Thursday, 4 August 2016
Yes, I remember Adlestrop
The missus is not a follower of the Buddha; although I suspect she would be made an honorary member of that sect once the Dalai Lama reads her CV. She just can't bear the thought of killing anything - not even big,fat,hairy, dangling spiders.
The veranda - the model's called "Carmen Veranda" was erected six years ago. It turned our back yard into an inter war railway halt - we even have a street sign - "Milton Road" which we had intended to place on the wall. "Milton Halt" is the station's name.
Under a large expanse of glass, surrounded by greenery and colourful plants we would while away the long summer evenings lifting a glass of cool Sav Blanc to our lips and nibbling on pecans and cashews waiting for the 18:30 stopping train to Adlestrop. We would reminisce and plan while the evening's summer sun would create shadows of fig, olive and bay...
That was the vision: the reality is somewhat different.
The mock cast-iron chairs on which we would sit contemplating soon were covered with cat blankets and up to four cats would lounge away the days while we looked on from the kitchen as spring passed into summer and then to autumn and onto winter. Safe from autumn's storms, winter's ice, spring's showers and summer's heat the cats would pass the hours occasionally stirring to drink out the bowl of water regularly replenished or tap on the window to be let in so they could feast on freshly cooked chicken, newly opened tins of tuna or munch on catty treats.
As the cats occupied the ground level, the spiders colonised the veranda's roof. Year on year, they spun and spun building candy floss castles which hung in the air. It was at night they were at their busiest, weaving new traps to snare any dozy fly that comes by...and us humans who venture out unaware.
Over the years the veranda has played host to many visitors, including collared doves and mice (unsuccessfully attempting to set up home in between the pots of plants that now form a green wall facing the kitchen window).
A small bay has grown tall, a young fig matured, as has the olive and grape vine. This overhanging vegetable growth provides new homes and anchors for all things creepy crawly and more spiders. Recently foxes have taken to stopping off at "Milton Halt", resting on the chairs and snapping up any of the cats untouched meals.
We do occasionally sit out under the veranda, with a glass of something alcoholic in hand and a large ginger tom on lap. We have even held lunch-time drinks and nibbles with friends and neighbours - giving them fair warning of the Amazonian undergrowth and the continuous traffic of cats that use the veranda roof as an invaluable bridge to venture from one garden to another.
It has also witnessed potato "chitting" and medlars ‘bletted’, seedlings potted on and cuttings rooted.
This evening; if there's space we'll sit out with a glass of something red and Californian and wonder how we ever managed without "Carmen Veranda."