Friday, 4 November 2011

What weather this week! I know that it is very British to go on about the weather but when you live where everything changes so dramatically it is difficult not to. Mind you, those living on the east coast of America where they have had such early heavy snowstorms probably feel the same way.
First day in November: the sun is shining and it is so warm that Marcia and I drink our morning coffee outside sitting on the bench on the terrace looking down into the pond garden.
Looking down towards Cornwall. The tree to the right is a black mulberry that was given to Marcia by her previous publishers, Hodder Headline, about ten years ago.

It is all very odd this year. There is an azalea which has just come into flower. Stupid plant, does it not know that it should be waiting until late February? The azalea isn’t the only early bird – the mahonia too is in full flower. Meanwhile some of the nasturtiums are still blooming as are some gazanias: both plants should have given up a couple of weeks ago. 
I suppose the most surprising thing was that Marcia picked some sweet peas and put them in a vase on the kitchen table. Sweet peas in November: unheard of.
Looking out from the kitchen as I write this (it’s now Wednesday) there is a watery sun but the ‛courtyard’ is still looking pretty good. We are surrounded by wonderful autumn colours. Nothing like the great swathes of maples in Canada, of course, but just as beautiful in a subdued and subtle way.
Over the last few weeks we have often woken up to magnificent dawns. Not this morning. The valley was filled with mist and you can barely see the fields opposite the house let alone Dartmoor. It's nice to see the sheep back in this field which has been empty for weeks.
Poor Marcia is juggling with lots of things just at the moment. This is making writing more difficult than usual and, on top of everything else, there was a leak in the bathroom which resulted in her study ceiling being badly stained. Dennis Hunt, who has looked after the decoration of the house ever since we bought it, is busy in there painting it. He was working there yesterday as well: stopping the cracks that had developed and I must say he has done a fine job. I had a feeling we might have had to re-plaster parts of it. Because the outside of the house is rendered and painted, Dennis refuses to allow us to grow anything up the walls and absolutely nothing like virginia creeper or ivy. Dictator!