At the end of the day

It feels to me that I have had a very good day today. I am feeling relaxed and happy, despite tussling with the dreadful author of the Cézanne chapter for much of the day.

Nell took Mr L out for a walk this morning, leaving me to get on with my OU. I did manage to delay the start by virtue of a handful of mundane tasks but eventually I had to knuckle down. It was low and tedious work and I feel that I failed to grasp the pertinent points, obfuscated as they were in the overly-dense text. There was  a point at the beginning of this chapter where I had some sense of interest and there was a level of excitement generated but this has been gradually eroded as I waded my way through the pages. It is text like this that turns people away from Art. However, I hope to survive the experience with some level of enjoyment intact.

It was during my struggles that I became aware of how peaceful it was today. We have had two weeks of Half Term so far; this is the third week and I think mainly for the English. There are a a few children on site still but well-behaved ones and insufficient to cause real disturbance. One of the benefits is that the wildlife is back out of hiding and the birds are singing.

One of the big attractions of this site is its wildlife. The site is run with Conservation in mind and it has won awards. The place is overrun with rabbits and we have a running joke that they are allocated on a two-per-pitch basis. During our second week here a family of rabbit kits emerged from under the static caravan on the pitch facing ours. I sat here at the table watching them. They were so young as to put me in mind of the baby rabbits in Rag Tag and Bobtail. I could see there and said to Mr L that it would be perfect if only there were five of them… eventually it became clear that there were indeed five (at least) and I was disproportionately pleased about that.

The kits grow quickly and it was not long before we had the fun of watching them chase their mother around in circles as they were hungry but she thought them too old and ready to fend for themselves. Round and round they went, until she capitulated, Tree kits latched on, two of them lying on their backs, kicking their legs in the air. There were Rampant Children At Large last week and so we saw little of the rabbit family until the small persons went home on Sunday. The rabbits are out and about again but now grown so well that “kit” seems no longer to apply.

Another feature of the site that we like very much is the natural landscaping. Earlier in the year it was difficult to appreciate the number of pitches on the site but now as the trees are shedding, static caravans are appearing in the gaps between the trees and the site is taking on a slightly different feel. It does look good in its Autumn colours though, all the more because so many flowering plants are in second flush due to the unnaturally good weather; Rhodies, Hydrangeas, Fuschias and many more all punctuate the russet leaves with counterpoints of vivid colour.

The rapidly baring trees are enabling us to appreciate the variety of wildlife more easily and we are now beginning to see the Red Squirrels in action and are able to see and identify more of the birdlife. Prominent among the resident bird population are Wood Pigeons that are so big and fat it is difficult to appreciate that they are not some other species. So far I have been able to identify Blackbirds, Fieldfares, Chaffinch, and a variety of Tits but it seems that the most frequently appearing species is the Robin. Odd that, either we see the same few birds over an dover again, or they are not as territorial as I believed them to be. Anyway, Robins are to be seen absolutely everywhere we go!

Anyway, it was grand today to sit here studying with the sound of birdsong all around me and sunshine streaming into the van.

It seems to me that we are still on holiday and not yet really living-in-a-van. We are out as much as possible, getting exercised and healthy. Today was the first time when I put a “proper” meal together since we left home. Proper being in quotation marks as shorthand for meat, potatoes and veg rather than a rice meal or a dish of pasta with salad. We are slowly learning how to operate the electric oven and today I made an all but perfectly successful Yorkshire Pudding to go with our mince and tatties.

We have hit a small financial hurdle. Weeeelll. okay, not all that small. In short we have to start acting like the pensioners that we are, pull in our shopping horns, and actually eat those lentils for a few weeks. I’m quite looking forward to that. It might just help the weight loss programme, which is not going at all well due to (a) over indulgence and (b) sore ankles, knees and back. I observe Mr L’s progress with deeply envious eyes.

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