For a couple of days last week the skies cleared and the sun shone. After a short holiday away, a return to work wasn’t so very awful.
We’ve had plenty of dark cloud and rain recently but with sunlight filling the valley, there’s nowhere I would rather be. And neither, I suppose, would Digby the ram. He is on his tod for most of the year and left to his own ram-ish, solitary pursuits.
He can’t be left with Cyril, the other ram – they would fight. And he can’t be left with the ewes or Margaret-the-farmer would be lambing all year round. But now, thrust in amongst two dozen ewes, he can’t quite believe his good fortune and is taking his fathering responsibilities very seriously. And with gusto. He’s already snapped two ram harnesses (leather chest straps that carry a block of crayon – a raddle – that indelibly marks each ewe he mounts. There’s no tact nor discretion for a ewe subjected to Digby love).
The gardens aren’t at their best in November until, that is, the sun comes out. Unsullied by duck-weed, the west pond holds reflections perfectly.
Though some duckweed has drifted in from the other pond and skulks about the knees of bulrushes.
The pond is brimming from days of heavy rain
and shows off the tulip tree beautifully. Most of its leaves fell during my absence.
You need to get up close and personal for a real eyeful.
The ground is too sodden, too muddy for the mowers – I can’t use the ride-on to pick up all that leaf-fall without churning up the lawns. And so, I’ve been raking and chatting away to Radio 4. I barrow off mounds of soggy leaves out to the ‘bins and return with mounds of leaf mould for mulching tender plants. A pleasing, satisfying cycle.
The beech hedge is slowly colouring from summer green to a mottled, golden, autumn coat.
It’s an intermediate stage that will soon pass. From late autumn he’ll wear a uniform brown through to spring.
One day, the new beech arch will be complete … though not for another three or four years. I can’t know how long I shall be gardener at the Priory, but I should like to see this third arch established before I go. That would be a good legacy.
But for now, I’ll head up to the greenhouse, put the kettle on, ramp up some music on the radio, grab a hobnob – and keep tally on Digby’s enthusiasm.