Thursday, 3 October 2013

Thursday this and that . . .

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When we lived down in Kent, surrounded by Orchards . . . the seasons played out their individuality just over  the hedge in the back garden.  I could look out the window in our upstairs library any day of the week, any week of the year and know what month it was.  The Orchards played the tunes so beautifully.  Mother Nature is a little bit more subtle here in the city, or suburbs as it were . . . you really need to get out and about to hear her song more clearly.

We didn't need a fence around our garden there, which at first spooked me.  I used to worry about our Jess getting lost, but she never did and after a time I didn't worry about it anymore.She had complete freedom there and I used to think it a wonderful thing for her.  She never did wander very far at all . . . occasionally she would get onto the main grounds of the Estate and sniff at a few toadstools etc., but she was very good at staying close to home.  She was a bit of a nervous dog really, and very much a homebody.

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It was a bit like living in a parkland really, and yes . . . I would be lying if I said I did not miss all the beauty that surrounded us.  That part was really lovely.

I was able to learn an observe a lot about nature living in that environment that I would never have learned otherwise.  We moved there in late October of 2002 and for the next  seven years I was surrounded in that beauty and I learned something new about the seasons and nature every single day.   I hardly ever left the Estate, except to go to the shops and to church, so it really was for the most part my whole world.

Most people think that the woods begin to die in the autumn, and yes . . . there is a lot of decay and dying, falling leaves and animals hiding away for the long Winter hibernation ahead, but . . . in reality, summer was much more dead than autumn ever was.

In the summer the air hung heavy in the woods and orchards.  Not much stirred . . . all was close and still.   You barely heard a peep from the birds.  There wasn't much of interest there.   It was in early October that they began to come alive again with a stirring and a sense of excitement.  Not only was the air punctuated with the sound of falling leaves and acorns . . . but every little breeze stirred up the rustle of leaves drying on the branches, and the birds began to sing again.  Many had left on their annual migration to warmer climes, but . . . those that stayed sang once more and that, I believe . . . was the key to the woods and orchards seemingly coming back to life. It was the bird song that lifted the heart and made it sing too . . .

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There were parts on the long walks we would take through the surrounding orchards where you could look out and see for miles and miles across the South Downs.  My camera was our constant companion on these little jaunts and I often snapped away at whatever happened to catch my eye and heart.  It was all very beautiful to me.  I have long been a lover of anything to do with nature.  I probably should have been some kind of a park ranger or some such . . .

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Jess always accompanied us on our walks.   You could see her white ruff dancing through the grass, and that white tail tip, waving like a flag, assuring us of her nearby presence.  She was such a great companion . . . and I still miss her very much.    We love Mitzie to bits too, and enjoy her being with us, but I suppose it is a bit like losing a child.   You never forget them and they are always with you, even if only in spirit, and not a day goes by you don't miss them and your heart doesn't tweak at the memory of their being there . . .  I hope that I don't offend anyone by saying so.  To a couple such as us, who have no children of our own together, our dogs and pets are our babies, and we love them every bit as much as we would a real baby.  The differentiation makes very little difference to our hearts . . .

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I suppose in the end it was the Orchard that was her undoing . . . perhaps some poison set out for rats, or who knows for sure.   Whatever it was she was take from us, and we were left bereft . . . thinking we could never love as much again.

And then . . .

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Our hearts and lives would never be the same again.

"Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life."
~Brian Andreas

We are having a very quiet week here this week.   Not a lot going on really.   Some weeks are like that.  To be honest Todd has had a bit of a cold.  He only ever very rarely gets anything like a cold.  He's a pretty healthy man, and I am grateful for that.  It is hard for me to believe at times that he is 75 years old.   I can remember a time when 75 seemed ancient to me, now it's not so very far away . . . heck, I remember when 30 seemed ancient and look how very easily (and quickly!) that gap was breached!!  One darest not to think about it.   Time may indeed appear to stand still . . . but the clock, she's always ticking.

I heard on the local news last evening that two years ago, in 2011, the city of Manchester had 6,000 people resort to using a food bank during that year.  Now, just a mere two years later, the number has increased ten-fold to 60,000 plus.   This is a sobering thought. 

But I can't leave you with such a sobering thought can I, and so . . .

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"There is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been!"
- Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . A Very Untraditional Shepherd's Pie.   Tastily different!

I can't believe it's Thursday already!  Have a wonderful day!

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