I found my way to Abberton church for this morning's baroque cello recital. It is small and plain, fairly heavily Victorianised Medieval, reached up a tiny lane but with an unexpectedly large, ballast covered non-muddy car park. The vicar who introduced the concert drew our attention to the car park, which was new, and warned us that if anybody was thinking they needed to go to the loo, there wasn't one, so they would have to wriggle or go outside and find a convenient bush. There was going to be a new loo as of next week, and we were all cordially invited to sponsor a roof tile. I was glad I'd limited my breakfast tea intake to two small mugs. I had a hunch about the loo, or lack thereof.
The artist had brought a baroque cello plus a bass violin, which looked like a giant scaled up normal violin such as I could imagine in the Fortnum and Mason Christmas window display, except that its back was bowed. Both had gut strings, which took a lot of tuning, including behind movements. I gathered listening to the Radio 3 tribute to Christopher Hogwood on the way home that failure to stay in tune was a common criticism of the first early music revivalists in the 1970s. I liked the cello very much, but could see why the bass violin had dropped out of fashion for the past couple of centuries. The only thing that puzzled me was the curious buzzing noise in the final (and most substantial) Bach cello suite, as if someone were fidgeting quietly with a tambourine, or a group of Morris men were shifting from foot to foot in the next room. It definitely hadn't been there at the beginning, when he played a Bach flute suite transcribed for the cello. Nobody said anything about it afterwards, but was it supposed to sound like that?
I stopped at Ernest Doe on the way home, and bought an incinerator to burn the bags and bags of eleagnus leaves and great heap of long grass in a controlled fashion. It was on special offer and cost me the princely sum of seventeen pounds ninety-five, and as I told the Systems Administrator, I give him all the best presents, a new pullover exactly like the old one except without moth holes in it, and a leaf burner. The SA didn't mind the moth holes, but they made me uneasy every time I saw them, in case they were new holes and the moths were still active.
After lunch I planted bulbs in the bottom lawn, two hundred and fifty Crocus tommasinianus 'Whitewell Purple' and seventy-five Fritillaria meleagris. It felt like a lot of bulbs while I was on my knees dibbling holes, and won't seem like nearly enough next spring when they come up. I look enviously at the photos in magazines and books of truly lavish displays, when the text says that the owner just planted thirty bulbs, or fifty, and they have bulked up to thousands, and wonder how long I have to wait before mine do that. Our Ginger came down the garden with me, and sat in china cat style with paws neatly tucked in, watching the border edges speculatively in case anything came out, but nothing did. Two robins hopped about the lawn, watching me and grabbing the odd small worm, but as if by mutual consent they and the cat ignored each other.