Walls, balls, squirrels et al.

A while ago I mentioned that I planned to replace my desk seat (an ancient block of polystyrene) with a Swedish ball. I duly bought one… but I go the size wrong. DSCN9306I’d need to have shorter legs, or a very long body to make this workable. So I thought I would use it for its proper purpose – exercise. I checked out some websites and there were some good moves to be done with a flat piece of wall*. So I walked round our house looking for an appropriate piece of wall. We have a plenty of rooms, but – one of our daughters and several of our friends are artists, my husband is an archivist and historian, I have been collecting books from childhood onwards… I could not find a single large enough area of wall for me and the Swedish ball in the whole house. I am still puzzling over this.

A couple of days ago we met the smallest squirrel in the area on his first day out. DSCN9271 - Version 2 DSCN9276 - Version 2 DSCN9278He wasn’t entirely sure who to be friends with, what to eat or where to go.

One of my prettiest acer seedlings, the only purple dissectum, got caught by the frost three weeks ago, DSCN9190 - Version 2and has now definitely bitten the dust. I cannot complain as all the others that I transplanted have survived appalling wind and frost (I have been turning the garden into a ghosttown at night with white fleeces every where). The mature maples are now in lovely spring leaf.

Acer palmatum Sengo Kaku

Acer palmatum Sengo Kaku

Acer palmatum Trompenburg

Acer palmatum Trompenburg

Some spring flowers are already going over, but I still love tulips when they grow blowsy,DSCN9308and the Kraken is awaking (see Monster Hosta post).

Hosta Sum and Substance

Hosta Sum and Substance

We have a friend staying and yesterday went to visit Audley End in Essex. I am suffering from greenhouse envy. DSCN9296

*Memo to self try to avoid text with the words ball, wall, movement etc, it is very difficult to keep it clean.

40 thoughts on “Walls, balls, squirrels et al.

  1. While you are facing more sun with warmth, here it should eventually get cooler. Not as yet, this morning it tried and was 3C but within three hours climbed to 20C. I love the acers, they thrive here in the Southern High-Lands.
    Good luck with the walls and balls and exercise.

    • I don’t know about you, but I find this instant rapport with the other end of the globe rather unsettling, as it make the seasons spin faster. Hope the book is going well. I have yet to find a wall in order to exercise with… lets leave it there.

  2. Beautiful acers, gorgeous greenhouse! I love all your experiments with finding the perfect seat – haven’t forgotten that chunk of Styrofoam. What’s next?

    • I have been very lucky with the maples and I have started to dream of a rearrangement on the other side of the house – removing ancient concrete path and surrounding our paved sitting area with all these infant maples. My unfortunate husband is quaking as I get out the tape measure and the drawing pad.

  3. I think I have Japanese Maple envy. I also would be hard put to find a blank wall in my home, and I can’t imagine sitting on a large ball like that—would one have delusions of grandeur, beginning to fantasize about sitting on top of the world? I did read once, though, that the chair is the source of most of our health problems, here in the West….it was in a book about Eastern cultures and the virtues of sitting on the floor or not at all. Your garden is looking lovely and I chuckled to read your memo….it saved me from having to say it myself.

    • I’d have even more trouble reaching the keyboard from the floor! I shall try a bigger ball first (it wasn’t a big outlay). Funny about sitting on the world, my old typist’s chair had a cushion with a map of the world on it. I had to laugh as I started this post, because every which way I wrote about the problem, it sounded more and more suggestive.

  4. In the very first full novel I ever wrote (the one that’s never seen the light of day), I had a character who sat on an exercise ball rather than a chair. Your posts reminds me I should dust her off and use her in a new book!

    Loved your note to yourself at the end. I imagine that search could indeed lead you to some odd places. 🙂

    • Isn’t it amazing how you can write about something straight out of your head and then read about it in the paper a week later. Put her in a book, I hope she’s a tad more glam than I am. You won’t believe how many words and sentences I had to reject, and it still sounded iffy.

      • Ah, but I’m such a soft-hearted boob that I would probably plant a whole hedgerow of nut-trees (presumably not just oaks then from your comment?) just for them. It’s for similar reasons that we now have the perma-kittens. It’s nice to have your heart stolen from time to time. I wonder if he’ll hang around.

      • Hazel trees. I used to harvest the nuts, but I gave up years ago and we enjoy the squirrel antic instead. From the racket they are making, I think he has taken to annoying the robins today.

  5. The ball is a good purchase, Hilary. There are so many fun exercises you can do with it. Just put your legs on it under 90 degree angle at knees and do sit ups. Or put it under your belly and walk on your arms around 🙂 I thought it was called Swiss ball. We also call it a Pilates ball. Just don’t throw it away. Your garden stuff is impressive. No need to be jealous of a greenhouse 😉

    • You are absolutely right, it is a Swiss ball (I had my Swedish cousin staying so I had some crossfire in my mind). Thanks for the tips about exercises without walls, at least it won’t be wasted now (I wouldn’t dream of throwing it away).

  6. I loved seeing and reading this, Hilary. My parents-in-law got those workout balls, too [I get the feeling they don’t use theirs, though]. I saw one for sale at a yard sale the other day, too; black and it was already inserted into its own little chair (plastic and not so sturdy). The kids loved pushing the big, orange ball around in grandma’s backyard a summer or two ago. Also, love all the foliage and flowers; it would be nice to have a greenhouse, in one respect, but I expect I’d get behind on other things I ‘should’ be doing inside the house, if I had a greenhouse to tend to. Oh, and finally, what a neat coincidence: my husband got his MLS degree in archiving as well, although he does not come from a history background, but anthropology.

    • Nice to come across another archivist, they are a special breed. I meet quite a few if I join my husband at conferences, but in the outer world you rarely meet them. You are right about the strains of adding a greenhouse. Even in retirement it is one of too many things to remember… I just went out to close the greenhouse door, ventilation is a daily, sometimes hourly, requirement.

  7. Pinterest is full of exercises without a wall to try 😊.
    I remember my Mum bought a ball and Tom thought he’d do some push ups lying on it, he had a shark tooth on a leather necklace and it burst the ball when he rolled off it 😄.

  8. Love the photographs, but I am not so keen on squirrels. I’ve had to get creative protecting bird seed from them, and two years ago they dug up and ate 50 crocus bulbs I’d just planted. A fiend assures me that a squirrel is just a rat with good PR.

    • We usually feel the same way about squirrels, I guess the infants of almost any species engender protective ahs! We too have anti-squirrel bird feeders, and I resent their work on bulbs, though they are so well fed on the nuts growing in our garden that they generally leave us the bulbs. I agree about the rat aspect, and I you’re right about the good PR. It’s Beatrix Potter and a pretty tail that does it.

  9. I have wondered about your hedgehogs, Hilary my lamb, and am delighted to read mention of them. As for squirrels … I’d be happier if these grey ones hadn’t entirely displaced those glorious red ones. But whatever, it gives me the greatest pleasure to get back in touch with you, admired one.

    • I replied to this in great excitement, happiness and delight at your reappearance, the instant I saw it. Now I see no reply. What is happening to WordPress? Hope all is well with you. Have you moved? Sending hugs across the airwaves.

      • All is well indeed ! – I am now living down south in Geelong, in a tiny wee unit with Lui Stringer not enjoying the closeness of the world outside. I absolutely love it. My dearest friends are here – what’s not to revel in ?!
        But no longer do I spend hours at my desktop machines: now it’s laptop only, and in between getting myself sorted: today, for instance, I shall be at a local medical practice, begging a doctor to accept me as a bulk-billing patient. If she will not, I must sign myself in with a bulk-billing practice many kilometres away. This is the sole negative thing about living in Victoria (rather than New South Wales) that I’ve found. I am happy; and one day I shall sort myself out also with regard to WordPress. Meanwhile I glory vicariously in your latest achievement, HCG ! XO

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