Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Generally, I do not think of this as a personal blog. It's not supposed to be my daily diary. You know that I love to get my teeth into the ishoos, as Mr Anthony Wedgewood Benn likes to call them. It is absolutely imperative that you know what I think about the sovereign debt crisis or the use of unparliamentary language or whether Michelle Bachman with actually run for president.
This is the fantasy that exists in my mind. Actually, I can't remember the last time I wrote about any of those things. They hum away in my mind, but by the time I have finished my work and my brain goes phhtt, I am beyond parsing them. At the moment, it's only when something gets me very, very exercised indeed, like Mr Willetts and Ms Odone the other day on the matter of feminism, that I rush toward the big subjects.
At the moment, it seems that I cannot do much more than write my book. So, the blog has morphed, insensibly, into the cabinet of small things. It is a tale of soup and dogs and the first signs of spring. There is a part of me that thinks I should regret this. But there is a part of me that exults in it. I love the small things. The older I get, the smaller I want everything to be. Of course I still love nothing more than a great ideological argument. I still put my armour on and go into battle against moral relativism. My relentless fascination with the baffling machinations of the American political system still obtains. (So much bigger and stranger and more dramatic than ours.)
Yet it seems that age brings a new perspective: I see now that there is importance in the making of a soup. I am only half joking. I think it is to do with the Buddhist idea of being present. If one decides that only the big things have any meaning, then the danger is that one is absent for half one's life.
I like that I get hysterically excited when the ornamental Japanese cherry comes into flower, or when I see a particularly fetching piece of lichen, or when I hear the oystercatchers calling lovingly to each other, as they did all this morning. I like that I can gaze and gaze at my little vase of blood red carnations and feel as fortunate as if it were a vase full of Faberge eggs.
Today, my small thing involved canisters. (Go with it.) My kitchen cupboards are not things of order and beauty. Packets are terrible messy articles; they spill and sag and will not close properly. Someone more domestic than I suggested that I decant, as the organised people do. You know: buy containers and put the rice and the flour and the sugar in them. At first, I resisted this. I am damn well not going to morph into Martha Stewart at this stage in my life. Also, the usual canister is a horrid plastic thing, of no aesthetic value.
Then, the thin end of the wedge was inserted. I found some lovely white china storage jars, and into those went the pearl barley and the buckwheat and the oatmeal of Alford. (Very special Scottish oatmeal place pronounced 'Aff-ud'.) The problem is they are rather bulky and expensive and would not quite do the whole job. I almost lost heart. Bloody decanting. Then, yesterday, I found some lovely chic glass jars for TWO POUNDS EACH. Stifling my subterranean fear that the low price meant they were made in Beijing by Chinese children using their teeth, I ordered two, and they arrived this morning.
They are heaven. Into them went nuts and popping corn. I was so pleased that I took photographs. I went into decanting frenzy. Dog treats had also been delivered, in their ugly blue plastic packing. I was so excited that I tore them open and threw them into a nice glass vase. They look so pretty there I am going to keep all my dog treats in vases from now on.
Oh dear. Perhaps I have taken the small thing thing too far. Perhaps I should have written about the Portuguese bailout instead. European debt versus dog treats in vases. It's a very, very difficult choice.
Quick pictures of the thrilling decanting event:
And more usual photographs, of nature and stuff:
Even though everything is taking on a spring-like aspect, and buds are budding and tight green leaves are unfurling, most of the trees are still stark and bare:
But, in my little garden there is this:
And there is the great, high beauty of these:
And the dear old hill:
Can't quite believe I spoke to you today of canisters. I can only ask you to forgive.