The Bilberry Cottage Chronicles

February 2011

We are now 5 weeks into the New Year and a dismal grey affair it has been to date. I, and most people I know, seem to feel that life is on hold and we are waiting...but for what? Spring, that’s what!! And sun and warmth and colour. The older we get, the more in tune we are with cycle of the seasons and right now hibernation sounds like a very desirable option. Sir W fervently agrees and he, lucky little so n’ so, is in a position to indulge at least between the hours of 10pm (bedtime) and 5pm (going out time). The remaining five hours are for garden surveillance, punctuated by regular Arctic draught-inducing re-entries and exits via the conservatory door thus causing maximum discomfort to depressed couch potatoes, vainly seeking comfort in Corrie and Eastenders. However, today the sun has been shining for hours, Sir W has been sunbathing on the patio and bulbs are peeping out of tubs. Newly revealed dust aside, the house looks lovely and we still really like living here. My mood was so improved I even walked all the way to swimming (and back again) – a rash decision I shall no doubt regret tomorrow morning. Actually I have lost 11lbs over the past month via the fashionable Dukan Diet which is a good start but on Friday my energy was so low and the cottage cheese so unpalatable, I took the weekend off, eating everything and gaining one and a half pounds. So now it’s back to the old WW regime of counting points (calories) which means I can have (in moderation) bread, malt loaf, cheese and wine and feel life is still worth living. My motivation for weeks of deprivation is a return visit to Houston at the end of April, followed by a week’s beach holiday on the Florida Gulf coast – AND I WILL NOT RETUN TO THE US of A LARGER THAN I LEFT IT!!

While my optimistic mood lasted, I planted my Aldi tomato seeds (big success last year) and consulted the Gardening through the Year book which told me that February is an excellent month for digging out a garden pond. Well OK, that’s this weekend taken care of. For once I will have an answer to Brian’s inevitable Saturday morning enquiry as to the nature of “The Plan”. Instead of pulling the duvet over my head and pleading sleep deprivation, I will hit him straight between the lugs with a trip to the garden centre (tea and scones?) for a good quality liner followed by an afternoon of strenuous physical activity rounded off with a King Prawn Jalfreize from the local take away. He won’t know what’s hit him, although that will be me if he raises any objections to my latest pet project. Actually there was a pond here until about ten years ago and its outline is still clearly visible on the lower lawn. I don’t want any fish – just some bog-loving plants and lilies, of course, and if a few local amphibians fancy moving in, then so much the better.

Progress, of course, has been slower than one would have wished owing to the several convoluted mathematical calculations which Brian insisted were necessary before work could begin. However, we now have a deep and rather muddy puddle surrounded by much discarded turf, topsoil and the remains of the old patio which was discovered, in an unusual twist on many a TV Soap plot line, buried inside the old pond. Naturally Sir W is not impressed but the sight of Brian with his head almost level with the puddle and his legs writhing on the bank brought a certain twitch to his whiskers. As we are apparently waiting for rain to fill the new excavation (no chlorine treated tap water for us) it will be a while before planting can begin and the method in our madness become clear to our deeply unimpressed resident feline.

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