I have always believed that trees are magical and I have good reason for this faith. Many years ago, when I had little more than my seed leaves, we would go for family walks in nearby ancient woods. In the depths of this wood was a magic tree. It was enormous, but then at four years old everything seems pretty big. I have always imagined this tree to be an oak and as that image fits very well into this story an oak it will be. When we eventually reached this mighty oak, after what seemed like hours (of course at four everything does) there was a strict routine to be undertaken. First find appropriate wand/twig, next stand in front of magic tree with eyes tight closed, then wave wand/twig and repeat in tones of awe and majesty the mystical word “abracadabra”. What happened next was without fail a delight, a packet of fruit pastilles mysteriously appeared in my anorak hood, as well as those of my ne’er-do-well brothers. So this continued, the magic tree never let us down; on reflection I am guessing it must have had some kind of sponsorship deal with Rowntrees. That was until the fateful day when for some inexplicable reason I had been separated from my trusty anorak and was wearing some kind of hoodless equivalent. What would become of me? I was doomed to a sweetless existence! My parents insisted that I go through the ritual anyway and that I must trust the tree. So I duly, and most likely tearfully, did just that. And what do you know? I put my hand in my pocket and that clever tree had put my sweets in there, how could I have ever doubted the power of the oak?
My chosen tree, this splendidly tangled medlar, may not be the most classically beautiful but if any tree is going to be magical surely this could be the one. I haven’t tried the spell in front of this wonderful specimen but I think I might, although I would prefer something other than fruit pastilles. I’m not sure you can do requests.
My life is a never-ending battle against those who wish to thwart me. A large proportion of these war-mongers have four legs, including the devil dressed in deer’s clothing who has eaten the heads from the recently showcased tulips. However the ongoing conflict in the greenhouse (against the narcoleptic mouse with poltergeist tendencies) has reached crisis point; its spiteful destroying of seedlings has led me to call in The Special Forces. This secret army was luckily not out on manoeuvres and brought with them their own high specialised weapons, a plank and plastic coated washing line. With these raw materials they constructed an ingenious and vermin baffling shelf in the rafters on which to store my vulnerable seedling. Not so clever now Mickey, don’t mess with the Damage Crew!
It may be due to magnetic storms, aligning planets, dark forces gathering down Combe Martin way or even the remaining Time Lords taking a public holiday but all is a little remiss on the galactic highway this evening. So I will present you with a fleeting glimpse of the cartoon sky above the garden yesterday and save The Tale of the Plank for tomorrow …..
Today was a great day. On this you will have to trust me. I can’t back this statement up with hard facts; there were no specific events I could relate to convince you of this greatness, to make you sigh “aah I understand” or “how I wish I was there with you”. I didn’t uncover an ancient hoard of golden artifacts, George Clooney didn’t get a puncture just outside the garden gates, the “Free Pasties for All” bus didn’t make a diversion through Lee. There was however something in the air, an optimism, a calm intent, a wholeness; perhaps it was spring. The Early Harvest tulips felt the same, laying open their souls to the sun, basking in the warmth. Next week, or even tomorrow, I may well bemoan the cruelty of the season, but today I am relishing its greatness.
It was a rather circuitous route to work this morning. I reached the sea front just before 8.00am, only to find that it was totally impassable. The tide was high (7.58am 9.90m for anyone who is interested) and the lack of sea wall meant that it was expressing itself very well, making the most of its new found freedom by pounding the now vulnerable exposed road. Although I could see the garden from where I stood I didn’t even consider running the gauntlet this time. I took a deep breath and set off to retrace my steps. First I needed to reverse around a corner, up hill, and then undertake what driving instructors call “a turn in the road using forward and reverse gears” and what I like to call a thirty six point turn. All in front of bemused builders looking desperately for a distraction from their job working on the battered Old Mill. So, having managed not to embarrass myself too much (perhaps just a little sniggering), I set out on the alternative route to the garden AKA the Road that Nightmares are Made Of. This route has little to encourage its use, it is the long way round by 25 minutes, it is steep, twisty, narrow and has few passing points, those who use it unawares (thanks to our friend the Sat Nav) invariably emerge with the screaming horrors. I did have one trick up my sleeve, Peggy’s Prayer (the reciting of which generally prevents the meeting of delivery driver or tractor) which I am pleased to report still works.
Tomorrow high tide 8.36 9.4m, well I suppose I might get used to it eventually.
This little vinca flower has found a way through the leaves, twigs and other winter detritus; a little bedraggled but I think it was a tough journey.
The wind that has recently tormented our southern sisters shifted to the north and has had its fun with us today. This wind is harsh and loud, it gives a healthy glow to the cheek but a deathly chill to the soul. In the sheltered greenhouse there are murmurings; some so exciting to us simple folk I cannot mention them for fear that your disappointment will taint our joy. The bonsai cycad is proudly presenting a new leaf, oblivious to the cacophony outside.