It has been a hectic few weeks. We have had friends to stay, have visited others and have had, for us at least, a bewildering number of social events in a short space of time. Workwise, a brief hiatus in orders has given me time to realise everything I should be doing to support my business. And, on top of that, I am conscious of how much there is to do in the garden at this time of year.
The result is that I can feel the mental chatter in my head beginning to build, especially since D is away this week and I have only the Calamity Cat to talk to. As she has been at the vet herself recently (for mainly routine things like vaccinations and a dental), she perhaps hasn’t been the best distraction to curb my impending feelings of overwhelm.
However, I am much more aware of what is going on inside my head these days and I am taking early steps to make sure I maintain my sense of perspective. Last weekend, I took part in the Manchester 7K Memory Walk for the Alzheimer’s Society with my mum and sister and it reminded me how important walking can be for my mental and physical health. The walk was the largest of its kind in the UK and I am proud to say I was one of 6,300 people who took part. I am hoping it raises lots of money to combat this terrible disease as well as kickstart me back into a healthier, more active way of life.
So today I took a walk up the lane to a peaceful wooded area where I could breathe in the scents of autumn, listen to the wildlife scurrying about the hedgerow and feel part of the countryside around me. The trees are slow to colour this year, probably due to the continuing warm weather but there are signs that autumn is definitely on its way. Just walking and taking in the fresh air helped clear my head, and I could start to sort the seeds of creativity from the relentless storm of “you should be doing …”
On my return, the Calamity Cat and I took a walk through the garden together. Ignoring the windfall apples to be collected, the raspberry canes to be cut back and the seeds waiting to be sown in the greenhouse, we took a more mindful approach, taking the time to see what is happening in the garden right now. And there was much more than I had thought.
The evening primroses are a particular favourite of mine. I have no recollection of sowing them but they have new flowers every day, which seem to glow in the evening and early morning light. As they are so tall, they are eclipsing the marigolds and the hydrangea a little but they, too, are doing their bit. The hydrangea heads particularly have now deepened in colour to rival the deep pink of the sedum round the corner of the shed.
Moving further up the garden past the cottage garden bed towards the Frog Patch, the pink cosmos and the Black Eyed Susans are the stars of the show. Where I had seen before how untidy and windblown they were, today I saw their colours and their beauty. When you look closer, though, they are by no means the only colour in the flower garden. Many are in their second bloom, such as the wallflowers, the roses and some of the small primroses, which have flowered all summer this year. Against the fence on the opposite side, for the first time since we arrived here, the pyracantha is covered in bright red berries, mirroring the colour of the leaves on the photinia. They say that a lot of berries is a sign of a hard winter to come. If that is true, I hope the birds leave some for later in the season – they seem to be enjoying them already.
Continuing through the gate and up the steps, Calamity and I crossed into the kitchen garden which was not to be outdone. The cooking apples high up in the tree where we cannot reach them have turned a deep burnished red, as are the chillies and the bell peppers in the greenhouse. The catmint on the Princess’s grave is in flower and we both paused there to remember her (and, in Calamity’s case, to have a nibble at the flowers). The grass path, burned to a brown straw in the summer, has regained its vibrant juicy green and further up in the strawberry bed, some of the plants are flowering and trying valiantly to grow a second crop of fruit. Meanwhile, the blueberry in the same bed is definitely moving into autumn, with these beautifully shaded leaves.
Passing the veg plot which is still full of yummy veg for us, we reached the Sitooterie at the top of the garden – my peaceful writing retreat. Yes, there will always be things to do out here and when D returns we will do the work willingly – gardening is a mindful occupation in itself and will be as good for me as today’s walk. However, for today, as I sit writing this, with the Calamity Cat curled on my lap, I am enjoying the garden, untidy or not, just the way it is.