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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas one and all...





My dear readers, may we wish you a very Merry Christmas. We are posting early in time for the arrival of Christmas day eight hours ahead of ourselves in the Australias where my guardians relatives will be seeing in in the festivities. How joyous it is to know that ones Christmas missives will appear on time to greet the rising of the sun in these foreign climes.

Our female guardian, my brother and I are enjoying a peaceful evening; the log fire is lit, the decorations adorning our comfortable home. We will listen to the choir later this evening, reflecting on the year gone by and enjoying a moment of peace in these ever changing times.

My male guardian is undertaking his duties this Christmas Eve and will see in the festivities thus before handing over to his colleagues and making his way home to our little estate. A light refreshement will be partaken before he retires for some well earned rest, his duty done. Once he is refreshed we will quietly enjoy the remains of the festive day, giving and receiving small tokens of the season. Boxing day will see the delightful Christmas meal partaken; my guardians always ensure my brother and I are well catered for at such feasts and festivities with a little delicacy or two. Such care and thought for the small things in life are a delight to behold.

We do hope that you have an equally peaceful and enjoyable festive period.


Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas decorations

Why such excitement, dear friends; my guardians have begun the Christmas decorations. Such fine, pretty trimmings they are too. My female guardian has undertaken some exquisite fine paper cutting to portray snowflakes; these are placed in the windows and, as dusk slowly gathers and the house is lit from within, the snowflakes can be seen highlighted. Truly delightful. 

Outside within the garden, the large yew coned shrub has been decorated with simple pom poms fashioned from brightly coloured wools. So simple, yet so effective. 
Over the coming days greenery such as holly, ivy and bay will be collected to decorate the main rooms and a fine wreath fashioned to adorn the front door.  So natural yet so effective.

The fire warms the house, while beautiful christmas music can be heard as my guardians go about their preparations; my female guardian's voice will be heard joining in such joyous sounds as she goes about her preparations such is the enjoyment of such Christmas rituals. The home is redolent with the smells of Christmas; warm and spicy, mixed with the fragrance of pine and bay - deeply reminiscent of Christmas's past and the simple pleasure in the family traditions.The morrow brings the first of the Christmas gatherings and, oh, such a frission of excitment this brings me; alas, my dear brother abhors too many visitors and will, once again, find himself a quiet and warm spot in which to ensconce himself until such time as he deems it safe to reappear.

We do so hope that you enjoy the rituals of the season as we do.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Log fires and Christmas preparations

Well, dear friends, the Christmas season is fast approaching and preparations are afoot across the land for this most festive of seasons. As in most families it is the female of the species who leads the way. Here on our small estate, our female guardian has secreted away little gifts throughout the year that she has deemed suitable for various members of the family. Nothing ostentatious nor vulgar you understand, merely tokens of appreciation that are deemed suitable for an individual who may enjoy a small gift in keeping with this joyous occassion.

For those relatives abroad, little gifts have been despatched, well wrapped and protected for the long journey, chosen with great care and love for the recipient in mind. Each gift intended to be enjoyed with full Christmas cheer.

Christmas food is such a joy to behold, however, my guardians are not ones to overindulge, mindful of the largesse one could very easily partake of during the festive season. Therefore a few chosen delicacies will be selected with the intent of savouring good food in proportion. The delightful fruits and vegetables will be enjoyed, along with a beautiful moist ginger cake baked by my guardians relative and, oh, what a dish to enjoy with a cup of something warming; quite a delicacy it has to be said and much awaited throughout the year.

In the coming weeks, fresh holly and ivy will be collected and used to decorate our little abode with a modicum of seasonal style; treasured decorations prepared and hung.

My sister and I will no doubt take time to approve the necessary arrangements. We ourselves do not partake of the human exchange of gifts believing in time spent quietly together as a family, counting our blessings for our own good fortune, indeed there are many less fortunate than ourselves. My sister will continue her charitable works in the run up to the season to ensure all is well for Christmas; no stone will be left unturned to ensure warmth and comfort on Christmas day.

Alas, I must leave you to undertake some preparations of my own. I bid you good evening for the time being.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Anniversary

My dearest guardians celebrated their 32nd Wedding Anniversary yesterday and what a joyful day for them. Far from having to arise at the earliest of hours, they rose at a more conducive hour, after a leisurely lie in. My brother and I were delighted to hear them chatter about their wedding day and how time flies; tempus fugit and all that. It was a misty cold day but this did not dampen their spirits. My brother and I chose to stay warmly by the fire whilst my guardians decided to call for the carriage and spend some time admiring a local house and parkland, bedecked in its finery in preparation for Christmas. They spent a number of hours thus, admiring fine architecture, paintings and an exhibition of fine needlework and clothing across the centuries. My dear lady guardian has a penchant for historical portraiture and thoroughly enjoyed those on show. Sadly, their walk amongst the parkland was cut short by the inclement weather but did not dampen their spirits. Homeward bound, they stopped off for some tasty delicacies for a celebratory supper to be had by the fire, a good book apiece. My brother and I were most delighted as this allowed us the most delightful opportunity of a quiet evening spent with our guardians. What more could one want on a winter's evening.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Such calamity, dear friends!!

My poor dear brother has had a most difficult week. Our dearest guardians returned from their daily endeavours to find my brother in a somewhat more subdued mood than was entirely normal. On closer inspection, the reason was to be espied. Quite what my brother had been doing was beyond us but his injuries required a visit to the local establishment known as the
V-E-T. This word is not oft uttered and never within my brothers hearing for it quite unsettles him for many a day. However, he was at their mercy, our guardians being firmly in the belief that he required urgent assistance for his injuries. Thus saw the carriage brought forth late in to the night and they did rush forth to seek medical attention. Two of the kindest ministering angels did attend to him, ensuring he was pain free and fully assessed. My brother was beside himself upon the knowledge that an operation was required but, kindly souls that they were, it was agreed he could rest at home prior to his urgent surgery the following morning. Now, by far the worst information for my brother was not that he would require surgery but that he was to be deprived of food from that moment until after surgery and that his diet would be restricted for a period after surgery due to the injuries he sustained. Why, this was a body blow indeed for he is very fond of a late, early and middling repast between meals. I do believe he felt quite faint at the very thought. Alas, nought could be done but to bear this with good grace and fortitude; it was a grim party that saw my lady guardian off in the carriage that following morning with my brother . In view of his advancing age, there were a number unmentioned concerns amongst us, however, a good stiff upper lip was maintained by all and he was most beautifully cared for; returning late that night minus one or two necessities removed from his person to facilitate a full recovery. He bore it all bravely, relishing in the ready supply of freshly cooked chicken for the first 24 hours - essential protein to recover, one understands.

Tomorrow morn sees a return journey to the V-E-T, to ensure that all is healing and mending as it should. We have spent the last 48 hours quietly at home to encourage rest and recouperation, a steady supply of  warmth and human contact to support this.

Quite what led to this contretemps is beyond us but we are thankful that my dearest brother appears restored. We are grateful indeed for small mercies and, indeed, to those dedicated souls who cared so well for him during his hour of need.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Joy in the little things in life

Dear reader, I am at best, happy, at worst, sad. Why you may indeed ask and I will readily tell. Our antipodean relatives guardian sadly gave us the news that our dearest of cousins, Oscar, has gone on to greater things in another life. He was an elderly gentleman who had done in life more than many a feline will ever do. Why, he traversed the wide world many times, criss crossing the skies between dearest Blighty and the Australias; wherever his guardian went, he did follow. Why, his passport held more stamps to it than both my guardians together. It was whilst my guardians had set foot for the first time in the Australias that they met the dear boy. My, they were enchanted and have many, many happy and joyous memories of their time with him. On his many travels home to Blighty, my brother and I met him and, indeed, my brother shared quarters with him. One of the good and great of the feline species; he will not be forgotten.

I know for certain that dear Oscar would also share our joy in the smallest of things. It is with great delight that I report the first fire of the year. My guardians felt the time had come to ensure that all was in working order with the logburner and so it was that last evening the great occassion happened. Oh how happy my brother and I were. There is nought so heartwarming than the crackle of an autumn fire; curtains firmly closed against the dark, lamps ablaze and a warming cup of the finest tea. Why my lady guardian spent a splendid evening thus. Alas, our dearest male guardian  was duty bound.

Wood

Well how delightful to be able to tell! My dearest guardians are most fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to assist their dear relatives in collecting wood. Dear me, what an offer and oh my, what wood.The finest of oak and beech to collect for the home fires. Now, this may seem a small matter but when one says collect, one does not mean to send a man to bring home the spoils, oh no, dear reader, no. A special heavy duty carriage was hired, fortifying breakfasts partaken, a small collection of energising food collated and a journey undertaken to collect said wood. The sight, my dearest friends, upon their arrival was a extremely large pile of felled trees of both oak and beech (higher than my guardians head) waiting for their ministrations. Why, it fair took my female guardians breath away. Unthwarted by the size of the felled trees, my guardian and her male relative set forth; he sawing with his mechanical device and she transferring large hunks of wood to the carriage. Such was the quality and weight of the wood there were one or two pieces my guardian required a little assistance with, much to her chargrin. The large carriage hired for the day was filled twice with their efforts. After many hours toil, with sore and weary muscles, they set homeward. One is reminded of good honest toil of our forefathers. And the joy, the deepest of joy at a job well done, a job shared and completed; and joy in the knowledge of the plentiful supply of wood, stacked to season for the years to come. So satisfying.

It is perhaps understandable that both workers slept well, my friends. Hard work, however, is also good for the soul and my guardian is much restored after a weekend spent thus. The simple things in life can make me one so happy and contented.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Alas, dear reader, it has to be said that one can never really understand the creatures known as humans. You may indeed ask yourself for why I have made this very statement and, my friends, I will readily tell.

Our guardians are hard working people, undertaking goodly works as is required of them each day in work that devotes itself to this very nation of which they are so proud to be a part of. As with many , they toil away happily each day and readily give more than is required. It has to be said however, that there comes a point in a life where, after many years of good honest toil and will, a person begins to question what they are doing for the very reason that, despite giving readily of their time and goodwill for no gain, it has become a requirement of what they do to go even beyond this. Year on year this happens. One of my beloved guardians works with several other such colleagues who all undertake a role that is beloved by them. BUT, and here is the problem; one becomes exhausted and, sadly, my dear friends, disallusioned with what they do by this very fact. A point that is missed entirely by those who should listen and act.

It is no mean feat, to work daily with humanity; to respond to their needs and give of oneself each day and to do this year in year out for the lifetime of a career; to respond to the ever evolving needs of a nation that is increasing and, sadly, greatly more demanding in its' requirements. This very fact puts one in mind of Dostoyevsky when he quoted in The Brothers Karamazov " I love mankind, he said, "but I find to my amazement that the more I love mankind as a whole, the less I love man in particular.”  This statement questions that of Hammerstein II who is oft quoted "There is a very real relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively, between what you contribute and what you get out of this world.” Maybe, BUT, when we see our guardians return at the end of each daily toil, we see the mark it leaves upon them. A mark that is not necessarily seen by others.

However, such is their dedication they will work through this once again and, as we update you, go about tasks to bring joy to us all within our small country estate, which my female guardian reminds us, is warm, homely and comfortable. We offer our sincerset apologies for the lack of news but have spent our time ensuring the comfort of our loved ones. We work this very day to collate further for your perusal.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Dear, dear me....

Well, dear friends, what a week it has been thus far. One cannot countenance the events I have to discuss.

Firstly, as you know, our lady guardian has an elder sister whose estate is close by to our own. This dear lady and her husband set forth last week to holiday in the beautiful area of Cornwall. A most exciting time for them. My lady guardian was charged with caring for the house and, particularly, the kitchen garden whilst they were away. All was going well and my lady guardian was diligent in her duties,as well as enjoying time with my male guardian away from their usual working day. Returning from another days walk in the surrounding countryside, they did espy the carriage of said sister and her husband within their very own estate. My guardians were most concerned for her sister and husband were not due to return til the end of the week. What could have happened? Despite my disinterest in their D-O-G-S, I would not wish them harm and was most concerned as to the relatives and their animals good health. 
My lady guardian duly visited and returned some hours later with the most unexpected news; her sister had slipped and fallen, breaking one of the lower bones of her leg near the ankle. Oh my, the calamity. (I was earnestly assured that no alcohol played a part in this little contretemps.) Dear friends, my guardians sister had nought but the highest of praise for the local services and ministrations she did receive.  Alas, the small country estate at which they were staying was surrounded by steep hills and gullies, most unsuitable for an individual thus restricted therefore a return home was considered best by all concerned and thus they arrived. It has to be said, when one is not perhaps at ones best, home is the place to be, surrounded by the comforts of one's own home. Methinks a good many hours will be spent in the simple pastimes of sewing, knitting and hand craft, accompanied by the panacea to all ills, the finest of Bristish tea and maybe even the odd tit bit to tempt ones fancy.

Secondly, much to the chagrin of my beloved brother, further work is being done to secure the home from the onslaught of the weather. During the works to renew the windows, one of the ancient oak beam lintels that sit above the windows was found to be rotten thus requiring a new one to be sought. Much time has been taken by our most competent artisan builder to find a suitable replacement hence the timespan since the last work. Today however we are once again under seige according to my brother who took himself off this very morning the moment he heard a whisper of the workman's carriage upon the drive. Alas, we will not see him for some hours until he deems it safe to return. My brother, I am sure, will be most grateful however for this gentleman's endeavours on our part when the north wind blows its worst in the depths of winter. I, for my part, will play the perfect hostess and keep him well supplied with warm beverages and the odd light repast.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Birthday boy

Today is the birthday of our beloved male guardian. Oh the excitement, why I could barely contain myself. I had, however, to be patient for it is the first day of a week of rest from their usually daily endeavours; to lay on as the hand moves beyond half past the hour of five in the morning is a precious gift in itself. I therefore had to refrain from my morning ritual of gently talking to them and, as is sometimes necessary for my brother to undertake, a little reminder of the time by a "pat" upon a cheek. Alas, on occasions one has to be quite firm. The guardians believe it is my need for sustenance however, I assure you, dear friends, it is merely the need to ensure prompt time keeping on their behalf that sees me, and my brother, thus engaged each morning. I am delighted to show you the card we so carefully fashioned with our lady guardian; we are most delighted with it as indeed was he with a delighted smile upon his face when he was awoken with the gentle chink of morning tea in bed. Such bliss to while away some time drinking tea and opening his birthday cards and presents. Why, my brother and I do find such fun in crumpled paper!





Thereafter, whilst my brother and I took a light nap, our male guardian decided to spend his birthday walking in our beautiful countryside. The carriage was brought forth, a basket of supplies provided and the destination agreed. The haven for which they set the carriage is a beautiful wood within one of our national parks. Magnificent steeply wooded glades and streams with miniature waterfalls and pools to delight in. The weather was warm but not hot and most conducive to a number of hours spent enjoying the beautious splendour of nature. What a joyous day and one to remember.

It is also with great joy that we wish one of the antipodean contingent of the family "Many Happy Returns"; for tomorrow is the birthday of my lady guardian's twin sister's partner (my, my, quite convoluted to comprehend in writing!). Some would say most interesting that both twin sisters have partners with birthdays but a day apart. No matter we say, merely a strict reminder to enjoy oneself, dear chap.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

And yet......

And yet, dear reader, the warmth at the peak of the day is quite amazing. My brother and I spent a number of hours taking stock of the sanctuary garden. We were delighted to see the roses still in blossom, as well as the hydrangea.

 
 Why, my dear brother did partake of a moment of rest in the warmth of the sunshine bestowed upon us this autumn day. My Brother is a year older than I but, my, my dear souls, does he not maintain a rather becoming coat and, indeed, if I do say so myself, quite the most beautiful set of whiskers I have seen on any feline in the near vicinity. 


Misty, still morning....

As I accompany my guardian on an early morning perambulation through the sanctuary garden and beyond, I am struck by the stillness of the air and the cool damp mist arising from the dew laden grass. My paws, and the feet of my guardian, are drenched and the early morning birdsong echoes in the quietude of the air. I do believe that autumn's cloak has stealthily crept upon us, beguiled us with warmth at the height of the day, to slowly steal away light at either end, taking with it the last warm breaths of summer. The holly berries are suddenly here, bursting forth upon the eye, unmasked from their green finery; the raucous call of the crows and rooks echoing through the morning. Another fine season begins as one fades away. Oh, how I do so love the seasons we enjoy in this fair country, a sentiment it has to be said, my friends, that is not always echoed by my fellow countrymen. No matter, each brings its own delights to enjoy. I am contrarily fond, as you may recall, of the redolence of an autumn bonfire . This will mean that the estate garden is being tidied for winter and preparations made for spring.


The air is crisp and the wisps of mists caress us as we make our way across the estate, footprints an echo of where we have been. Homeward bound towards the shining beacon of light that means the first cup of morning tea is being prepared. My guardian can oft be heard echoing the sentiments of George Gissing in his writings of Ryecroft "Perhaps it is while drinking tea that I most of all enjoy the sense of leisure" for what morning could be complete without this very Bristish accompaniment.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Good neighbours, dear friends.....

Dear friends, like many of you, we are blessed on one side by good neighbours and cursed by bad neighbours on the other. As in the words of Hesiod "A bad neighbour is as great a plague as a good one is a great blessing; he who enjoys a good neighbour has a precious possession."
However, on the whole, we are greatly blessed with neighbours. Why today my lady guardian has spent a number of hours in the joint venture of hedge trimming along the boundaries with one such neighbour. My, my the volume of work they did manage was quite something to behold, made all the better by the easy relationship of working together. A truly rare occurrence in this world we live in and one to be cultivated and nurtured. The adjoining estates are quite delightful and give the joint impression of parkland surrounding those large historic seats, quite beautiful in the early morn with the sounds of birds, estate chickens and goats from a neighbours estate echoing through the countryside. This very morning we have enjoyed an early foray, before the hubbub of the day begins, to enjoy the fruits of our labour in beautifully restored boundaries and hedges, returning as the sabbath bells could be heard echoing across the fields. 

We continue to be blessed with the weather, and the sun has risen in a largely blue sky, a cooler nip in the air upon the breeze that stirs the leaves. Each day a drift of leaves upon the ground beneath the trees attests to the slow turn to autumn. As my guardians prepare for this, we see our neighbours also going about their tasks,  gradually putting the garden to bed and ensuring the home is ready for any onslaught of weather that comes our way. In the words of Alexander Graham Bell " Before anything, preparation is the key to success"; a maxim that can truly be applied to many situations.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The sights and sounds of autumn..

We are most fortunate are we not, dear friends, in the delay of a full autumn season. It has to be said that my brother and I do delight in the English seasons but perhaps a double delight to have the mix of two seasons in to the splendid weeks of weather that is upon us. My female guardian is overjoyed at the onset of autumn; the sights to behold in the beautiful sunsets and the early morning mists arising from the fields that give way to a warm sunshine; the barn, tawny and screech owls declaring themselves to one another - such a delightfully heartlifting sound. My dear guardians felt they had been blessed this very week with the alighting of an ethereal barn owl atop a tall pole within the sanctuary garden at dusk one evening. Such a sight to behold. Not a move did they make lest it scare it, taking time to marvel at such beauty and grace before, as silently as it arrived, it left. Deep joy was etched upon their faces. A truly blissful moment for staunch country dwellers.

The relatives of my guardian, whose estate sits nearby, further atested to the turn t'ward the next season with a grand garden bonfire, leaving the air redolent with the aroma of wood and leaf smoke. Does this fine aroma not "speak" of autumn to all who smell it?

 I so admire the poet, George Cooper, for his "October Party" verse; such a joy to read, invoking the very spirit of autumn.

 October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came -
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

Although, dear friends, if the current balmy weather continues, I do declare an indian summer will be the prediction of many a local weather expert. To be fair, do not kith and kin delight in great discussions regarding the weather? Why, what would our opening foray in to the delicacies of small talk be without discussions around the Brisitsh weather! 

My brother and I take solace where we can and as the nights begin to draw in, spend time together in rest and relaxation to restore the soul for the days ahead.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Have nothing in your house.....

Well, such news and joy it has to be said. My lady guardian received a most delightful invite this week. A local artist was exhibiting their paintings not but a hare's breath from our very estate (hair's breadth is the correct wordage but, for a county dweller, this is my preferred saying). My guardian, being a patron of the arts, in particular of fine painting, felt that a brief respite was to be taken and time spent in the enjoyment of the finer things in life. Whilst our male guardian was suitably ensconced, she eschewed the carriage to walk across the late summer/early autumn clad countryside betwixt ourselves and said artist. Along the way her sister, in her carriage, did spy my guardian and stopped a while to enquire as to her destination. Well, my dears, the sisters, suitably excited, sallied forth, one on foot and one atop her carriage, to rendezvous at the said exhibition. The sight to behold on arrival was bewitching; beautiful seascapes, country vistas and much more. Oh what joy to spend a delightful hour gazing at these  wondrous creations. Alas, temptation beget my guardian and the return journey saw a carefully transported package delivered to this very estate.

William Morris was a great believer that one should "Have nothing in your house that you do not believe to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." Dear readers, whilst a painting may not be described as useful, it is indeed a thing of beauty to behold; a seascape with such beautiful cloud formation - quite breathtaking.

This fine artist is one of the local artists that my guardian admires and patronises, a fact you may notice on this very document. Happy perusing dear friends, happy perusing.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Such joy....

Such joy, dear readers, the work is complete and a return to the peaceful haven my dear brother requires. Why, he has been at his wits end the last few weeks such has been the intensity of the restoration. It is, however, complete and my brother is restored to his normal good humour. As is custom for the man of the house, he made a detailed inspection of the work. Once again, one must comment upon the high standards of both gentlemen involved in the works; the carpenter and fitter are both of integrity which shows in the quality of their craftmanship. The windows are clad in a fine and becoming shade of gentlest blue externally and a fine fresh white on the inside. My guardians are much delighted. It has to be said however that the male of the species finds such invasion in to their private domain a sore trial. My female guardian and I have made every effort to make this invasion more tolerable. It has to be said, dear friends, it is quite exhausting maintaing such a stance for all concerned; why my female guardian and I were quite outnumbered by the male of the species.

Nevertheless, we are weather proof for the next season and the house is clad in its new becoming shade. My brother returns to his quiet good humour and his amenable character has been restored once more. Such a blessing.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Restoration...

It has come to my attention that my sister and I have been somewhat tardy in the minutiae regarding our circumstances, for which I proffer my profuse apologies. Most ungentlemanly.

As you know, we are descended from a long line of Maine Coons, the lines of our heritage being of a reputable pedigree, of which we are most proud but, of course, one rarely discusses these things in polite society, does one? We were most fortunate that our guardians came in to our lives at a time when my sister and I were in an hour of need and kindly took it upon themselves to offer us a most comfortable home on their modest estate. We are most fortunate that they are indeed kindly souls.

The estate, as I have noted, is a modest one but entirely suited to  the needs of our homely quartet, set in the countryside of the South West of England. We reside in an old home that our guardians, true to their personal integrity, have taken on and slowly improved upon in a style that is suited to this old building. Much care and attention has been taken to source quality trades people. It is exactly this that has been currently underway; our residence has required the renewal of  ALL of the windows. Dear reader, I cannot begin to recount the upheaval this requires to every, yes EVERY, room. The gentleman undertaking this refitting has been quite delightful in the care and attention taken with such consideration. As one knows, such a person is a rare commodity indeed and one worth investing in. Alas, the work is yet to be finished but it will be undertaken to a high standard that will, my guardian reassures me, be worth the upheaval. I do believe that my delicate ears may never recover from the noise BUT the weather can be quite inclement during the winter months, lashing our home with the elements, therefore it is utterly necessary for the home to be restored to its former glory. We will of course reap the benefit through a draft free home that is warm, comfortable and inviting during the colder months, for which I am eternally grateful.

Added to my guardians list of estate requirements is the suitable coating of said windows, to maintain the weatherproofing. A haven for us all worth preserving or, in the words of Charles Dickens "Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration".

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Preparation

Well, it has to be said, dear friends, one could not find more hardworking guardians than those we are fortunate to share residence with on this delightful small estate. You may indeed ask why and I will happily tell. These last seven days gone by have been our guardians "holiday" from their normal pattern of work. Have they idled for this time? No indeed they have not; why today they have spent the day ensuring our warmth during the autumn and winter filling the log shed to the brim in preparation. The wood has been laid down for a season or two to allow it to become suitably seasoned; then cut up and stored for when the temperature makes a marked downward dip. They have utilised all manner of equipment to assist them in their endeavours, physical and mechanised. Why, my sister and I could only watch in admiration; or  to be quite clear in the case of my dear sister, catch forty winks . Many an hour passed as the logs piled high; a break for a light repast and regular needs to slake their thirst and lo, reader, it has been done. It brings a warm glow to ones heart to see such endeavours for the greater benefit of us all. For my part, I am truly grateful; as one gets older one needs a little warmth in the colder months. Such are our creature comforts.
Well, what a fine sight to be had. The log shed is full to the very brim, a not inconsiderable undertaking and one I am delighted to espy. Deeply joyous are these days of preparation and remind me of the poem about firewood, apparently from the Hunter's Journal 1924; a poem that is both joyous and jolly fine advice - a must for any country dweller, dear friends.

Friday, 15 August 2014

"What is this life..."

Dear reader, it is at times such as these that I am reminded of the words of W.H. Davies "What is this life so full of care, we have no time to stand and stare......." for the year is speeding past and little time has been spent on the restorative merits of contemplation. Contemplating the joys of days gone by "such as dreams are made of ", in the words of Prospero, or more aptly, happy memories. Preparing and planning for those to come with a deep seated sense of the enjoyment they will bring, be it a simple walk along the windswept beach, a day spent quietly pottering in the garden, or as my sister and I occassionally partake, spending the day in quiet contemplation. As you may be aware, we spent a recent day thus and have renewed our vigour for the coming season as the last is begining to wane. It was with great joy that we were joined for a short spell this very day by our guardians to undertake a few hours in this way. A beautiful late summer day, surrounded by the quiet country sounds, drowsily contemplating. Oh the simple pleasure; in the words of the poet " a poor life this is if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare." I do so recommend the reading of the full poem; thought provoking in this life of automation and technology.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Bountiful Garden

Well, dear reader, the kitchen garden has been most productive, if I say so myself. I have kept a close council with the Head Gardener, visiting the estate whenever my busy schedule will allow, and over the weeks watched the beds burgeon. The gardeners have been most diligent in their attentions, particularly through the hot weather, and oh my, my these ministrations have proved bountiful. Why last evening my female guardian did return with a basket filled to the very brim and more with  produce; lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, salad potatoes, cabbage, plums, baby carrots, tomatoes, french beans and so much more.

The potatoes have been lifted, as have the large harvest of red and white onions - now all set out to dry. The pumpkins, much prized during the November festivities, are coming along nicely, as are the squash, leeks, and so forth. I can only marvel at the productivity for a garden in this its first year . It has to be said that the gardeners are a most jovial bunch, going about their work with a keeness that is most becoming. They think nothing of a hard day in the garden only sustained by a cup of the finest English tea and a little sweet morsel of something prepared in the estate kitchens to keep them going.


 
My brother and I have, for our part, spent some time reviewing the estate as a whole, thinking ahead to the next season and preparing. Still in the garden, we have prepared the gardeners for the next task which will be the hedges along our boundaries with our neighbours. Some will merely need trimming but others will need renewing. Much discussion and costing is underway, as well as walking of the estate boundary, which in clement weather, can be most refreshing. However, much as it pains me to note, the evenings are becoming cooler and drawing in much earlier; My brother and I find comfort and warmth together at the end of the day after our work is complete.
 

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Upon my word..........

Upon my word, it has to be said that my sister has quite out done herself these last few days; why she does quite exhaust me, such is her vivacity for life (although, dear friends, there are times when one could describe it less kindly, it has to be said!).

Firstly, she has been most tenacious in her bid to re-home the many daughters of our dear friends, Mr & Mrs Coney. Alas, we are at our wits end with these efforts. On the Sabbath, she did appear with the last of the Coneys kit's. Well, this young kit was most voiciferous in its protestations, screaming and sqeaking for all to hear. It was only the swift intervention of our guardians, with a most firm hand, it has to be said, that made it possible to return this young thing whence it came. Much to my sister's annoyance it was happy to be set free to return whence it came and ne'ary a backward glance did it make. One can imagine, I presume, the high dudgeon this ellicited from my sister - one takes ones life in ones hands to cross a female intent on a good deed, as I am sure many of my learned male readers will attest. Dear reader, I kept a low profile for a number of hours thereafter such was my desire to avoid the wrath of my dear sister.


This was not however the last of her escapades that very day, oh no. In a fit of pique, she stormed from the estate and sat upon the carriage way. Despite repeated warnings, she ignored my misgivings at the danger of such a place.
Well, upon the carriage way both a velocipede and a motorised carriage did arrive at the same time. My sister, who has never had the best of sense on a carriage way, dashed partly across to remove herself from danger but taking fright dithered mid point and returned whence she came. Well you can imagine the chaos that ensued and in her fright she ran straight in to the path of the velocipede. Oh dear reader, the calamity. Why the poor dear gentleman upon this stead lost his seat and tumbled forth to the ground, having attempted to steer away from my sister but only managing to run over her. My sister, in fright, ran from the scene and could not be found. Oh my, the woe and angst that ensued for all concerned. The poor gentleman was most concerned with my sisters well being, my guardians concerned for both parties and the melee had brought forth my guardians relatives from their estate to alert us to the situation. My guardians and I can only thank the gentleman on the velocipede for his gentle, kindly understanding of the situation.  Why, he would not even rest a while with my guardians once he was reassured for my sisters well being, before wishing us a kind adieu and continuing on his way. A most noble gentleman and, thankfully, unhurt despite his tumble.
 
My sister, for her part, was to be found upon the estate adjusting her attire and smoothing away any debris. She would not discuss the incident but, it has to be said, thankfully unhurt, spent the rest of the day close to home enjoying the summer weather, if not a little exhausted from her escapades that day. Dear reader, I, on the other hand, was quite exhausted by the "excitement" of the day and spent the rest of the day quietly in the orchard enjoying the peace this afforded.

 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Now, where were we.........

Well, dear friends, we have settled in to a period of weather that leaves one in a somnabulistic torpor. Why, the barometer has hovered over the "very dry" reading for many a day and in truth, dear friends, after the whirl of activity over the last month, my brother and I have taken every opportunity in which to rest in the deepest darkest shady corner of the apple orchard, after an early foray around the estate. The aroma of the harvest wafts sweetly through the countryside and the sounds of the farming activity abounds. From dawn to dusk the farming contingent amongst our neighbours toil most steadfastly in countryside reminiscent of Constable himself. What a picture to behold!

This period of rest has afforded me the opportunity to put together a few details of the activities that ensued during the antipodean visit for your delectation; perhaps the most difficult is knowing where to begin! Closest to home, methinks.

I have once before mentioned business with an horologist across the county. The antipodeans were keen to make such a visit to his premises to view the wares; therefore, my guardian, her twin and partner sallied forth early one morn in the carriage. Near to their destination they alighted the carriage to partake of some nourishing luncheon from a most delightful establishment in the smallest city of our beloved country (a most wholesome and tasty luncheon was to be had). The Cathedral is a must sitting proudly in this small city, as well as the Bishop's Palace and green. Such beautiful architecture to be seen; truly a jewel in this county's crown. Indeed the Cathedral clock is quite, quite beautiful as you can see and set the tone for the horological visits that day.


 
Once luncheon was partaken, the party moved on to do business with the eminent horologist. The purchase of a most delightful timepiece to be shipped homeward was satisfactorily negotiated, underaken and duly shaken upon, much to the delight of the visitors. A little piece of home bound for the Australias, ticking off the time 'til they return.
The journey homeward was a joyous occassion which much celebration as to the finest of acquisitions. Dear reader, I can attest to the beauty of the purchase and proud of the workmanship that will sally forth from our humble shores for pastures new.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Alas , dear friends.....

Alas, dear friends, the antipodeans have flown the nest and are, at this very moment, bound upon an interminable journey comprising thousands of miles toward their estate in the Australias. They travelled yester morn to the capital once more and are born homeward. Parting, as one knows, is such sweet sorrow and a sad tear wend its way down my guardian's face at the time of parting. My guardians twin sister was also such afflicted - dear me, such sadness after such joy! However, it is a fact duly acknowledged that a delightful time was had by all; much merriment, many a meal partaken, visitations undertaken, family members gathered and photogtraphic recording. Why, my male guardian was most delighted to find a fellow chess player amidst the visitors. Many a studious evening was spent in contemplation, fortified by sweet treats for their delectation. Such as memories are made of.

The weather has, fortuitously, been most considerate during the visit - barely a day went by without sunshine and warmth allowing windows and doors to be thrown open and good wholesome exercise to be had walking hither and thither through estates, bountiful gardens, scholarly and historical places of interest and, dear reader, in truth, it has to be said, a fair number of hours in the pursuit of, ahem.. the latest fashions! The antipodeans assured us that this was most necessary due to the superior quality of the workmanship on offer in this fair land. Clearly, some benevolent acknowledgments were offered with knowing smiles and, of course, it would be rude not to partake for oneself, as my guardians duly instructed me, on revealing a number of items for the estate.

For my brothers part, it was all a little too close to home and he daily sought the sanctuary of a quiet spot in either the estate or home in which to secrete himself away. It has to be said, however, that he became a little more accustomed and relaxed, as time went by to the comings and goings but, dear friends, he really is at his most happiest when there is the minimum number of people in his vicinity... such a private gentleman!

I will endeavour to gather my thoughts and note for your perusal, the various visitations made during the visit. 

 It is notable that the farming year is moving swiftly toward the busiest time of year and indeed, harvesting of crops has commenced around us. Always such a joyous and bountiful time of year, do you not agree??

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Oh, dear reader

Oh dear reader, what can I say.  Our sincerest of apologies, we have been somewhat remiss in keeping you abreast of the times here on our little estate however, let me just tell, pray, that the antipodean contingent of the family have truly arrived and my, my what a whirl of activity has ensued. Why, one can barely remember the days! My dearest brother has barely left his rooms such is his reserve and I have been left to entertain these lively visitors with my guardians. It has to be said that there has been much fun and laughter as well as general movement amidst the visitors. My guardians threw themselves wholeheartedly in to the visit as the running of such an estate would allow, and took the carriage North thus far then "took flight" bound for the capital of Caledonia - a place that my guardians hold dear in their hearts and are at pains to visit whenever possible. My female guardian had worked hard for many years past and been duly awarded for her troubles, an event which was the purpose of the Caledonian visit. It has to be said, dear friends, the days spent in the North sounded fulsome but much joy can be seen when they recount tales of their exploits. I am truly glad for my guardians, as they rarely leave the estate being bound by their duty to it, my dear brother and I - we are truly blessed. For my brother and I, we are happy to hear of the exploits from the comfort of ones own home; so much more civilised!



This very day the antipodeans are ensconced in our fair capital, partaking of the sights and sounds to be had within such a metropolis, due to return on the 'morrow. Therefore, I must escort my dear guardians through the house to ensure that the visitors' every need is catered for. No-one, dear reader, shall say that we do not know how to entertain in style despite my brothers reluctance. Sadly, this little snippet must satisfy the curiosity; I will, of course, update you as soon as I can. Til then, dear reader......

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Hare today

Well, my dears, such delight to be seen admits the crops these last few days. I am so excited, why I can barely contain myself! Indeed you may ask yourself, what can it possibly be? Well, it was that most beautiful and mystic of creatures, the hare. Oh such a joy to behold; the power, the grace and such beauty, all to be found in this most athletic of creatures. Long associated in mythology with the moon, the sun and spring, I could not be more delighted than to see it dashing here and there amongst the pea shoots, one moment cavorting, the next delicately nibbling a sweet young shoot. The very sight of it filled me with joy, from the black tips of its long ears to the muscular hind legs bounding across the field at such speed! Oh joyous day. As the shout went up at the sighting, my female guardian attempted to capture the image for your own delight and perusal. A most difficult of tasks it has to be said, dear friends. My guardian therefore offers up these few pictures with her most profuse of apologies and fervent promises to "do better next time." For myself, I am delighted that any such image was captured at all, such was the speed at which it cavorted and the most excellent fur cape in which it manages to blend in to the background. A most useful of talents it has to be said.




Monday, 2 June 2014

Such a buzz....

Well, my dears, I do declare at such excitement to be had. Why, one does not anticipate drama in the kitchen garden however it was, in this very utilitarian part of the estate, where the full extent of the activity was to be seen this last week past. Much strenuous activity ensued with the intent of a final "push" to complete the last of the raised beds. My female guardian was cutting a definite swathe, once more, through the bed of soil when curiously she upturned a bundle of leaves. Thinking no more of this, she continued in her efforts only to be halted by the most curious of noises, an increasing crescendo of buzzing which appeared to be emitting from beneath her very feet. Without further ado, she requested the assistance of the male guardian- in-law who, in a most chivalrous manner, attended at her bidding. Bent close to the ground, they listened.....  Dear reader, a bumble bee nest had been unearthed much to the consternation of the inhabitants. The entrance had been unwittingly filled in during my guardians endeavours. The guardian-in-law acted without further consideration for his safety; a suitable home was sought and the nest swiftly transferred before the dear creatures could take breath. Why, it is a delight to report that no bee was harmed in the inadvertent re-homing exercise and, indeed, the delightful creatures do appear to have become somewhat fond of their new abode which takes the form of an old bird box. 
 


My brother, for his part, found all of the excitement rather tedious and more than he cared for thus spent the afternoon in his study proof reading. Whilst he enjoys a countryman's pursuits, he has little time for the chitter chatter and excitement that can accompany them hence his retirement to his inner sanctum. Perhaps more wise than we give credit for in the face of an irate  nest full of bumble bees!
 



Friday, 23 May 2014

"How does your garden grow..."

Well, dear friends, here we are but a few days later and oh my, the difference one can see within the garden landscape. My previous missive enclosed a few small pictures of the beauty to behold as one strolls amongst the estate but, my dears, that was nought compared to the delights that the spring rain has bought forth; why the roses are in abundance, the hydrangea positively beautiful in its maidens blush of colour, the geranium aglow with colour. Indeed, one is reminded of the eighteenth century nursery rhyme with question" How does your garden grow" - well, dear souls, I have to admit, bountifully and beautifully. However, I do such wonders of nature little justice with the inadequacy of my script therefore I will merely add further pictures for your own delight.


 
How delightful to listen to the sound of the bee as it moves amongst the blooms; the excited buzzing when a new source of pollen is found and the drowsy droning that fills the air is redolent of a warm English day. How perfectly divine, do you not agree?






Whilst the moment presented itself amongst the spring weather, I permitted myself a brief respite in which to renew my vigour for further searching on your behalf ; my only wish is to bring the very best of blooms for your perusal. I do hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Busy as bees

Dear reader, your patience is most, most appreciated during this time of
preparation for "the visit" from the Australian contingent of the family. Why such a frenzy of activity is to be observed; indeed, best viewed from the highest perch for ones own safety. The windows have been thrown wide at the earliest opportunity, there are lines of washing blowing in the breeze, much discussion regarding bed linen, beds to be aired and such like. Why, rooms have been cleared, cleaned and decorated in preparation, furniture moved and positioning contemplated. It is quite, quite exhausting - I have fallen exhausted in to my bed each evening with the whirlwind this activity has created. However, it must be said, dear reader, that the estate is looking most becoming if I say so myself. The gardens are at their most plentiful at this glorious time of year; there are roses aplenty, ladies bonnets, hydrangea, iris and many more. The air is redolent with the most becoming of natures scents. Today, my gurdian received a most delightful posy of rocket from one of the gardeners, the most delicious and heady of smells that fills a room; absolutely charming and so beautifully "country" in a simple cream earthenware jug; quite, quite delicious.


 















 


The kitchen garden has been transformed with the recent warm weather and crops are growing aplenty. Such is the success thus far that some most serious discussions were had, heads scratched and much consideration undertaken, whereupon a plan was hatched to create two, yes, two further raised beds! Well, my dears, I did not envy the task ahead and I will tell for why.  The soil was heaped waist high topped with borage, nettles and weeds aplenty that needed to be parted through the middle to allow the building of the beds in the first instance, all the while weeding and sorting. Once this had been done, the rest of the soil also required digging, weeding and sorting. One can only admire the way in which the shoulders were squared, backs straightened and thus they set about that very task. The soil was parted just as if Moses himself decreed it, allowing raised beds to be built. There was not a cloud in the beautiful blue sky for the two days this work was  undertaken, frequent breaks to slake ones thirst were had and on the second day a joyous moment when golden scones of the savoury cheese variety were partaken - a welcome repast for the workers. There is but a relatively small amount of digging yet to be completed. My brother and I offered our services but, for reasons not quite clarified, we were shooed away to "rest awhile and save our strength", which of course, one adhered to with utmost stringency and alacrity.

Now that the electronic billet doux machine has been sited once more, I will endeavour to keep you abreast of the goings on.  I leave you sadly for I have sight of my female guardian with that look in her eye I have seen too oft these last weeks and fear I must secrete myself somewhere comfortable and safe before a further frenzy of activity ensues. Until tomorrow, dear friends...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Oh my, my.....

Well, dear reader, firstly apologies for the lack of missives but oh my, my what a busy time we have had with the visitor from America. Lunch was enjoyed and much merriment was had by all concerned. Lunch was partaken by various members of our guardians family, much news exchanged and tales told. There were many years on which to report (to be exact, 43 years since our guardian had met our visitor last) and photographs to be taken. Once luncheon was completed, the visitor from across the water accompanied our guardian home and spent some hours conversing with our guardians. I, of course, felt duty bound to introduce myself, as all well bred felines should, and spent some time being duly admired, of course. For my dearest brother however, this was a most difficult occasion being naturally shy and retiring. Our visitor was most complimentary about our heritage and on a number of occasions commented upon this. Dear reader, I bore this adulation with great dignity. My brother however, once introduced did what all self respecting males have a tendency t'ward when faced with a gathering of largely chattering females, and withdrew to his private suite until the all clear was sounded. He only resurfaced once calm was restored and hunger drove him out. 
 
Such is my brothers fear of social gatherings that he only felt truly safe once the estate was secured for the night. Then and only then did he fall in to an exhausted sleep and slept the night fully through. I felt myself drawn to him in his hour of need and comforted him with my physical presence as he slept.
 
Dear reader, we thank you for your patience during this visitation. 







Monday, 28 April 2014

Tempus fugit

Dear reader, apologies for my tardiness in maintaining my correspondence but oh, how time flies. Barely does one blink and we have sprung forward, the Spring Bank Holiday almost upon us. What a busy time it has been with preparations for the visits from the American and Antipodean branches of the family; the kitchen garden to continue and the spring clean all requiring urgent attention. Further to this, the local contingent of guardians have enjoyed an early spring break in foreign climes that required extra duties on both estates for my guardians. Dear me, such a frenzy of activity; I am positively exhausted with it all.

The American contingent arrive the latter part of this very week and great excitment this has caused. Many of the guardians have not seen these relatives for, well it must be 40 years. Oh, my, my, I cannot contemplate such a length of time, however over the water they are bound and will receive a great welcome on their arrival. I will of course keep you abreast of the latest snippets for your perusal.

For my brothers' part, he has sought sanctuary wherever and whenever possible, being a quiet and homely individual. Here, he is seen in quiet contemplation, safe beneath the Lutyens bench.
I, on the other hand, have been hither and thither taking interest in all preparations for the visits; no inspection too small in which to consider the welcome and comfort of our family. It is on this very note, I bid you adieu dear friends, duty calls.

Monday, 21 April 2014

At the crack of dawn....

Alas, duty calls even for our male guardian who, with our female guardian, so kindly keeps us in a manner to which we have become accustomed. This does sadly mean that when many are enjoying the Easter Time break, our guardian rises early to go about his work. Today was one such day; however, these early starts are not lost on our female guardian who relishes in the quiet morn with not a soul about bar the birds, bees and animals of the countryside. The cuckoo has been heard a number of times over this Easter time and the wood pigeon has cooed at us from its lofty perch, the sound resonating down the chimney whence it sits. Despite the forcast, the sun has risen and the dew is glistening. Our footprints as we walk the estate making darkened furrows in which my sister and I delicately trip behind our guardian, with her cup of early morning tea in her hand, as we survey the land. As the sun rises, dew laden cobwebs and glistening diamond moss upon the apple trees are revealed. The apple trees appear to have burgeoned overnight with both acid green young leaves and the most delicate of pink and white apple blossom from which the hum of a busy bee can be heard. Such a glorious time of day in which to muse upon the delights the day may behold.

My guardian takes great delight in the natural flora and fauna of the countryside and cannot contain her joy at the sight of the cow parsley - a delicate white frothy flower, typifying the english country lanes in spring. I know of old that great jugs of these flowers will appear at regular intervals until the very last blossom has waned. Such simple pleasures to be had.