Sunday, 16 January 2011

A year in the death: January

The soup must have worked its magic as I survived the week relatively unscathed. A couple of days in bed sounds quite nice right now - I have a huge backlog of books to work my way through - what a shame it normally means having to be ill to do it.

On Friday, I felt I deserved a day off though.
When R was here, I was able to do this most of the time, and we were working towards me cutting back to three days a week, so I could spend more time on the smallholding. The place looked very tidy in those days. Ah well.

Friday's treat was a trip to the tip to get rid of all the junk in the Land Rover, with a view to filling it up again this weekend. Such is the glamorous life I live these days.
But it did give me a chance to call in to see R for a few minutes. Just to be there and feel close to him.

The contrast in temperature compared to this time last month is quite incredible; +12, rather than -12 C. But the warm front has brought with it high winds and lots of rain, which is the sort of weather that really sends my mood into a tailspin. It brings on inaction and passivity, which doesn't suit me at all, and makes me long for Spring.

But the field has changed very little since my last visit.
The grass appears flat and lifeless and there is not even a trace of the first bulbs. It is a frustrating time, as always. My hands are itching to start sowing and planting again. Even digging isn't possible because the ground is so wet. I know there is life starting again as the moles have started to excavate the paddock, and sparrows can be seen carrying feathers back to their nests. It seems to be light a little longer every evening, yet it still is not really time to start working outside.

I have decided that this will be a quiet year on the animal side of the holding. It would be nice to do more with the garden. There is a patch outside the back door that is a real mess, largely because it has been devastated by chickens - something that used to drive R mad, as they would constantly scrape soil from the flowerbeds onto his lawn! Well now the chickens are firmly under lock and key, and duck numbers will be reduced soon, so it would be good to have some frivolous, non-productive flowers this year - just because. I even have plans to plant a small patch of flowers behind the greenhouse just for cutting for the house. It would be nice to think that will happen this year too.

I may not be able to dig at home, but there was digging occurring at the burial field when I arrived. I had to take a deep breath before walking past the new grave being opened up. Life may be at a standstill for the time being, but it appears that death is still in business.


  1. reading your words and looking at your photos reminds me of reading James Herriot. thank you.

  2. reading your words has made me feel exceedingly lazy. I guess it's reminder of how we all deal with this so differently. We feel the same pain, but we manage it our own way. My week has been spent playing with photo albums and scrap books, and you went to the tip on your "day off". That was how Cliff was. Got to get my arse in action, but keep finding reasons ahem excuses why not. NOT YET.

    I'm so glad you have a plan for this year ... to let yourself off trying to do the work of two. Grief is exhausing enough as it is. I like the idea that you're going to grow yourself flowers. I love that idea actually :-)

    And you know what ... I had to take a deep breath when I looked at your last photo, too. xxx

  3. flowers are not frivolous. No way. "Excess" flowers are always welcome anywhere, whereas yet another zucchini dropped on someones' doorstep, not so much. This year, I am thinking of doing almost no veg, turning the whole thing over to flowers....

  4. Good to read of your plans J and I am so glad the 'flu bypassed you.