Dear Irish Terrier Friends
Never can I remember a more wonderful summer for the roses. The little pink climbers (Cecile Brunner) have been out along the front fence for a month already. Sometimes when I look out in the early dawn they remind me of the snow topped Himalayas which could hardly, now I come to think of it, be further from the truth. But every rose bush in the garden seems to have doubled in size and is covered in astonishing blooms. Even the old ‘London Veterans’ brought down to Lymington with loving care in wet sacks, have excelled themselves blooming on bark covered stalks – some must be 50 years old or more! I love them all and we greet each other ‘as old friends do’.
Miss Maryb has set up her network of shrines in the flower beds where she hides her favourite possessions. They are not deep holes, more like a scrape which she visits with care on tip toe several times a day. Her hidden loot is mostly gardening gloves, shoes, socks, secateurs, scissors and balls of twine are highly prized. She packs it up in the winter except for this year when two wooly bobble hats stolen from visitors, went astray. I wondered if she had heard me say that “silly hats on old ladies look better worn by pretty babies”. We retrieved them, eventually, in a parlous state in the spring but I still pretend they were lost or binned by mistake.
Daisy has come to stay as Derek and Richard are abroad on and off for the next month and visiting the Palace for the Sunday celebrations. She’s very much part of the team games here and doesn’t miss a trick. She absolutely adores Maryb but poor Libbs who is so kind and patient with the pups gets bossed around. I try to insist on fair play – no pushing her out, no stealing her chews, no nabbing her seat in the car. But this is not a help because Libbs is so anxious when they’re in trouble and keeps apologising for their behaviour.
They were in trouble this morning because I was digging out places for two large Lupins with a light hoe, my favourite garden tool. I was called indoors to the telephone and returned to find the Missies pulling my hoe around the garden, playing tag and tug o’ war (we all know that game). But the blade is sharp and I was alarmed.
The next thing I noticed was a mountain of soil dug out of the hole I’d been digging, which had turned into a cavern. Miss Libbs to the rescue again. But there is a lot of laughter and I do love having a bit of mischief in the mix – it feels familiar.
The canaries, Primrose, Biggles and Celandine continue to delight and entertain us. We all breakfast together in the conservatory and they hop about on the table, dipping into the sugar bowl or zooming round our heads. It is astonishing that Biggles rediscovered his joy for life when the two little girls with pale yellow feathers moved in with him.
They have a new cage, smart and convenient but we had to introduce it with care as Biggles refused to go anywhere near it and the little girls were in it at once and I wondered whether they might have been in a similar cage in their pet shop. Biggles, after several days, followed them into the cage and they put themselves happily to bed although the old cage is still on the table just in case. Biggles must be 17 now but whenever he departs, it will always delight me to remember how he enjoyed such a long and happy life especially teaching the girls to try out new food (not just their seed) and rock on the swing.
We’re planning a sedate Tea Party with a glass of Champagne to raise a glass for our ‘Gracious Queen’. We’re putting up some tables in the front garden (always referred to as the car park) but the house is already bedecked with plastic Union Jacks.
But we do have a flagpole and the Jack and the George plus the Ukrainian flag will bravely fly in the wind. We’ll pray for good weather or the flags will wrap themselves around the post as if they were stuck there with glue, ah well, we can but do our best – I’m threatening to do the Lambeth Walk with a friend and we’ll give the long ribbons a twirl.
Thank heavens the Queen has recovered her strength enough to enjoy her great weekend, she is a truly wonderful human being and the icon of my life, but I do have to admit that it took me years to stop thinking of her as Princess Elizabeth.
Jamie and I wrote this prayer for her Diamond Jubilee and with a few updates we thought you would like to read it – we sent a copy to the Palace and received a charming letter from one of her Ladies In Waiting. I never mentioned how Jamie and I duelled over every word, every phrase and every comma.
The girls will have red white and blue ribbons and will no doubt disturb the peace at the Tea Party by trying to join in on the dance. But they could never be as unruly as the Queen’s Corgis so she wouldn’t mind in the least.