Catching up… and falling behind

Progress on one front is always balanced by a lag on another. The sun only shines at erratic intervals in the UK, you need to get out there and get to work. In the last two weeks we have reduced this DSCN7002to this.DSCN7095

I have spread it round the garden and some parts are done (darling crocus – Blue Pearl).



Others are half done – the veg bed.

DSCN7100While others are hardly begun…

The DIY is still pending. If you think watching paint dry is boring, trying watching plaster… DSCN7042  DSCN7107
And yet we have made progress in one room.


On the writing front Alison Williams has   added to her review of Border Line on Rosie Amber’s site, by giving me an interview on her own. and I have done some work on my Far East POW book.

Meanwhile the drizzle of emails has reached blizzard proportions, but the sun is shining and I must get out.

Tomorrow garden, writing, DIY or blog and email catch-up? I’ll have to roll a dice, check the colour of the sky or design a grid to show which is most urgent. This appeared two evenings ago. DSCN7058

38 thoughts on “Catching up… and falling behind

  1. DIY, veggie gardens, etc., are only fond memories for me now..well, sort of fond. Having lost my partner of 43 years and developed serious joint pain, the amazing too-muchness is impossible now. Only the reading of several books at once remains. Gather ye rosebuds…etc., my friend!

    • I am sorry about losing your partner. I know it will be our turn and that one of us will need a smaller house and garden/no garden one day. You are absolutely right, I am madly gathering rosebuds, and I am well aware that this is a window in our lives between our years of earning plus caring for sick relatives and the years of nursing our joints (mine are fairly ropy from years of sculpture already). In my work I used to meet couples younger than us, coping with early-onset dementias, they never had these years. There will always be books, especially poetry, thank goodness.

  2. Busy, busy… but the bag of mulch shows definite progress. Peggy and I have been on the road this past week, celebrating my birthday and gathering blog and book material. –Curt

  3. What a wonderful mishmash of thoughts, Hilary ! 🙂 Mulching – something I’ve never done in my life ! – has always looked to me like something simply too finicky to do … all that dumping on plants and then clearing off ’em … I reckon that’s a pretty terrific review, and I compliment you on it ! Mary Renault and Josephine Tey I totally agree with; may I suggest to you Hilary Mantel’s stunning historical trilogy and Rose Tremain’s “Music and Silence” and “Restoration” ? These are two historical writers whose contemporary works I don’t like at all; but when they’re steeped in the past – wow !

    • Mishmash is an excellent description of my state of mind (in spite of daily meditation). You are absolutely right about mulching, actually I am really doing soil improvement, just mixing something more solid and water retentive into our thin dry sandy earth – a lot of forking! Glad you are with me on Renault (I like her modern, i.e. WWII, stuff too) and Tey. I though Wolf Hall was fantastic, but I simply can’t face any more medieval torture and shenanigans, so Bring up the Bodies is still unopened on my shelves (try her autobiographical work Giving up the Ghost – very short). I’m with you all the way on Rose Tremaine.

  4. No doubt about it. Admin comes last. You need to be out welding and mulching. Your achievements are plentiful but there is always a sense of success in doing something enjoyable and productive. My current experiences of buying and planning the renovation of our new house leave me praying that there will be a reward at the end. I am missing the time to do the things I enjoy most and the days are ticking away. I am definitely pro-choice and have given a very clear view on what I would consider an acceptable quality of life. It does not include shopping.

    • I agree, shopping comes way down. Though I love every minute of planning renovations. There is nothing I enjoy more than making scale drawings and moving little bits of shaped paper around (each to his own). True spring is still a month away, hopefully you will be more settled by then and can spend time watching birds and planning your (budget) arboretum.

      • The designers has 3D plans to show us yesterday and they are a lot of fun. I complained that they didn’t have Lulu anywhere in the drawings. They promised to add her in.

      • Hooray designers who adapt the the customer rather than the other way round! You would need at least twenty different versions of Lulu, so you could see her influence in every room… that is assuming you have 20 rooms of course.

  5. Gardening, house renovations, writing books and dealing with reviews. Can one get any busier? Here on the Highlands and at the tail end of summer it was 9c this morning and in Venice it was 10c.

    • Well I suppose I could go out an actually earn something (though I’m a bit long in the tooth now). Throughout my life I’ve perfected the art of being insanely busy without bringing in much cash. Luckily I have a more productive husband. 9c sounds a bit chilly, that’s about what it was here today and it is due to go up to 16c over the weekend!

  6. Hilary, I love seeing your garden with the cyclamen leaves and the little crocus showing themselves. I share these with you! I love mulching, and it is improving the soil all the time.
    That last photo is so delicate and beautiful!

    • Thankyou. The rainbow was fabulous, but I don’t have a wide angle lens on my little camera, so couldn’t get it all in the picture. There are moments when I wonder why have any other projects than gardening.

  7. I am so with you on “Bring Up the Bodies,” Hilary. I just can’t face any more of Mantel’s fantastic ability to evoke how dreadful these deaths actually were. I would have to put Wolf Hall down at points just to recover from the gruesomeness.
    Huge fan of mulching. Not the doing, mind you, but the wonderful side effects. My soil in central VA is the hard red clay you’ve probably read about and not conducive to healthy plant life. Therefore the addition of as much organic matter as possibly is what my gardening life is all about. Feed the soil, not the plants!

      • Yes, British history is embarrassingly gruesome, giving us little moral high ground.
        I like to mulch as much as possible with my own compost, but it is totally inadequate, so I succumb to the BIG bags now and again.No need for lime in our part of the world. We are stones, including much flint, and sand on a layer of chalk. In spite of this lovely things grow and I am getting more ambitious with the veg.

  8. Know exactly what you mean, Hilary. It seems like for each step forward sometimes, I fall back another couple. We are (once again, like last year) behind on our indoor plantings. We always like to have at least a small vegetable garden. I always have super-ambitious plans, then don’t get the half of them done in the time or manner I hoped. I suppose “life” just tends to intrude. I’m glad you’ve had nice weather to take advantage of, at least a few days ago. Ours is just now improving, starting about March 7th. Thank goodness, Spring seems to be right ’round the corner. I’d better get going on the cuttings, pronto!

    • Hope spring comes to you very soon. This being the UK, we are alternating sunny weather and frosts. So I now have seedling veg sprouting in the greenhouse and I have to decide,e on what feels like an hourly basis, whether to open a vent or cover everything with fleece.

  9. By the by, Hilary, if you haven’t already, you might like to read poet Robert Okaji, who’s here on WordPress. He has a chapbook being published soon (slated for early April 2015, I think), called If Your Matter Could Reform ( I’ve been reading him for awhile now and, I think, as a result have become a better writer myself–with fewer rococo phrasings, believe it or not. Not to mention that I’ve simply enjoyed reading his poetry.

  10. I am very much looking forward to more posts that connect to this one. I am sure your passion for gardening will “bear fruits” 😀

  11. Can’t wait for the Easter break to finish Borderline and find out what happens, I got up to Grace’s guilt, enjoying how it’s all opening out. Just in a quick break of chorus rehearsals for Sir John in Love but I can’t read novels during this down time because I need to concentrate to soak in the plot.

  12. Thank you for leading me to your blog. I’ve browsed around a bit, enjoyed every minute of it, and will be back. PS: I envy you your gardens. They’re marvelous. It snowed where I live today and gardening seems a long way off.

  13. Hilary, you are phenomenal in juggling your tasks. Not only must you be malleable but be abe to change you mental focus on a dime… Or is it a shilling there? And as I spread mulch myself a few months ago, your back must be cast in iron!

    • Ahh, there are advantages to being a scatterbrain. My husband’s face is sometimes a picture as I leap from one subject to another. I do sometimes injure my back… and it is always my own fault as there is usually a warning twinge, but magically it is still working after all these years.

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