Up at 9:30, to a glorious morning: sunshine, warmth and birdsong. Today’s outfit: brown & yellow striped button-down Etro shirt (bought in Milan airport last December), Yohji Yamamoto belt (Pollyanna in Barnsley, the December before that), Diesel jeans (Boston, Spring 2001), stripey Paul Smith socks, slippers.
(Never you mind what pants I’m wearing; BdJ this ain’t.)
While K walks down to the village shop, I load up a tray and take it out to the PDMG; this will be our first al fresco breakfast of the year. The kitchen still whiffs a bit of chip fat from the night before, so I open all the windows on both floors, letting the freshness and the birdsong waft in.
· Preliminary Yakult (for those all-important “friendly bacteria”)
· Glass of Tropicana Sanguinello 100% Pure Squeezed Red Orange Juice (blood red; full, concentrated flavour)
· Cod liver oil capsule (for supple joints)
· Boiled egg
· Half a slice of buttered brown wholemeal toast, spread very thinly with Gentleman’s Relish (a habit picked up from my late maternal grandfather; the saltiness of the anchovy paste marries well with the taste of the egg)
· Half a slice of toast, spread with Tiptree Medium Cut Marmalade (our favourite, by some distance)
· The other half slice of toast is intended for Blue Witch‘s marvellous home-grown honey, but I have no more room; as breakfast time is the only time of day where I have next to no appetite, it would be unwise to force the issue.
· Two cups of Twinings English Breakfast tea.
· Cream-coloured Wedgewood “Queensware” crockery; slight seconds, bought dirt cheap from the factory shop when we moved into the cottage.
· The Observer’s Music Monthly magazine, which leaves me feeling rather more favourably disposed to the prospect of The Streets’ new album, despite the disappointment of the one-dimensional Fit But You Know It.
As breakfast is being prepared, K receives a text from Mark, one of the other interviewees in yesterday’s “gay marriage” piece in the Nottingham Evening Post:
If money is an issue we will go halves on the turtle doves with you! x
I suggest a reply:
And maybe we can negotiate a bulk discount on the white suits?
After breakfast, we move up to the bench at the top of the garden; sheltered in a corner by the wattle hurdles and the lilac tree, it’s a real sun trap, and noticeably hotter than the breakfast table. Some more of the deep red tulips have opened up overnight; it has been our first attempt at planting bulbs, so we are endlessly fascinated by the developing results. Some of the other tulips have been gradually opening themselves wider during breakfast, as the sunlight hits them; we are particularly pleased with the pale lilac bulbs which open right out to reveal a custard yellow inside. We have brought the digicam over to get some snaps, but the re-chargeable batteries have run down, and it is objecting to Duracells. No matter; we’ll be back on Tuesday evening, when things should be looking even better. This is the first weekend when the garden has truly come back into its own; plants are shooting up all over the place, and – aside from the odd misplanted bulb (the bulging geraniums already engulfing some of the tulips, for example) – everything is looking great.
Halfway up the wattle hurdles, K spots three snails, and quickly seizes them. We cannot understand why the snails seem so fond of climbing so high, away from anything which they might fancy eating. I speculate that they might be scoping out the landscape below, like birds of prey, ready to swoop and snatch. We laugh.
K chucks two of the snails into the middle of the road, but sets another one upside down on a stone slab in front of him. He wants to see whether the snail is able to flip itself back over again, or whether it will be left helplessly stuck, marooned on the slab until the birds find it and peck it to bits. I comment with amusement on the slightly ghoulish relish with which he is approaching the experiment. Two or three minutes later, the snail heroically flips itself back upright – at which point K snatches it up and hurls it out into the street to join the others. At this point, I actually feel genuine pangs of sympathy for the snail.
Down below, a car passes by; K waves cheerily at the driver, as is his wont. (He also does this while walking down the village street. A cheery wave here, and a cheery wave there. I have started calling him Noddy.) As it disappears, he wanders down and peers over the wall, playing up to his role of Evil Experimental Scientist. “Oh good; one of the snails has already been crushed.” I duly feign horror.
A soak in the bath; I have used Molton Brown’s Rejuvenating Arctic Birch for the foam, and am soaping myself down with their Vitalising Vitamin AB+C. As I stand up and apply the buff-puff to my bits, I can see, through the open skylight, two figures walking on the far hill, about half a mile away. If they had binoculars trained this way, they would be able to spy on me soaping my nether regions. Undeterred, I soap them some more, somewhat tickled by the exhibitionistic possibilities.