However, not being able to gallivant about as usual and seeing all those hills I suddenly want to climb and grass to scythe and not being able to it makes you appreciate things a hell of a lot once you start to get better. Not being able to walk up a simple fight of steps due to the sudden vacuum that seems to surround you and then two days later tripping up hills without a break makes you appreciate the beauty of air. Something we all take for granted, except for the asthmatics maybe. The fact that you can’t breathe makes everything difficult until you stop and then you, well me, feel fine and start to look out of the window and start wanting to go for a walk then you get up to make a cuppa and start puffing like a steam engine and all ideas of long walks up hills vanish and TV starts gain a certain appeal. Then I begin to wonder if the gods are just ensuring that I get a spring bout of gamy lung just to remind me to appreciate how good life is. I mean air is wonderful. After a week of suffering for it suddenly being able to draw it deep into you lungs and feel the taste of it and its solidity is amazing. If you do it right and really get the old diaphragm working you can even make it cold and then there’s the rush as all that lovely oxygen gets drawn down into you, giving you an energy that has been missing for a week. Yesterday afternoon when I went down to Turin and as I was driving along the road, lungs full of air I felt really good to be alive. Sounds a bit corny I know but really did. Birds were all over the place, the trees seemed even greener than before, the sun was out, in 600 yards of road I got waved to by 4 people, even the two ring doves which were in the middle of the road as usual seemed happier to fly up to the wall than normal. I had a good play to listen to on the radio, a tummy full of sour cream crisps and pear cider (non-alcoholic) and life was fine with me. The good, noble and positive thoughts of course ensured that there was zero traffic so at a steady 110 I had a great and unusually relaxing drive to an otherwise grotty city. But back to here.
Yesterday I strimmed all day practically and spent a couple of hours with me Wilkinson sword secateurs cutting out brambles and ash. Things are starting to look normal again. I nearly got Ted the toad again with the strimmer. He has a charmed life. I normally cut the grass first to about 3 inches high and then graze it down when I see if he’s about or not but sometimes I forget for a moment, enraptured by the flying grass and mud and giddy with destruction and death and zip, brudup (imagined sound of toad) and there he is flattening himself into the grass. I pick him up, brief pictures of Catweasle flick through my mind followed immediately by those of the girl from Follyfoot farm and almost immediately after by the girl in the White Horses, who was my childhood swooning bint and then back to catwealse who is at least someone I understand and who has never let me down like Julia in White Horses. So, the toad. I check him over to see that he’s ok I notice he’s put on a couple of pounds and blowing him a kiss put him back in the grass and carry on the destruction. I am now of the opinion that, even though most of the rest of the planet doesn’t have as many wild strawberries as us that I can’t always feel guilty about strimming them. Once you’ve eaten 20 or so the novelty wears thin, Then I start to collect them in a cup for the howler (who gave me 4 kisses yesterday so I’m feeling better disposed towards her) but then, having to put down the strimmer for two or three berries each time becomes a bind and so to hell with it, I strim the lot, each year the same, each year I promise myself that I will transplant them, each year I break my promise.
Once the strimming was at a good point I stopped to cut back brambles. Millions of the buggers. As they know they have no quarter with me in open field they have now taken to growing up between things I want to keep like the winter jasmine, the three or four flowers we have growing. In the end, along the wall outside the kitchen, I strimmed the lot, flowers and all. Let them sort themselves out. At least it doesn’t look like a jungle, there’s already enough of that 20 yards away and I don’t see why we should have it just outside the kitchen, at least a bit of jungle free grass would be nice. I mean we have Japanese soldiers living in there, you can see their campfires at night.So today I’m blitzing the miniature bit of lawn we have for the guests in front of the house. So although I have been strimming I haven’t done any raking as yet, well not serious raking. Save that for the morrow. And yes we have moles again. How I hate them. I’ve tried humane trapping with no result and last time I tried a nasty little device that cuts them in half but that I thought was too cruel so this time I brought some smoke mole repellent. Lele, in the animal food shop says that if they are in the tunnels at the time the die (no bad thing out of sight …) but if they are elsewhere or can escape they don’t return because of the pong. Let’s hope they are off out somewhere for the day. I sometimes wonder why we have cats though. We also have another mole under the paving stones outside the kitchen door. Of all the places they have to run and they have to come onto our4x5 patio. So smoke bombs for this one too.