thoroughly in the way. It isn’t now though. I sawed off the branches and C. dug out the roots, with me tugging until they broke through. After that, I went to make tea and lay tiredly on the lawn for ten minutes, but the indefatigable men didn’t and carried on working. When I’d drunk my tea I joined them, putting plasters on my hand first to stave off the threatening bllisters.
All in all, the big pine is not down yet, but it will be and a large area has been cleared.
After that, I picked a basket of runner beans to take to the shop, and went to work there for the next five hours.
Al got back and I was giving him a couple of messages, when I saw grinning faces through the window. It was our great friends Pam and Peter.
This is a friendship of four generations, so far. Peter’s grandfather and mine were friends, and my father was best man at his father’s wedding. We are friends and our children are with theirs, having gone to school with them and kept in touch.
First, I said they should come back for tea. Then I asked if they could stay for dinner? They could! Fortunately, I had bought a leg of lamb at the butcher’s – but a bowl of spaghetti would have been fine if not. I took the last of the beans, some strawberries and cream, some potatoes and broccoli and went over the road for lemonade – for whisky and lemonade is Pam’s tipple.
We had an entertaining evening, at which the Sage displayed (because it was relevant) part of my birthday present – which is a doozer and fantastically brilliant of him to find. I looked at the relevant bit and resisted glancing at the rest, rushing out of the room when he started to tell them about it.
Oh, do you notice, he said ‘part’ of my present. I wonder what the rest is? I feel all keen and happy in anticipation. Ro has already (for we are extremely prosaic on the whole, and discuss prezzies in advance) suggested buying the new Okkervil River album for me, which pleases me mightily. He has flattered me also by asking to borrow the ones I already have.
Pam and Peter are off to their house on Corfu at the end of the month, and they suggested I go and visit. I checked my diary and I only have a chink of a few days, Thursday to Monday. I am a bit torn here, but might just check out flights…