My recent trip across to the Irish rellies involved blushes at the Irish airport x-ray machine as my black and white puddings (the full range at the local Dunnes, including extra Denny's, three sodas (two white and a wholemeal) and three "Grinder" loaves (no, I hadn't heard of these either)), but made for a great breakfast this morning. Two cups of tea then off to my favourite client's for more tea and a check on progress. We're awakening her sleeping garden. Other gardeners call this a "renovation project". I brought with me a picture cut out from last Saturday's Telegraph of some Japanese garden with strange, naked trees ruthlessly clipped into "clouds". I think it was in the travel section, because there's no way Helen Yemm would tolerate that sort of thing on her pages.
As we walked over her lawns the grass was still wet with dew, the birds were calling, the planets were aligning... and then we arrived at the bank of trees. I don't know what it was; maybe the puddings, maybe the tea, maybe even the clearest of clear blue skies, but standing there we both decided, wordlessly, to hack the trees into order. Loppers, Felcos, even at one stage my Bosch jigsaw. After a couple of hours we sent an order into the house for tea, and stopped. We stood back and examined the carnage. The bank was now flooded with light, and those obnoxious little bits of stalky branches were all stripped back to reveal smooth branches running up to a pompom of leaves at the very tip. Actually, it looked really good.
Home for a quick change then off to Matlock to search for more treasures at the antiques centre. More linens, more crystal decanters to fill with scented bubble bath (thank you Kirstie Allsop and your Homemade Home's bathrooms), even a beautiful wooden breakfast tray. Then back home for lunch and the newspapers taken on the top terrace in my sun shiny garden. A delightful start to the next 31 days.