Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Trusting the National

 We rely on the National Trust for many things in this house, not least the vast apple orchard at the entrance to Ardress House at this time of the year! Not sure that they should trust us when we arrive for windfalls enough for a crumble!
 I looked up "scrumping" on t'Internet and The Wall Street Journal talks about how this is a "a fast-growing trend in urban London and throughout the U.K". I am surprised. I thought it had been de rigueur for centuries. A Robin Hood formula equating the haves (apple trees)  and the haves (apple trees) not. The WSJ continues: " These women are part of a growing army of guerrilla fruit pickers" who have their own group called Abundance. Here in the Frozen North we're just Trusting the National!
 Our favourite October spot is The Argory, just down the road from Ardress. We have been leaf admiring and conker collecting here for whole Autumn seasons of small boys to bigger boys. Though no conkers to be seen this year- not at the Argory and not even on our own new to us chestnut tree- apparently the wet summer and warm, dry Autumn have combined to confuse nature out of this particular abundance. Our blackberries are very late in ripening too- much to Mattman's disgust with all his jam-making plans.
 Mostly what we trust the National Trust to provide for us is all year long opportunity to run and walk and play and just be outside. Last year at The Argory they expanded their adventure playground- just in time for two high-octane suns of mine. The "who is that trip-trapping over my bridge" bridge was getting slightly too small for my own burgeoning harvest. Now there is even more scope for running and jumping, high and far.
 I confined myself to the swing. There was energy to be preserved for scrumping... (Don't tell!)

Friday, 9 October 2015

In which my bookroom reveals itself to be, in fact, a sloth

At least two years ago we had a Hungry Caterpillar calendar. Full of inspiration I photographed every month's picture come year's end with full and firm intention of blogging monthly on my reading accomplishments. Sigh. Here I am just about managing to mark last month's end, and what spectacular accomplishments do I present?
"A Woman in Arms" by Russell Braddon: The story of Nancy Wake. This is a book written for older children. Just about my level of intellectual endeavour these days! I have actually been much struck by my need to reawaken the little grey cells. Last week I decided to inspire myself to spiritual creativity on the domestic front, and virtuously took The Hidden Art of Homemaking to bed. I managed two paragraphs before conceding that I have a concentration span worse than either of my suns. On a bad day. This discovery has not at all been much dissipated by my being on a twilight course for work this month. There is the prospect of an essay ahead. An essay! I haven't written one of those in...

I digress. Low concentration. Nancy Wake. This is a story that needs read in adult format. Far too much Enid Blyton cavorting in woods, admittedly with machine guns instead of ginger beer. She seems to have preferred copious amounts of champagne. I was conscious the whole time of a darker, grittier tale beneath. A woman in her twenties, leading thousands of French Resistance guerillas in the months following D-Day? Much more to be unearthed, if I only had the grey cells.

I found the story in our school library. Somehow I have had the glorious fortune to have been assigned to helping there two periods a week. One hour and twenty minutes of tidying the shelves in what is a quite superlative collection. So I'm afraid there may be more young adult books ahead!