Sunday, July 22, 2012

Molly and the mock orange ghosts; wine rack; hammock

Molly doesn't see or hear very well these days, but she doesn't let it hold her back, she has a rich and vibrant life of the imagination, and she likes to go outside and bark indignantly at total figments of it.

However, a few weeks ago, when the mock orange (philadelphus) was in bloom, we thought perhaps she might have some basis for her alarm: the two mysterious figures who could be seen conversing on the other side of the hedge.  In windy weather they nod and wave and gesticulate with particular animation.

In an attempt to enter more fully into the world of Molperception, the above editing job posits what things might look like with doggy colour-blindness and Molly-myopia to boot.

'Ahem, well, perhaps I'll just come in now...'


The cupboard-under-the-stairs is now all rubbed down and painted up, a job which gave me the opportunity to finish listening to the Naxos audio-book of The Divine Comedy, which in turn provided the chance to bemoan 'I've been through Purgatory in there!'. 

We then decided we needed polystyrene bottle racks in there to make the best use of the storage space; let's just nip down to the hardware shop outside Moncontour, we said, they're bound to have them there!  Three hours, three supermarkets and one DIY superstore later we finally brought them home weary but triumphant. Only to find they didn't quite fit the space.  I would have simply sliced the top layer off, but though the day was waning, next thing I knew, Tom was outside with a saw; 'Just hold it a moment' he said, and tell me when this cut meets that one!'

The resulting combination of angled sections, showing a preternatural spatial awareness combined with meticulous precision (and no protractor or template used), meant that the adjusted bottle rack slid perfectly under the turn of the stairs without a glimmer of daylight showing, an ounce of brute force required or a single bottle space unnecessarily lost.  I whooped with delight.

Reader, this is why I married him.

Today, summer at last. albeit a cool one, which is fine with me. A whole afternoon in the hammock, (hung under the back lean-to so as to profit from the sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, so I don't mind a bit sharing it with the washing line, the potting and work benches and some building materials) with Pierre-Jakez Hélias. Lovely.



marja-leena said...

An amazing and gorgeous garden, and husband too!

jo(e) said...

What a lovely garden!

Bruce Taylor, a.k.a. Catalyst said...

Your garden is so beautiful. And I love that wine rack!

the polish chick said...

i wonder if they have wine racks like that in north america. i love it!

Dick said...

Almost a poem: 'A whole afternoon in the hammock'. Oh, lucky soul!

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

This post matches other DIY epics, notably the one about pointing (which I once mistakenly referred to as grouting). But I finish up disappointed. Disappointment summarised by my father in response to a round of digestifs served up at some reataurant or other: "Thrice blessed be he who made the glass, thrice cursed be he who did the measuring.

I may be mistaken but I had the Ks down as topers. If so twelve (possibly thirteen) bottle slots is hardly sufficient for a reasonably convivial weekend. Unless the bottles contain cognac rather than table wine.

However, I am compensated by "and bark indignantly at total figments of it". I intend to plagiarise this somehow palindromic half-sentence without attribution.

Back to slots. Should you, Tom and Mol ever haul up chez da Ponte you may be reassured by our slot score: 77 + 48 = 125. Hot tip: ignore the bottles stored in the dining room and ask to inspect those under the stairs.

Anne said...

I do like your bushy conversation.

If only I could find a nice spot for a hammock!

Glenn said...

How funny to see that book in your hammock. During the final year of 'doing' geography at Cambridge College of Arts & Technology, we were granted access to the University library. I was trying to flesh out my knowledge of continental literature that evidenced the meaning of the landscape to the indigents (what a dreadful sentence), and stumbled upon that book. It cut no ice with the markers since they had no knowledge of this book, so wouldn't credit it with any relevance. They only wanted me to trot out the better known (by them)things, eg Zola. Nice to keep that chip shiny upon my shoulder.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

The garden was (almost) in a moment of balance at that point, and can be persuaded to take a flattering photo; all those lovely pink somniferum poppies came out at once and within a week or so were scruffy drumheads and yellowing leaves. But it has enjoyed the rain, it's as green there in July as it normally is in April.

Re the wine rack - I didn't know they weren't universal. The terra-cotta honeycomb variety are probably more picturesque, but these are very functional and useful, hold the bottles more snugly and keep them at a more constant temperature.

Dick - the irony is not lost on me that I am enjoying a book which honours and celebrates close knit communities forged by interdependence, hardship, and hard graft while wallowing in solitude, self-indulgence and idleness. It really was delicious though, and it's a great read.

Now Lorenzo, you have thrown down the gauntlet! That is only the top layer of that rack which extends downward to provide a total of 28 slots. In addition there is another rack round the corner just off-shot to the left with another 15 slots. Further, there are 12 more places cunningly built into the kitchen units by my ever resourceful life partner using quadrant and MDF. This is a total, if I calculate correctly, of 55 bottle slots, as well as ample shelf space dotted around the premises for sloe gin, opened bottles and other works in progress (sometimes referred to by Tom as 'Lucy's little secret stashes'. However, this clearly does not compete with your 125, and moreover, having perhaps reclaimed some kudos by this, I am in danger of losing it all again by confessing that we will probably never in fact fill even the 55, and that part of our kitchen counter-top is given over to bag-in-boxes, usually a Médoc or Saumur Champigny for Tom and often a Cabernet d'Anjou for me - I've come clean about that little foible before, I think, when I fancy going drier I sometimes go for a Corsican rosé.

Anne, it's not the most elegant setting, none of our trees is really mature enough to support me in a hammock, so we use the lean-to frame which is handily near to the house and very sturdy. Even so, I feel it's a leap of faith every time I lower myself into it! But I would recommend it, it's much more relaxing than any other kind of outside seating, even a quick 15 minutes in it seems to refresh the body and spirit. It is kind of a solitary pleasure though; Molly prefers the deckchairs, which she loves to sit under!

Lucy said...

Glenn - something weird is happening here: my life seems to be meshing with yours in some kind of circle, whereby the experiences you had at the onset of adulthood are coming to me at a more mature stage! I will happily join in giving your chip a spit and polish: I'm disgusted with your markers, who should have given you higher than average for originality and for making such a discovery, which is not so very obscure anyway. In fact, if you look the book up on Amazon, as well as finding that it has evidently always been more appreciated in the US than the UK - it was translated into English for the American market before being translated into Breton, which was of course Helias' first language - that it is frequently cited and referred to by other writers in all kinds of subjects and contexts. I've been meaning to read it since last year when we travelled the 'Route du Vent Solaire' from Audierne down to Penmarc'h in Finistere, which was named after one of his books and which takes in most of the places he talks about. I bottled out of reading it in French but had to order the translation from America. It was also made into a film by Claude Chabrol shortly after it came out. It's available on DVD from Amazon France, but not sub-titled; I'll treat myself to it sometime anyway, if your interested - and if you know the book it's probably easy enough to follow - I'll pass it on afterwards. Hard-line Breton nationalists didn't like him much because they said he was too romanticising and too pro-French. My friend Heather Dohollau, (who originated from Penarth and Cardiff and now lives in St Brieuc, wheels within wheels...) knew him personally, and says he was a lovely man.

Rouchswalwe said...

My slot score is 4. But in the basement there's a 72-bottle beer box! Lucy, thank you for giving us a glimpse of Molly's world. I couldn't help but think that some artists might see the world thus.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

Arguing about bottle-slot totals evokes Borges' reaction to the Falklands War: Like two bald men fighting over a comb.

Far better for us (and our guests) that we count the filled slots: 106 in our case.

Lucy said...

R - 72 green bottles...

Lorenzo! I can't believe we're vying for superiority about wine NOT drunk! In a kind of inverse way I am reminded of one of a series of claims about 'Real Women' I heard somewhere: 'Delia Smith says you should freeze leftover wine from dinner parties in ice cube trays for use in cooking later; Real Women say - what leftover wine?'

The Kemptons say 'What stored-up wine?'

(Here I would insert a smiley emoticon to reassure you of the amicable tone of levity and humour of this exchange, if I didn't fear you despise such practices...)

I like the Borges quote - he seems to have come up quite often lately - I like the poem about The Other Tiger which my sister sent me recently.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

You're right, undrunk wine is a sign of psychological inadequacy. Once, when I was much poorer I was terrified of merely running out of the stuff. Now I have to have sufficient red burgundy, white burgundy, a representative sample of what's best in Coteaux de Languedoc, four or five Californians (to show I'm broad-minded and not tied only to the Old World), rosé as proof I'm not always fearfully serious, etc, etc.

These are bad signs. When I detect that a guest is oenologically weak-minded I switch to pedagogic mode and, as you can see, I have the show-and-tells to make this stick. It's my way of taking revenge on formal education which left me emptier than I was when I started.

However the groaning racks offer one unequivocal benefit. When I'm wearied of using the corkscrew at dinner I can turn to younger daughter (Occasional Speeder) and say "Pick the best you can find." I think this gesture shows me at my best: close to being comatose, willing to cede all hostly duties, and a brief end to le snobbisme du vin.

Lorenzo da Ponte said...

I should have written that bit about emoticons. How many times have I woken at 3 am, recalled my latest gross comment and told myself "This time I went too far." And yet I open up Box Elder and find myself in receipt of a left cross and a right uppercut which prove that the inner spirit of what I'd written had been recognised. Your adoring commenteers have made much of your various qualities: let me add another: resilience.

Lucy said...

Lorenzo, combined with your TdF post and comments, this puts me in mind of an anecdote, which perhaps I will e-mail you later... ☺ (don't know if that one will come out, got it off the character map.)

zephyr said...

Haha!! Love that Molly girl!!