My mind is elsewhere so here's a collection of odds and bods to stick in my internet memory. That way, when I look back, I'll know where I was when I wasn't looking.
In the middle of July, a rat got into the kitchen. That was an event. It scared the cats so much the tabby spent all day in the garden, and the tortoiseshell behind a desk. Indeed, I might never have known a rat was there if the cats hadn't fought noisily over who'd be the first to escape. The rat paused (four inches plus tail) half way up a pipe leading between the sink and the water boiler, as much bemused by this un-feline flight as I was. Then it disappeared.
We spent the rest of the day emptying cupboards - a sort of scorched earth policy, hoping eventually to leave it with no hiding place, sorting through out-of-date packets and re-washing all the cake tins as we went. Every so often it made a dare-devil appearance, running across work surfaces or popping up behind the bread bin where we keep pasta and rice until, late in the afternoon it gave up and moved out. Rats don't like noise - and it was only a young one, not yet used to the chaos of rat-induced-anxiety in humans, and the whole Montgomery family running up and down shouting 'there's a rat in the kitchen' proved too much for its delicate rat-sensibilities and I found it dead but un-marked on the path a couple of mornings later. All the clattering and banging as we shifted saucepans and soup-plates, re-stacked pyrex bowls and the ripple of metal as I tipped out a shoe box full of old silver forks which turned up behind a broken fan heater had done for it. It nearly did for me too!
It took three days, on and off, to dig up the Madame Alfred Carriere rose. It's too big and floppy for here; lovely when presenting its big blooms to nod at the bedroom window but easily brought to earth in a wind. A neighbour said she'd like to grow it up a trellis on the front of her house. Then she decided to move across town instead - so I put the reduced rose (with roots trimmed) back into its hole and now wonder how I'll find someone to want it. So far, it doesn't seem too stressed. I am.
The Rambling Rector is going too. And the Madeleine d'Angevine vine. (I'm keeping the Black Hamburg.) Everyone's glad I'm de-nuding the garden - except me. I like having to force the gate open against branches. I like to pretend I'm pressing through a jungle. Others say they'd rather walk up the path without being scratched (and dripped on when it's raining). They win. Everything is much lighter already. That much is good but I don't like seeing other people's houses beyond the wall. I'd much rather see leaves.
What else? I've been watching seeds as they form on plants. Soon, I'll put photos on the other blog.
Oh, and sad news. We are giving up the allotment.
Remember the Christmas Tree fiasco? When Ming hurt his back because he insisted (gallantly) on moving it? Well, that tree did for his digging and bending and . . . and now he has inflamed tendons in his shoulder too. In many ways, some of them quite profound, it's a bereavement. On the other, it's liberation. There will be more time for doing other things and holidays will be less of a worry. It's bad enough finding someone to feed the cats without having to worry about tomatoes too.
I've been weeding; another sad process . . . saying good-bye to willow herb and nettles, cinque-foile and mare's tails. But self seeders need space. I've been shaking aquilegia heads round the beds and throwing hand-fulls of marigold seeds into the air and wishing them luck wherever they land. There are box and thyme cuttings hidden under these weeds which need a burst of light and air and a brief reprieve. Weeds are wonderful protectors. They offer little cuttings a head start by sheltering them from human feet and cats' bottoms but they tend to take their task too seriously and get over enthusiastic so, once a year, I pull them back and, for a while, the cuttings have to fend for themselves. The garden looks neat now - far too boring and conventional - but it'll revert!
There are more little white cyclamen flowers this year than ever before. They are crammed, ear-to-ear, in a kind of small den, a ravine between massive (and pretty ugly) fox-glove leaves and a honeysuckle which wanders unattended. Some will need to move. If I don't rescue them from their overcrowded enthusiasm they will trample their neighbours to death.