Wednesday, 10 December 2008

A Free Day . . .

This is Paul's Himalayan Musk which grows in the greatest profusion across the back of my garden and which presents me with thousands of blossoms in June . . . I needed a reminder of summer today, when it is like the Cresta Run outside . . .

Well, put it this way, instead of having to rush around trying to put cards in envelopes and stick on stamps this morning (which I gave up on doing last night when my eyes were drooping), we are Confined To Barracks and no school for D. It was rain on top of frost again this morning and when I saw Trixie fall over on the path when I let her out before it was light, I roused my dearly beloved from bed to come and Do The Driving. However, like one day last week it was SO slippery underfoot - sheets of ice, not just black ice in patches - that we are going nowhere until it thaws a bit. So now I have the time to write the cards, add to the Christmas letter, pack the parcels and generally Get Sorted.

I am going to get my sewing machine down from the sewing room too , as that's up in the attic, and perishing cold - certainly not conducive to sitting down and sewing for more than 2 minutes at a stretch. I've looked out a length of heavy brocade material in a lovely deep aubergine colour with gold in it, that is destined to be a curtain for the front door, to keep the draughts out. OH has to do his bit and put up a curtain pole.

I woke at 5 a.m. again - having fallen into bed just gone 9 p.m. last night. It was too cold to get up so I laid there for an hour, my mind busy. All sorts of random thoughts going through my head, about books I had read years and years - half a lifetime ago. Does anyone remember the books by Derek Tangye? They told the story of how he gave up his life as a newspaper columnist and his wife abandoned her PR job at the Savoy in London to live in a tiny cottage on the cliffs at Minack in Cornwall. How they earned a living by picking their early narcissi and daffodils for the London markets, and packing them to go up on the milk train. They had cats and donkeys and an enviable lifestyle. I recall when his wife Jeannie had to go to Hospital to have a possible cancer checked out, wearing a bright red coat, and walking back down the lane in her bright red coat, knowing that her life was nearing its closure as she refused treatment for her cancer. I don't know why that should suddenly come to me, but it did. Along with John Seymour's Self Sufficiency, The Good Life on tv, Elizabeth West's 'Hovel in the Hills' and subsequent books Garden in the Hills and Kitchen in the Hills, and compounded by the wonderful books of Jeannine McMullen, who wrote of her smallholding here in Wales (not a million miles from me as I think she was close to Black Mountain and probably still is) these things gave me a leg-up onto the path in life I chose to take - moving here to our smallholding in deepest rural Wales.


MrsL said...

I've read most of the Minnack books too, loved them; also the rest you mention. Was Jeannie McMullen the one who did A Small Country Living? (on the radio too?)

It's always nice to gain a couple of hours extra to get things done! Enjoy your day.

Goosey said...

Yes, it is a bit cold today isn't it! Wrecks and I slid our way round a walk this morning amazingly with all our 6 collective limbs intact! How lovely to have a free day...I'm having a free few minutes then off to work on a late shift.
I do remember those Derek Taygne books, they were marvellous and great escapism to read.

Greentwinsmummy said...

oh those wandering head moments sigh! its like its running thru thing & try as you might you cant stop the darn thing unfolding whatever it likes across your eyes!

I cannot wait to see my PHM next year,I planted this year on your recommendation & its grown SO much already,its going to do exactly what I need it to do,be vigorous & beautiful lol! I told GTD lol! I wanted a frame all along the side of the garden for it to grow along,cant think of the proper word for them,but it can scramble up the arch over the gate one awy & then the other it can go along this thing I want him to build (grins!) we have just got in from a lovely walk & the black ice in the lane is trecherous,M went skiddalling over legs in all directions lol!
GTM x x x

Val said...

Gosh I have those books!!! All of them...and the TV series was a favourite (I now have the dvd's)
I wrote to John Seymour when I saw his work in a compilation book about Self Sufficency and he recommended I buy his book as it was better than the one I had and invited us to his farm to visit..which we did..unfortunately on the day he was away..such is life! but we had a good look around and it was interesting! so Off I went to Farm College.

Bovey Belle said...

Yes Mrs L - A Small Country Living, on a Saturday morning,and I was SO sad when it ended. So inspiring.

Goosey - I have ventured no further than the nut nets to top them up and even then - walking on the gravel bits between the slate slabs (which were glazed in ice) - there was ice beneath my feet.

GTM - my brain was just trotting along, sniffing up memories this morning. You won't regret the PHM - it is FABULOUS. A good length of trellis along the front and it will romp away.

Val - ah, it inspired you to do things properly. We just had poultry - about 60 hens and 35 ducks/geese in the mid 90s, and pet lambs, bottle reared, and sheep on tack. Plus our horses of course. I never did get the goats I wanted, but I've not completely given up hope yet - we have a good place for them here with plenty of rough grazing and a big warm stable to go in at nights. But OH says NO . . . He always says no to what he thinks are my harebrained schemes.

Mam said...

You have a rich history to draw upon as a smallholder. It's not like that here. There really isn't anything I can think of in the US that compares, except for in isolated instances with a family here or there who has found a way to subsist. In Alaska it was more common. I feel so drawn to that life, but I'm afraid it's not to be.
First, I thought, now what's she up to with the roses, but I see. For me, opening up some of the jam or syrup from the wonderful summer berries used to do it.

Sian said...

I really enjoyed reading Hovel in the Hills when I was a little girl. I thought they were nuts back then but actually I wouldn't mind living like that now

silversewer said...

I loved Dereks books, we met him once walking on the cliffs near their home, and later in the village. They were a lovely couple, it was so sad when she died, he was so lonely.

We had the John Seymours books and I rad Jennie Mc Mullen and also Lilian Beckwith???? about her trials living on an island in the
North of Scotland.

We still watch The Good Life repeats, they are still funny so many years later.......

It was laways my wish to follow in their footsteps but my then OH thought I was seriously de-ranged. My present OH would have willingly gone down that route except we had no dosh to do it with, ours would have been SS in France....we never made it sadly.

Valkrye said...

Hello, I have been stopping by regularly to read your blog and wanted to leave a comment since your entry about wishing to recieve actual feedback/comments. I had difficulty at the time, with getting the google blogger account to work for me. When I read your entry this evening concerning the books you had read in years past. I was struck by the fact that I had read and loved ALL the same one's. I especially loved Jeannine Mcmullen's books and always hoped she would write another. Although I do not have a blog, just have wanted to tell you for some time ,that I find your blog a delight and a place I love to visit for many reasons~ I am never disappointed . I hope you will continue to write and post photographs for a long while yet. Best to you.

Bovey Belle said...

Valkrye - I am so pleased you can post now and that you enjoy my blog. I am - shall we say - a bit random (my daughter's boyfriend thinks I'm just plain nuts!) in my thought patterns, so though I plan some of my entries, others are more just what I am thinking about at that moment. I always hoped Jeannine McMullen would write another book too. As far as I know, she is still under the Ash Tree, not too far away from me (probably 20 miles as the crow flies).

Silversewer - how wonderful to have actually met Derek Tangye. They seemed to live such an idyllic life, and I can remember them not understanding why their beautiful flowers had to be less and less opening in flower when they picked and sent them for the London market, until they were tight, tight little buds . . . I am lucky with my husband in that we have the same wants in life - though he was more the old farmhouse side of it rather than the "lots of animals"! Oh and Snap, I read all the Lillian Beckwith books too!

Sian - I never thought of the Wests as nuts, but then I read the books in my early 20s so probably had a different take on things. I googled them recently and a computer geek is living in their cottage now.

Nancy - are you familiar with the blog Eyes of Wonder? The link is on my side bar, and it is the most marvellous blog (with fabulous photos) and they live the sort of lifestyle I would want to in America. Not Amish, but definitely living in a home-loving wonderful way, with lots of children and demure clothing and strong religious convictions.