Monday, 7 November 2016

a concert, a cold, more gardening

The concert was lovely.  I had not actually heard of either of the performers when I booked the tickets, but the prospect of cello sonatas by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms performed on nineteenth century instruments sounded delightful, a glimpse into the sound world of George Eliot, Mrs Gaskell and the Brontes with three composers I like.  And it was very good, and the friend I'd taken along enjoyed it wholeheartedly as well, which is always a plus.  I hadn't knowingly heard the Beethoven or the Mendelssohn before, though they may have been on Radio 3 and washed over me, but I have a recording of Mstislav Rostropovich playing the Brahms cello sonatas, which gave some insight into quite how different from the modern instrument the gut strings of the period cello sounded.  I like both, though at one level I enjoyed the unfamiliar works more last night because I wasn't comparing them to the version I was used to, an inversion of the usual rule that people like the familiar.

Boxford church was looking very lovely too, with light spilling out of its clerestory windows and its funny little spire illuminated.  I should have looked it up before going, as I now read that there are a number of good memorials, which we completely neglected to look at during the interval.  The heating worked on the principal that a man standing with one foot in a bucket of scalding water and the other in ice will on average be comfortably warm, so my seat was toasty but my friend was distinctly chilly, and the stage lights if you forgot yourself and looked up above the performers' heads were like something designed to elicit a confession, but the mood of the audience was amiable.  I've noticed that before at Suffolk Villages concerts.

The Systems Administrator has returned to the marital bedroom after a couple of nights coughing and spluttering in the spare room, and this morning admitted to no longer having a headache after several days of suffering.  Part of me feels rather mean that Mr Fidget at the first sign of illness was whisked off to the vet, while the SA was left to sweat it out with no more assistance than my buying some more Neurofen lemon meltlets when I was out.  I work on the basis that human beings have five temperatures, cold, normal, warm and clammy, really hot, and no longer making sense. If the patient hits five it's time to seek urgent medical help, but the SA never rose above the clammy stage this time round, and there is (as our GP practice manager points out monthly in the parish magazine at this time of year) nothing they can do for colds, not even nasty ones.

I finished digging out the surplus patches of Baptisia australis from the far rose bed, or at least I dug out as many roots as I could find and have my fingers tightly crossed that it will not regenerate from the bits that I missed.  Then I dug in some mushroom compost, bashed the biggest lumps of clay down into something more tilth-like, and planted some yellow aquilegia raised from seed, the three Geranium 'Rozanne' that have been sitting by the greenhouse for weeks, and a willow leaved gentian.  I have missed the Systems Administrator's garden input, as just before going down with the cold the SA offered to use some of the pile of thick and slightly rotten planks on the concrete to extend the row of compost bins.  I need an extra bin urgently as the others are full and we are at that time of the year when masses of compostable material comes off the garden.  Besides, I want to turn the contents of the existing bins and make sure they don't have rats living under them.  I am suspicious about signs of digging at one end.  Although I don't know what I should do if I actually found a live rat.  Scream and run or hit it with a spade?

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