Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Back from the Borders. They are quite shockingly pretty; I always forget. They have those lovely green folded hills and mountains which look as if they are made of velvet. Sometimes, in the thick yellow light, the country looks almost Italian, faintly reminiscent of the slopes of Lake Como.
There were very old friends; one rekindled acquaintance, who had grown funnier and more fascinating with age; and several people I had never met in my life. I laughed a lot, pontificated excessively, drank slightly too much good Burgundy, and wore my red patent wedges. I had to apologise twice for bombast. My social skills are creaking from lack of use, so when I do go out, I get very over-excited and have a fatal tendency to shout and wave my arms about. Thus: slightly angsty apologies. Luckily, everyone was most charming and forgiving.
The Pigeon was a tremendous hit. There were two particularly adorable little girls who fell in love with her. She has a profound affection for children. On Saturday, we were out on the hill when violent wind and rain came howling down the valley. The small girls decided that they would keep The Pigeon warm by rubbing her all over with their gloved hands, to get the circulation going. ‘Oh Pigeon,’ they said with a dying fall, as they gazed on her slightly plaintive wet face.
Tired now after my social exertions. Since I am used to being silent for days on end, forty-eight hours of non-stop talking takes it out of me, as if I have been competing in some marathon athletic event. So today’s blog is shockingly brief. I give you some pretty pictures of the Borders in compensation. They even have snowdrops down there, great pale carpets of them, enchanting the woods. Two hundred miles north, we have no sign of snowdrop yet. Although I did see the first daffodil shoots this morning, which have appeared, like a miracle, in the two days since I have been away. It is the first official mark that there will, one day, be spring.
And, back at home, the fledgling daffs:
The wonderful mossiness of the grass:
I became rather fascinated by the mossy grass, and took a while to work out the best way to capture it in a photograph. There was a great deal of crouching, and bending, and lying down on the ground in order to get the best angle. In the middle of a particularly inelegant squat, a smart gentleman drove up, and asked where he might find The Landlord. Clearly they had some kind of business meeting.
I gave directions. The fellow gave absolutely no sign, not by the flicker of an eyelid or the twitch of a cheek, that he had come upon me squatting down on the ground, taking photographs of the mossy earth. It must have appeared a frankly peculiar thing to be doing. To make it worse, I had my new super-stereophonic headphones on, and was so moved by the sound quality that I was singing tunelessly and very loudly along to Everything But The Girl. And I was wearing my most ancient green velvet coat with the holes in, and bits of tattered lining drooping out of the sleeves, and one shoulder faded to olive by the sun.
He addressed me as if I were the Duchess of Alba. The more I think of this, the more I believe that he must have a most remarkable mother, who taught him the best manners in Scotland.
My own dear hills:
And finally, the perfect canine guest. She really did behave with tremendous decorum:
I am not ashamed to admit I was very proud of her.