I finally got around to putting the more fragile garden ornaments back outside for the summer. There is the white stone with the hole in it, abstracted from a beach near Flamborough Head, and as seen at this year's Chelsea Flower Show. The designer was interviewed on the BBC and said that all her stones were going back to the beach after the show was over. I felt a bit bad at the time about nicking mine, sneaking it quickly into my anorak pocket, but it was only the one. It wasn't as though I were scooping them up by the bulk bag.
There are the two painted hens with folk art flowers all over them from the Culture Vulture catalogue. I quite like them but they are kitsch and the paint quality is slightly iffy. It was the first time I had bought anything from Culture Vulture, and the hens came courtesy of a heavy discount on your initial purchase. I made a mental note that Culture Vulture must employ a very good photographer to illustrate their catalogue, so that I could apply the requisite degree of scepticism the next time anything caught my eye. The hens go out on the terrace (or patio) which is becoming so cluttered with pots of alpines, cottage pinks and now the orange corner that a touch of kitsch folk artery fits in fine.
Then there are the blue glass leaves that I hang from the branches of the crab apple by the blue summerhouse. I do rather like the blue glass, and could do with some more since the tree has grown. They are rounded, the shape of elongated pancakes, and quite thick. I bring them in for the winter because I am afraid that if frost gets into the tops where the metal hanging loops are embedded in the glass then they will fracture, though they would look nice dangling from the bare branches on a winter's day. I once overheard somebody grumbling to her friend that the neighbours hung crystals in their garden which bounced light in through her office window in a very distracting way, and her friend said that having crystals in your garden was rather vulgar anyway. I wondered if the glass leaves were vulgar, but decided it didn't matter, although I'm quite sure that Nicole de Vesian doesn't have them in her garden.
Mr Fluffy decided that hanging things from the tree was very exciting, and raced up it. Then he advanced as far as he could towards the ends of the branches, and for extra support rested his front feet on my head. Then he sat in the middle of the tree, purring and squeaking, until eventually he was persuaded to bounce back down without breaking off either of the clumps of mistletoe. I smeared ripe berries against the underside of some of the branches a few years ago, then pretty much forgot that I'd done it, and was excited when I discovered I actually had two mistletoe plants. The tree is not very big yet, so I hope they will not harm it. In the meantime I have no feeling for how fragile the mistletoe is, or its powers of regeneration if the whole plant should be broken off at the base.
I came in from the garden early to go to hear the Albion Quartet at Wrabness church. They were very exciting, though being a hopeless middlebrow I enjoyed the Schubert they finished with much more than the Gerald Barry at the start. I keep hoping that if I go on listening to contemporary classical music then eventually the penny will drop and I will Get It, but I still don't. The performers must know in their hearts that most of us don't, as they never risk placing it at the end of the programme, when we could leave before it started. As I set off on my way home it began to rain heavily, and I drove the rest of the way hoping that it was raining on the garden and not just at the far end of the Tendring peninsular. By a strange coincidence Radio 3 was broadcasting on the topic O Albion in Words and Music. You just knew the poem about lying in bed at four in the morning panicking about death had to be by Larkin.