The weather has thrown the works at us today...glorious sunshine...heavy downpours of rain and then the most humongous clap of thunder right over the cottage which frightened all of us witless...all of us being me and him and the three dogs...
After half-watching one of the football matches the other evening...it was between two South American countries and very fast and lively...I decided it wasn't so awful as I'd thought...so long as it isn't the dozy Europeans playing who are practically comatose before they even begin. So we stayed up last night to watch Costa Rica and The Netherlands...well, what a load of feckin rubbish that was...always being one to support the underdog, I wanted Costa Rica to win but they didn't...and it went on and on, what with injury time and extra time and yellow cards and such-like...practically two hours of my life I'll never get back. But I did make some crochet flowers.
The Tree sparrows have discovered the bowl of dog biscuit in the back lobby...they rattle about in the tin bowl looking for little bits to eat while Bobby lies in the doorway watching them...every now and then he turns his head to see if we're watching and rolls his eyes...he makes no attempt to chase them, but if they were one of the cats he'd have had their jacket off and not been in the least bit remorseful.
I used to have awful nightmares which promptly stopped after my spell on life support in the ICU last year...no idea why that should be so...anyway...they are coming back, which is nasty actually. Last night I dreamt I had to clean out dozens of revolting 'fridges before I caught a 'plane that I didn't have a ticket for or any money to buy one...it repeats the same sort of tale each night with slight variations...sometimes there are people I know vaguely, standing about watching while I panic over the lack of a ticket...sometimes they help me clean the 'fridges but don't do them properly. Heaven only knows what goes on in my subconscious mind...not anything pleasant that's for certain.
Himself swears he never dreams, so he can't understand why I wake up in an awful panic and often in floods of tears.
Weird isn't it?
It's been an excellent year for the roses...I bought a really cheap rambler a couple of years ago which has grown and grown this year. It's smothered in clusters of tiny fragrant flowers and still continues to grow over the fence and is now stretching out to the roof of T and Reuben's shed. Then there is the pretty New Dawn which has rambled its way into the old apple tree and the Galway Bay...a deep dark red...is virtually covering one end of the front of the cottage...the semi-wild blowsy red rose which grows everywhere there has been human habitation, has excelled itself this summer...producing dozens of gorgeous flowers...heavily scented, with a sweet almost over-powering perfume, you can often see it featured in old paintings dating from the sixteen hundreds. I wonder if the women who worked in the still-rooms of the long gone big houses used it to make delicate toilet waters for the Lady's complexion, or dried the buds to make sweetly perfumed pomanders to ward off bad smells.
But our neighbours Paddy and Honoria have a rose I'd love to have growing here...it's the softest palest apricot...so beautiful, it is another of those semi-wild roses which appear every year beside old stone buildings and draped across derelict cottages...
When we lived in England we'd go each year to a garden which was opened to the public...the house dated to the early Elizabethan and I'd have given my eye teeth to have seen inside. It wasn't huge...quite modest really...just two stories high and built of a mellow red brick, faded over the years...the gardens were beautiful. Each one walled...the cutting garden...so named because the flowers for the house were grown there...intended to be cut to provide gorgeous floral arrangements. The vegetable garden...neat straight rows of summer salads to be replaced later by hearty winter veggies...there were those lovely Victorian glass cloches to protect the delicate plants and on each and every wall cascades of rambling roses...
It was always sunny and warm when we went there...indolent weather, which made you want to sit and dream awhile as myriad butterflies and honey bees settled on the lavender plants and the sun brought out the emerald and startlingly blue Dragon Flies...
Ireland has nothing to compare...her big houses have gone now, burned and destroyed during the Uprisings and War of Independence...the gardens are sad and sorry places left for nature to take back and foxes and badgers to raise their families. Those few remaining houses which are occupied, belong to the retiring and reclusive, and are surrounded by high stone walls and electronic gates.
Sometimes it's possible to still see the outlines of the old gardens, especially those of the monasteries and abbies...ridges in the adjoining fields denote where the boundaries lay for the physic garden filled with healing herbs...and the areas where cereal crops were grown and the faint outline of the pig sties...
We are slowly and gradually moving towards the back end of the year when the riot of roses will be a memory...their sweet perfume no longer captured by women working in the cool still-rooms of graceful old homes.