Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I buy more plants. If in doubt, there must be the getting of plants. I get three cyclamen, a small cotinus shrub, so dark in colour it is like very ancient, venerable claret, three bright laurels, some rosemary, and some more lavender.
When I get back, I discover that the next Test has started, and England have suffered a catastrophic batting collapse. That’s not right, I think. I hardly dare listen to the end of Test Match Special, but then lovely Stuart Broad stages a tremendous rally, and saves England’s blushes. I find myself oddly excited by this. I did not quite expect that, as I entered the middle of middle age, I should turn into a cricket nut. I also never expected that I should find a game that goes on for five days, and quite often ends in a draw, so edge of the seat exciting.
The sun comes out, and I go outside to look at the evening light. The Older Niece comes past. I drag her into the garden to look at the cyclamen. She very kindly admires them.
‘And look at the blue planting,’ I say.
‘Yes,’ she says. ‘The blue planting.’
I fear I am becoming a garden bore, and that the family is being very, very polite about it.
Then the Brother roars up. He is wearing an interesting hat.
‘Come and look at the cyclamen,’ I say.
So then he too admires the cyclamen.
We stand in the yellow light, thick as honey, and talk about mortality.
‘I’m having a bit of trouble getting past the everybody dies thing,’ I say.
‘Oh yes,’ he says. ‘Well, that is a thing. It’s a bastard.’
We talk of concepts of the soul, fear of death, the Dalai Lama, and Plato. The usual stuff.
He gets back into the car.
‘Where are you going?’ I say. ‘In your special hat.’
‘To buy anchovies,’ he says.
The Pigeon gives him a big grin. He drives off. I think: yes, there are all the big questions about life and death, but there still must be anchovies.
Here is the astonishing Scottish light:
On the astrantias:
The amazing new cyclamen:
The faithful old salvia:
The new blue planting of the geraniums:
The view over my garden gate, to the south:
The Cotinus tree:
The blue and white bed, which now has a splash of vivid colour in it:
And, saving the best for last, the smiling face of my Pigeon:
Oh, oh, oh, that face.
I think: one cannot get too exercised about mortality when there is that face to gaze upon.