Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11th November


The hedge man worked until late afternoon yesterday, and left his ladder in place.


In the twilight it looked a bit melancholy, with its broken bottom rung, and reminded me of The Draughtsman's Contract, which I hadn't thought about, or seen anything of, for many years, which seems odd since it was very popular when it came out, and the 17th and 18th centuries seem to be quite in vogue just now. In fact I rather wish I hadn't read the above-linked-to review, which contains spoilers, as it might be interesting to watch it again some time. One of the few things I do recall about it was the ladder was shaped like the one in the photo, rather elegantly splayed at the bottom, and I hadn't seen ladders like that, to my recollection, until we came to France, when I remember thinking they looked like the ladder in The Draughtsman's Contract. We have one too. It's a very practical design and safer than those which are parallel all the way, but I suppose they are more awkward for artisans to carry about with them on their vans and such like.

Today was a public holiday, Armistice, which was still, unconscionably, called Victoire 1918 when we first came to live here, when it was less than eighty years since the event and still within living memory for some of our neighbours.  The hedge man was keen to work for the morning, promising to start at the bottom of the garden so as not to disturb the rest of the village. When I came back from last night's concert* the new people next door appeared to be having a very quiet and decorous party with several cars parked around all carefully not blocking my way into our drive. So I was rather sorry to be the anti-social buggers with the noisy garden power tools going first thing in the morning disturbing everyone's day-off hangovers. But as Tom said, no one's permitted to object to hunter's guns blasting across the fields on Armistice Day, which we find ironically offensive. Didn't hear too many today though.

We got out after breakfast and raked and piled leaves and cuttings throughout the day, and now feel quite virtuously tired.

*remarkably, delightfully good, a very impressive foursome playing a string of short 19th century Russian pieces, including a couple of little known Rachmaninov string quartets and serenades, sarabandes, polkas and mazurkas by some other quite unheard of composers.


8 comments:

Zhoen said...

Growling roaring wood chipper in our driveway, as the last two obnoxious trees ceased to be.

marja-leena said...

Remembrance Day holiday here in Canada, with events in many places but we stay home. Some garden chores beckon as it's a sunny day between rainstormy ones. I have often suggested that we get one of those ladders for pruning our very tall trees but so far hubby manages with the regular straight sided ones.

The film is in our library! Good thing you warned about spoilers before I read the whole review.

polish chick said...

oh my, reminds me of my early 20's when peter greenaway's work was all the rage. i saw several of his films and loved them for their lushness. thank you for the reminder.

your garden is quite beautiful! normally i'd be walking waist deep in snow right now and feeling twinges of jealousy, but although our leaves are long gone, the lawns remain green and fall just goes on and on.

Catalyst said...

I (he said with non-virtuous pride) raked some leaves last week. Today I spent coaxing my bitch computer to do stuff like a good computer should.

I say if your neighbors have the rudeness to have a party to which you're not invited, then early morning power tools are your revenge and their desserts.

Roderick Robinson said...

And immediately my memory is enlivened: remembering the way the draughtsman constantly uses a sort of frame to try and control what he sees, the boiling up of more or less unexplained passion, and the heartless denouement which is, nevertheless, never gratuitous, distance helping. An inevitability which I'm supposed to respond to in Greek myths but rarely do, not being able to absorb the randomness of the Gods.

Twenty-four hours later I'm watching a tiny slender, beautiful Russian woman in Birmingham constructing an absolutely thunderous account of Shostakovich's second piano concerto. A mere 18 mins, Slavic but transcendentally so, so that I'm not irritated by those over-expressive bits and pieces that litter the musical language of the steppes. Rather foolishly I turn to VR and say, inappropriately, "A triumph for feminism." while everyone around is stamping their feet and saying Bravo. Average age of the stampers so appallingly high.

To find that you, almost at the same time, are being exposed to "a couple of little known Rachmaninov quartets" and I'm terribly pleased for no good reason. Or perhaps a very good reason. That both of us are able briefly to turn away from Russia's ludicrous present-day assertions amd hang on to stuff that may outlast drugging in sport and - even! - the Greek tragedy that somehow has been transported to Syria. International time-travel if you like. One always goes first-class.

Avus said...

Those splay-bottomed ladders, Lucy. Memories of a 13 year old picking cherries for pocket money, when such were used all over Kent. In those days cherry trees were over 50 feet high and the ladders similarly. One had to ask the mature, male farmworkers to move them for us and that usually meant a tip on wages pay-out day.

Catalyst said...
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Lucy said...

Thanks all, that one got a surprisingly good response!

Z - these bits of kit are noisy, but they do an efficient job, wonder what people did without them. While trees are wonderful and necessary things, it doesn't do to get too sentimental, like anything else in the wrong place they can be a nuisance.

ML - hope you enjoy the film. We've not been in the garden much today, they hedge man's put in a long day though, but the noise gets tiring.

PC - I certainly enjoyed that one, though I remember little of the story, more of the atmosphere. I don't remember seeing any subsequent ones. They don't seem to ever come up on the TV at all now. It's still incredibly mild here, I just hope this continues for a month or so, we've travel and visitors scheduled which I don't want disrupted, come January I don't mind too much what it does!

Cat - bravo you! I'm not sure I'd be too desperate to join the neighbours' party, that they're quiet and rarely seen is fine with me! (I deleted your final comment but kept it in my inbox).

Robbie - Music for TDC wasn't bad either, was it, Michael Nyman? The quartet concert was a real surprise, tucked away in the rather unpromising internal chapel - wide room, badly lit, low ceilings - of the local retraite. Not a bad turnout though, and appreciative; my pianist friend I met there, who's a great Rachmaninov fan didn't know the string quartets at all. They were early enough to be considered properly Russian too, I think. Main downside was I entered by the main reception and was shown the way by a young guy through ill-lit courtyards and corridors, within one of which I tripped over a wheelchair ramp and crashed onto my knees and wrists, which left me feeling somewhat rattled. The music soothed me eventually though. So sad about Russia, isn't it? Such a warm, culturally rich people in so many ways, and yet...

Avus - that's a good story! A bit tight on you that you had to give away some of your wages to the big blokes though.