A postman and two specialists

‘It’s worse than Christmas,’ said the postie. Several building/DIY related parcels arrived for the husband and a gift for me. It was a lovely pack of butterfly playing cards. I predict a heated game of snap very soon.

Today, there was huge excitement. Hot water now comes out of the cute copper taps in the loo block. This hot water is stored in a cylinder which used to live upstairs in the farmhouse (until it sprung tiny leaks). A local guy repaired the tank and it’s now being heated up by the second-hand solar panels on the barn roof (first lockdown project). Still a few tweaks necessary, but we’re almost there.

Despite changeable weather, the bees are very active. Lavender is popular as ever but there’s been a lot of to-and-froing near the last windblown roses on the yard pergola. More by chance than design, these co-exist amiably with jasmine and clematis. Today we have a few new clematis flowers, not a full second flush, but I’m optimistic.

Pink roses on the wall

Yesterday a friend passed on good news about her pet’s clean bill of health. At its recent annual booster and check-up, her dog’s heart was behaving oddly. With great haste, pet and human made their way to a local centre of excellence for doggie tickers. There, every test known to veterinary cardiologists, and pet insurers, was carried out. With hindsight, my friend thinks that her pet’s heart irregularities were probably due to panic. Under current C-19 precautions, owner and pet separate at the door of the surgery. The owner waits in the carpark, unable to hold a paw or make encouraging noises…

This tale brought back a time when we too lived in the Home Counties. Rosie, the dog we had, injured her eye badly. Almost immediately, we found ourselves in the consulting rooms of a pet eye specialist. He was a magnificent specimen, with a manner which soothed all canines and their owners, (particularly the female of the species). He also had a helicopter parked jauntily in the clinic garden.

When our patient was convalescing, we went to stay in a farm cottage, one of a pair, near Cardigan. Our next-door neighbours had a black Labrador and, for the three or four days of the mini-break, humans and dogs socialised. One early evening, perhaps over a cup of tea or glass of wine, the couple told us about their recent pet experiences. There was much praise for the vet who had cured their dog. ‘And you’d never guess what,’ the lady said, ‘but on the lawn of the clinic there was a helicopter. And it was his.’   

Garlic and the fairies

Going to the doctor, or the dentist, is viewed currently as a last resort. Other bugs, illnesses and health problems haven’t suddenly stopped but we like to pretend they have. We’re avoiding surgeries and hospitals, unless we can’t avoid them.

Even the three-year-old knows about the ‘nasty virus’. A couple of days ago I printed out some information sheets for very young children. ‘Coronavirus’ is a character in a picture story designed to explain but not to frighten. I printed out two copies for the youngest. They’ll be able to colour them in as well.

I delivered a box of ‘Celebrations’ to their cottage earlier. Their mother isn’t well so I’m not sure what we’re celebrating, but the children will enjoy them anyway. Walking back to the farmhouse I picked a couple of hedge garlic leaves. And ate them. We’ve got chives in the grass, clusters of wild garlic by one of the yurt platforms, (sadly without its yurt right now), and hedge garlic is growing everywhere. Any passing vampire would doubtless get to the bottom of the lane, sniff the air, have a re-think and turn back. At this time of year anyway.

But the tonic fairies have visited in the night. The bottle crate is full and it’s mostly populated with empty fevertrees. Our secretive visitors may not have found a vaccine for C-19, but they could have picked up a little malaria immunity.

Last night’s supper was gin-free but the garlic was flowing. A vegan mayo experiment changed, due to the addition of ramson leaves, into a runny but tasty dipping sauce for fried potatoes. Mary Tudor famously said that when she died and was opened up, ‘Calais’ would be written on her heart. It might be ‘garlic’ written on mine, but hopefully we won’t find out.