Much as we enjoyed our trip to Gunby Hall on Thursday it was something of a mistake to have done it. My fault, not Gunby's. My foot just wasn't up to it and I have spent much of the time since then with my foot on a stool to reduce the swelling.
I sneaked out earlier today (before the ogre, who is your father and guardian of my foot, was about) and took a couple of quick photos to brighten up a dull post.
The weather has been amazing, very hot (for England) sunny, beautiful - all of this has left the grass looking dry and parched, but that will soon recover, while the leaves are beginning to take on their autumnal colours and texture. The trees and hedgerows are dripping in red berries and hips and lots of plants in the garden are having a brief second-flowering.
Even my short walk through the vegetable garden to the woodland gate was crunchy - when the hens came running they made a huge amount of noise as they scattered the dry leaves around them. Nothing can move quietly through there at the moment.
While I was talking to the hens, as they devoured the chard and spinach leaves, I looked up to find
little Miss Sparky in the fork of a tree watching them, Billie in particular. There is no love lost there. I think Sparky regards her as a special challenge - but I think Billie the Beak is well able to defend herself. Toby is terrified of her again, after she made a very painful stab at him the other day!!
For anyone who doesn't know Billie, I should explain that she is an ex-battery farm hen and she has a twisted beak. She can't really eat in quite the same way as the others, but she manages pretty well - and she can certainly give a nasty stab with it.
I 'borrowed' this image of her from Vintage Photographer's Blogspot, as I can never quite capture that beak of hers, but I think this photo shows it very well.
So, while your father has been busy about the place - rubbing down the wooden window frames at the back of the house and applying several coats of oil - I have been confined to quarters much of the time. I haven't wasted my time entirely as I have been doing some more sewing - making origami-style gift bags out of fabric (I enjoyed the challenge) and small gifts for later in the year. I would much rather have been out and about doing all the jobs which I really should be doing in the garden.
While I have been typing this I have been quietly surrounded by critters - two dogs and two cats. It is amazing how quickly the cats have learned what time the dogs get fed and have adopted that time as their afternoon feed time too. I must say I am quite pleased really, it saves time and helps to make sure that Pip doesn't have too much opportunity to steal the cat food as she is too busy eating her own! It takes her ages to eat her meal, whereas before it used to disappear in seconds.
No Skype call today - is that because you have the week off? I really would like to know whether you are pleased with the new clothes.
Lots of love,