I wonder whether the Great Bon Dieu understands the irony of old age, he takes away sleep when our bodies are in the need of rest. In my case waking at 2-4-6-a.m. is de rigeur. Insomnia is part of the package.
So at. 5.00 this morning, rather than stay in bed and wonder how to place my body so it didn't get in the way of itself, I got up.
Across the landing and left into the little room. The sun was barely up. I did my Tibetan five which my osteopath tells me my body likes. It stretches everything in the right way, engages my mind as I count to 21 and works the breathing apparatus. In on the downward stroke and out on the upward, at least thats the theory.
I thought about going back to bed but decided I didn't want to waste the morning.
See The Great Bon Dieu does understand that time is not infinite and when you get to my age it is patently obvious that sleeping your life away won't get that novel written.
So I collected the dawters washing from her attic room, and bundled it up with ours and threw it down into the cellar. Put in the first load. And made a mental note to buy washing powder, fabric softener, tin foil and cat food, otherwise Emmy will starve, the oven will look like the inside of a Sezchaun wok and our clothes won't get clean.
I sat cross legged on the armchair facing East and meditated for 35 minutes. By now the morning light was filtering in through the window.
I'm reading 'SEPARATE LIVES' by Kathryn Flett, which I have to finish by Sunday since she's my paper reviewer, so I ran a bath. Not too hot and not too cold, dripped in four drops of palma rose and two tablespoons of pink rose powder.
When the water comes up to the drain stopper the water is just deep enough for me to be submerged. A white flannel covers my modesty and the bath pillow sighs as I rest my head. I read for at least 45minutes then got out, and dressed ready for a walk.
Just fishermens trousers, tee shirt and my trainers. I tied a mac round my waist just in case.
I turned right outside the cottage.
The trees, for the first time in 28 years, are bowing over the road. Arching with the weight of their foliage. The rain has created a brand new landscape.
Right down the back track and you could be forgiven for thinking you had landed in Montpellier. The Stone cottages and the smell. Not peppery more hot ashphelt. 15 sheep lay independently in the field. On the way back they were joined by two fat rooks.
The wheat fields, almost golden when surveyed in mass, but individually a kind of limey green beige, have taken a battering, there are rain tracks running through them. The wild scabious looked elegant in the morning light. Their big purple heads on spindly green necks stark against the dark grey clouds
The rain has fed the blackberries, this year jam makers will be in berry heaven but its the goosegrass - cleavers - that takes top prize.
Geese like to eat the burry grass, hence its name, but given that is has practically overgrown everything - from the holly to the ivy - I wondered what possible use goose grass had.
To be fair if theres that much of anything there has to be a use wouldn't you agree?
So I looked it up on good old Google and apparently;
'Dioscorides reported that ancient Greek shepherds used the barbed stems of cleavers to make a "rough sieve", which could be used to strain milk. Linnaeus later reported the same usage in Sweden a tradition that is still practiced in modern times'.
'In Europe, the dried, matted foliage of the plant was once used to stuff mattresses. Several of the bedstraws were used for this purpose, due to the fact that the clinging hairs cause the branches to stick together, which enables the mattress filling to maintain a uniform thickness'
NOT TO MENTION
'The roots of cleavers can be used to make a permanent red dye.'
By the time I got to my tree I was over excited. The grass was high but the tree itself had had its Ivy and Beech pruned so there was a clear bit of bark for me to place my lipstick kiss, the old gnarled knot I always smooch.
I walked through the outdoor pursuit centre, buckets of water waiting to land on my head from the Ash trees, Alders, and Cypress. Down the slope and a weeping Silver Birch had been planted to commemorate a climber who died on K2 in 1986.
The 135 million year old sandstone rocks line the walk. Climbers climb, lookers look and rabbits skitter through them. Squirrels run rings round them whilst crows and pigeons, skreiking like sentinels, walk the edges like winged tightrope walkers. It was only 8.a.m. so they were shouting the odds.
'A human, a human'.
The sounds of pigeon wings flapping like cotton sheets on a washing line.
Past the Norwegian Spruces and Giant Firs, left out onto the road and up the hill towards the new kissing gate. More rabbits and more fields of wheat. The sun came out, briefly, and my short shadow walked before me.
Through the two majestic oak trees and left up towards the farm. If I had wanted to take a short cut I could have jumped through the old kissing gate and walked shadily up two fields to my house, but the ground was wet.
Round the bend and a crow quarked so loudly that three flocks of birds left their tree houses and flew off over the fields and far away.
I had my timer, 15 minutes one way, 15, minutes the other. In the event I walked another 16 minutes, just 9 minutes shy of an hour.
Half an avocado down the hatch then the old man and I loaded the car up with broken glass, the old rusty incinerator, a knackered printer and a pile of white pipes that came from Gawd knows where, and drove to the tip.
I spilt ink all over me three pieces of clothing and the mac, so it was a quick change and down to Brighton.
My mothers shoulders are bony, her cheeks sunken and her eyes glassy but she is in tact. She was laughing, we were laughing, the nurses were laughing. Jim keeps reminding her that she forgets to remember that she forgets. More giggles
She still has spirit, but she refuses to get out of bed.
'Why should I?' she said cantankerously.
'Quite right.' We said, 'Your 90 you can do what you want.'
We left at lunch time and arrived home to thunder claps. The sky is very dark now, the thunder grumbling and growling somewhere near Rotherfield, I've had to put the lights on.
It's now 15.33 time to get down to some work.
I never complain about the weather, mostly I enjoy whatever's on offer, but just lately all this water has made me realise that there are only 20 weeks till Christmas and I cant remember what the sun looks like.
My hands are cold, my feet are cold, I cant get in the bath AGAIN, I'll just have to find some thick socks. And its Bastille day, the only consolation is that the weather is merde in Paris too.
Oh! Mon Dieu.......
Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes
Listening to your show now always find it really interesting. I like your writing and reading your blog sounds like to live in a really beautiful place.
I live in east London but have a really nice garden and see lots of foxes. I really love the mornings too but usually feel really tired later if I get up too early.
Thanks for entertaining me, best wishes Janicex
I loved the sentence:
"The sound of pigeon wings flapping like cotton sheets on a washing line".
Such a wonderful interview with Camila Batmanghelidjh Jeni but such a damming view of a society that allows a situation like this. Camila talks with such compassion, where is society's compassion?
So come on all our lovely bloggers dig out your old moblie phones and take them to Orange/T Mobile shops, please.
Well done girl with your walking! I love the detailed and graphic way you describe the wonders of nature around u as u stroll through the countryside. I also love the way you use your lipsticked lips to mark your territory, I mark mine differently...
Next time do the white flannel bathy thing after you exercise, it's a wonderful way to rest your body and massage your muscles and joints post workout.
I was intrigued to read about the 'chachkahs' u got rid of! Your yiddish is better than I imagined!
Glad to hear mother is stable.
All my luv,
Much love and how wonderful to see my lovely Jim on the tv, not once but 3 times!! L xxx
Dear Jeni, Try this for the insomnia... Before bed, have a hot soak with drops of lavendar oil in the water. Follow this by God's Gift - or similar - rubbing your feet with coconut butter - or similar - until you are drowsy. Inhale more lavendar oil dropped onto a tissue (I find the Holland and Barrett best). Take deep slow breaths. When your eyelids are heavy and you feel like you are nodding off crawl into bed and zzzzzz. Sounds simple but works for me and highly recommended. x
Lovely post. I just remembered about the 5 Tibetans, I had a link to those exercises saved on my laptop, first heard about them on Chris Evans show, would you believe:)I'm off to do them and some yoga.
Applause for this post - one of your best!