Nearly There

The only bathroom cabinet in the house capable of containing anything useful to ablutions was in the downstairs loo, where it was probably superfluous to requirements. It was so positioned that, I have it on good authority, when rising from the lavatory seat one was likely to hit one’s head on the bottom corner. We took it off the wall this morning and replaced it with a mirror.
The rest of the morning was spent on progressing the installation of the garage library. Whilst Jackie built three IKEA Billy bookcases, I carried most of a lifetime’s collection of large Smith’s photograph albums upstairs to a very useful wardrobe cupboard that could have been tailor made for them. There will be more under the piles of Safestore storage boxes. I considered myself fortunate to have discovered as many as I did. This had the benefit of clearing more space to work in the library, but my system is such that I can’t start the process of filling shelves until I find the box marked ‘Novels A’ which has so far proved elusive. This will be the one that contains my copy of Daisy Ashford’s ‘The Young Visiters’.

During my preprandial tour round the garden, I photographed two different tulips, one very delicate in colouring, the other of the deepest red.                                                          

A heavily pruned wisteria lies, at present, beneath the pergola. It will, no doubt, once more festoon the wooden structure.

Furry orange bees are lapping up the ajugas.

Whilst I was wandering about, Jackie made a delicious vegetable soup for lunch.

Afterwards, with minimal help from me, she continued building the bookcases. Today’s tally was seven, leaving two more for completion tomorrow. The library is nearly there.

The Plough Inn at Tiptoe still serves the best pub food in the area. We reminded ourselves of that by dining there this evening. My choice was the fish combo with which I drank Doom Bar. Jackie opted for a half rack of ribs and Peroni to drink.

The Triangle

I spent the morning clearing the garage. First I finished removing the IKEA wardrobes;

then garden tools went to the orange shed; then various other items went into the house. There are still a few tidy boxes of items from which younger homemakers may wish to take their pick.

Otherwise the room is ready for the books to be unpacked from storage boxes and settled on the IKEA Billy bookshelves. Probably about another dozen should suffice.

We now have two piles of debris for a skip.
This afternoon Jackie drove us to Milford on Sea. The haze leant an atmospheric quality to the beach.

Flo was unaware of the black-headed gull which I had panned as it flew towards her. She raised her head, across which blew her hair at the most opportune moment.
This evening all seemed right with the world. Jackie plucked up the courage to produce a full meal on the Neff hobs. This was her spaghetti bolognese, except for spaghetti read linguine. It was of her usual superb standard, and followed by microwaved  lemon drizzle pudding courtesy of Waitrose, served with Jackie’s own custard. I finished the Isla Negra.
During the past fortnight I have learned a new meaning for the word ‘triangle’. Martin Taylor had observed that there was no triangle in the kitchen. Jackie had concurred, and has, at moments of stress since, mentioned the fact in her usual calm, collected, way.
I was a little bemused at this, for to me a triangle belonged in a primary school band. This was the instrument entrusted to me at St Mary’s on some auspicious occasion in my early years, possibly because it was considered I could do least damage to the performance with it, and they didn’t want me to suffer the ignominy of being left out. I remember being rather puzzled when I was told to bash it with a metal rod thingy at certain regular intervals. I’m not sure my sense of timing was particularly unerring.
Surely there was no place for one in a kitchen?
I was, of course on the wrong track altogether. The triangle in a kitchen, you see, is composed of lines linking cooker, cupboards, and sink. You are meant to be able to stand in the middle and reach any one of these easily from the same spot. In our kitchen, by swivelling at will, you can just about reach cooker or hobs and a selection of cupboards rather too low for the elderly. Water is, however, a problem. To get to that from either of the other two sides of the triangle you must walk around the island. Jackie doesn’t appreciate the exercise. And refers to the fact. Quite often.

Robin Ghyll

Even at midday today a block of ice filled the birdbath.  After lunch I walked the Shave Wood loop.  Apart from Ari and Jackie who stopped their car for a long chat, I saw no other humans. Only three ponies were in evidence.Pony camouflaged  One tore dead branches from a fallen tree, perhaps for the lichen.  They certainly are experiencing food harder and harder to find.

Many forest car parks, like the one at Hazel Hill, have been padlocked for the winter.  Now we have passed the alleged first day of spring, they have been opened up. Hazel Hill car park I see no sign of people rushing to fill them.

Derrick 8.79We are going back a couple of years in Elizabeth’s ‘through the ages’ series.  The featured picture, number 11, was taken by Jessica in August 1979 during one of our holidays in the Lake District.  Before I explain the location, I need to confess to spending a couple of hours locating ‘Pictures’ on my iMac.  This is because I decided to scan and adjust Elizabeth’s version of the photograph, which was the wrong way round and bore some faint but unfortunate parallel lines across it.  In fairness to my delightful sibling, when she first scanned this for one of Mum’s birthdays perhaps ten years ago, equipment was not so good, and how was she to know it was my right hand on which I was resting my face?

I saved the scan to ‘Pictures’ which has a different icon than ‘pictures in iPhoto.  I couldn’t work on the picture from ‘Preview’, and I couldn’t find the separate ‘Pictures’.  After much frustration and a reluctance to phone Apple helpline yet again, I found how to move the picture to iPhoto.  It didn’t really need any enhancement, but at least I can now manage any that do.  If I can remember how to do it, that is.

Now, to the holiday.  The family of Jessica’s sister Sue Trevelyan owned the house at Robin Ghyll near Langdale in the Lake district.  We would sometimes stay with the Trevs, sometimes on our own, taking Matthew and Becky with us.  On this occasion our friends the Biebuycks accompanied us.  This was a large, spacious, house shared by the Trevelyan brothers, and available for all their relatives.  A dry stone wall surrounded the rocky garden that overlooked the Lakeland hills.  There were numerous popular walks, some of which, (see ‘Vertigo’, posted 14th July last year) scared the life out of me.  It was on one of these holidays that I discovered the delights of Theakston’s ‘Old Peculiar”.

Billy bookcaseIf the truth be known, I probably chose to wrestle with the computer to avoid tackling the assembly of the IKEA bookcases which were delivered this morning.  But I couldn’t put it off for ever.  Were I to claim that I, or even we, unpacked these heavy boxes; studied the picture book instructions; checked the contents and laid them out in a sensible order on the floor; collected the necessary tools together; and built the furniture, I would be stretching credibility.  So I won’t.  This afternoon, Jackie was the surgeon.  I performed the roles of hospital orderly and theatre nurse.  We settled for one operation.  There is always another day or three for the others.

Last night’s jalfrezi meal and Kingfisher was repeated this evening with the addition of mixed fruit crumble.  Delicious.