An overall pale gunmetal grey cloud curtain remained closed throughout the day, although threatened drizzle desisted.

For the last few stormbound days we have been thwarted in our bid for a joint tour of the garden in which Jackie could point out her recent plantings. We aimed to manage it this morning, but most of the new flowers had lost their petals and almost all had received a battering.

Here are some examples from our more established flowers.

In the event Jackie carried out trimming and planting, while I, in the company of a few intrepid little tweeters trying their Twitter accounts, cleared floral invaders from one of the minor walkways through the Rose Garden beds.

Probably to the liking of woodlice and other wrigglers slithering to safety, the path was far too clarty to sweep clean.

This afternoon I scanned Nigel Lambourne’s illustration ‘Natalie was standing in the same posture … ‘ to Anton Chekhov’s story “The Wife”, which I finished reading yesterday evening.

I have to say I found this tale, of a couple locked in a marriage relationship in which they could neither communicate with each other nor completely escape, grim and unrewarding. We have the author’s fluid, penetrative, writing which holds the interest, but, without revealing too much, I find the accommodating conclusion less than hopeful. I concur with translator Elisaveta Fen’s observation that ‘Isorin’s transformation may not be entirely convincing psychologically’ – indeed I don’t think it is at all – ‘but his inner insecurity and the gradual crumbling away of his ‘defences’ are subtly observed.’

I was left thinking that this story would have worked very well as the pivot of a longer novel, but that is, of course, not the author’s chosen genre.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie with extra fried potato topping and fresh vegetables. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon