You might well assume that I’d had enough of being busy doing nothing over the Christmas holidays. That’s certainly not the case. Over the last year I have embraced ‘down time’ like never before. Perhaps it’s my age, or The Beau’s positive influence; maybe it’s simply having the time to entertain periods of relaxation instead of being constantly on the go. Whilst I still feel a degree of guilt about taking time out, I do find it comes a lot more easily these days.
Max and Millie are completely bewildered because they are normally left to their own devices during the day. My attempts to make a fuss of them during their ‘down time’ are seemingly not appreciated. Hence we have all claimed our spot on the sofa and are quietly pretending that we are not bothered about the company, when really we are loving every moment. Such small pleasures are to be cherished under the circumstances.
Like many people over the last ten months I am celebrating my birthday during lockdown. As a treat to myself I have taken the day off and plan to spend most of it on the sofa with Max and Millie, a stack of books and copious cups of tea. Delius will provide musical entertainment. All of this jollity will be followed by a generous quantity of champagne this evening, once The Beau comes home to join me. ‘Chilling’ (surely a polite word for being lazy?) is not something I do very often, so this is a genuine treat. Had the weather been fine first thing I would have considered weeding the allotment. I am telling myself that it would be bad for the earth to have me trampling all over it in the wet. The weeds can wait until the weekend.
First of all I want to finish reading Beverley Nichols’ ‘Gardens Open Tomorrow’, then I shall complete ‘Gardens In The Royal Park at Windsor’ by Lanning Roper, recommended within the pages of that first book. Published in 1959, ‘Gardens In The Royal Park at Windsor’ was purchased on eBay shortly after Christmas. It arrived at The Watch House in wonderful condition, still impregnated with the metallic scent of ink and packed with glorious plates, both in colour and black and white. The type on each thick, textured page is large and fabulously easy to read. For sixty three shillings, just over three pounds Sterling back then, you could acquire this handsome tome. Nowadays that would hardly buy you a tacky magazine. It’s been a few years since I last visited the Savill and Valley Gardens so I look forward to returning with my eyes widened by Mr Roper.
Having rediscovered the joys of eBay – alas rather a one way street for Yours Truly – I purchased another book on a whim: ‘Setting The Scene’ by George Carter and Marianne Majerus. I’ve only skimmed through it thus far. I look forward to delving further into the story of Humphrey Repton and his influence on contemporary garden design. I have always found Repton a lot more interesting than Capability Brown: his red books with their charming little illustrated flaps and overlays bring out a child-like fascination in me.
So, enough of this writing, I should be reading and snuggling …. but not before making a very decadent crab sandwich for my lunch. Small pleasures, as I say. TFG.