annanotbob2's Diaryland Diary


woodlands and downlands

Today has been the best day for ages. A goldfinch has built a nest in the echium outside my bedroom window and comes to sit in it every few hours. I am made over with this - I can't quite see what's going on there and my phone isn't good enough to zoom right in. It doesn't look as if there are eggs unless they're under a layer of fluff, but who knows. I am already a bit obsessed. Echiums are these mad plants that grow to about fifteen or twenty feet in a month or two, have a stem full of flowers that the bees love, then die, setting seed all around for more next year. I never expected a bird to nest in one.

In Tuesday art group we were painting Eric Ravilious's The Chalk Path, a 1935 watercolour of the hills near where I live and my suggestion. The internet started being a complete and utter cunt, and the painting was hard - I wanted to know how to make the hills look like grass so needed the instruction but couldn't hear more than a word every few minutes and the picture kept vanishing. I texted my pal D, also in the group to tell her I was leaving and why and she invited me to hers, to hop onto her internet. Oh man - I grabbed my watercolour crayons, and a few bits and was round at hers within about five minutes. So lovely - she'd set up a table for me in the sun outside her art shed where she was getting on with her own work and just listening to the chat from the group. Her mum came out to say hello - D still lives at home because she's only 24 and not working due to mental health shit - her mum is younger than my Sammie would be. It felt a bit weird for a moment there but then it was just great. My picture was awful, the worst I've done for ages, partly because I'm not familiar with the crayons and partly because I couldn't see the screen in the sunshine. But I remembered what J had said and painted over it with gouache when I got home. My biggest lesson was that yellow ochre and ultramarine blue makes exactly the kind of murky greeny brown that Ravilious uses for end of summer downlands. So in the end I was quite pleased.

Then off to the garden centre to pick up some young runner bean plants - too late to sow seeds now - what was I thinking? Then I went with my little dog to the nearest woods - I looked them up on my sat nav - I'm several years late falling in love with my sat nav, but there you go. As I was parking my car in a village I've never been to before a bloke told me I'd find sheep and lambs down this lane and bluebell woods down that one. We went for the sheep and lambs and it was so cool - these four adolescent lambs were thrilled to see Shirley and she was thrilled to see them. Tails wagging in all directions, heads together through the fence - aw!

Then onto the bluebell woods, the nearest thing to heaven you can find on earth. Lots of twisty paths to follow so no need to worry about trampling the flowers, no one else there, the sound of birds shouting their heads of, a scent to die for, fresh new leaves on the trees, blue sky peeping through, sunlight, warm, bloody lovely.

Home for yoga and the best dinner of leftover bits and pieces which had all mellowed into richer flavours.

Bit of Bob Marley on the telly - forty years ago today he died, shocking.

Blog, bed.

Three Good Things:
1. Being somewhere so close to home that I've never been to before - like going on holiday.
2. Daughter's doing a play - a live play in a theatre - and she's put me on the guest list for the Saturday matinee. Woo hoo!
3. My pal J signed up to do the self-editing workshop I'm doing on zoom on Friday - she's my best writing buddy - then we're going to the woods via lunch. Plans. I've perked right up.

Be safe. xxxx

10:34 p.m. - 11.05.21


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