Posted by Tania Kindersley.
The Beloved Cousin calls. She is a remarkable human being. Even though she is in grief herself, she can still make me laugh; great shouting belly laughs. I think: if we can do that, we shall be all right.
We discuss the importance of cooking. It is the making of food that gives purpose and shape and meaning and point to days of sadness.
'It's what makes me get up,' she says; 'thinking of something lovely to cook.'
That, I think, and the trees, of course. And the birds are a most tremendous incentive. The swallows have come back to my shed, an annual occurrence which never ceases to amaze me. (How? How? All the way from Africa?) My mother also has a new pair of swallows, which is causing great excitement. My sister has a gang of swifts, who rampage about her eaves until all hours. Walking this morning, I saw two pairs of ducks on either side of the burn. Usually, there is only one pair. I hope there will not be fisticuffs. They are nesting, and the two rival camps eye each other with some degree of duckish suspicion.
It will be all right, I think, as long as there are the ducks. I really do think the most absurd things. But never mind.
I make salad with rocket and avocado and cucumber. I also have some new season asparagus. I am determined to eat as many green things as possible, for health and strength.
I go south tomorrow for another funeral. Once again, I pack the black jacket and the jewel. The least I can do is wear a good jewel. It's a matter of respect.
I ring my usual stopping-off hotel to book a room. They know me there.
'Two dogs?' the nice woman says.
My voice catches.
'No,' I say. 'Just one, now.'
I did not take any photographs today; here are a few from last week, of the twenty different shades of green that I love so much:
And the hill. It is not strictly today's hill, but there must be a hill, nonetheless: