Saturday must be one of the official hunting days of the week this season because the boar hunt was round yesterday.
As by arrangement, I was forewarned so I could keep the dogs in and make sure they didn’t mix with the hunt pack.
This lop-eared bitch was the one who checked that we weren’t hiding a wild boar up by the house.
Our dogs got extremely excited. I can’t quite tell in what proportion they’re being territorial and in what proportion they’re dying to get out there and join in.
With his hip displasia, it’s unusual for Joules to prop himself on the windowsill like this.
Chokri and I were clearing dead wood along the drive when he said: “Do these fruits come from this tree?”
The fruits looked like crab apples and the tree looked like a rowan. “No,” I said categorically.
“Yes, they do,” he countered excitedly. “They’re up there!”
And so they were. Crab apples on a rowan tree.
I looked it up and it’s a Service Tree or True Service Tree, to distinguish it from the Wild Service Tree which has completely different leaves and completely different fruit – even though the fruits of both are called sorbs!
I tasted one of the fallen sorbs and it was so astringent that it felt like I had a skin growing all over my teeth.
Even if we don’t ever use the fruit – which is edible – I’m very pleased to have found the tree. They’re apparently rare and even considered endangered in some countries.
Angela’s been telling me about a ritual practised by Italian women. It’s called the ‘Cambio di Stagione’ which means ‘Change of Season’ and it basically consists of moving over from the summer wardrobe to the winter wardrobe or vice versa.
To a British woman who might wear tracksuit bottoms equally on a summer’s evening and a winter’s day, and who often builds up warmth in layers, this seems unduly rigid.
And it is rigid. Colourful summer clothes have to be washed, ironed and packed away, possibly into suitcases if there isn’t enough wardrobe space, and dark winter clothes brought out. It usually takes place over a single hectic weekend.
It’s not only the clothes, but also shoes, boots, belts, scarves, jewellery – all accessorised and matched so that they belong with either one season or the other.
There’s even a set day – Saint Lucy’s Day, 13th December – after which furs can be worn.
It makes me think of the adage of whether one eats to live, or lives to eat. For the most part I wear clothes in order to be warm, decent and a little bit colourful and not much else!
These are nice hard, juicy apples with very white flesh.
I’ve been eating them although I’m not quite sure they’re ripe yet.
I’ve no idea what variety they are; the garden centre label, if ever there was one, is long since gone.
They seem mercifully resistant to codling moth larvae. The blemish on the right-hand apple looks quite superficial unlike the great tunnels in some of the other kinds of apple.
Out of the 6 pomegranates which have formed this year, the first one has split.
I say ‘the first one’ because sadly I’m sure more of them will go this way.
There’s no point leaving them on the bush to ripen, because before long the ants discover them.
Ripe pomegranate seeds are wonderfully sweet and refreshing but the pinkish ones in the photo, while perfectly edible, are a bit sour.
We were extremely relieved to find out today that Joules’ lump is a benign tumour.
He’s seven years old now and I hope he’ll live another seven happy years at least.
I have lovely memories of him as a puppy, seen here sitting on our picnic table.
He was so small that we had to put wire netting across the struts of the parapet railing so that he didn’t wriggle through.
He once grabbed a pair of my knickers from the clothes drier and ran away with them, tangling himself in the legs.
He refused to sleep in the box we had specially made for him but squeaked and yelled until we just let him cuddle up to the other dogs.
He was as much fun to watch as a kitten, with all his little ‘bits’ that he used to pat into life. In fact he still does that. A rawhide chew isn’t of interest until it’s been ‘animated’!
Anyway, the most important thing is that there’s no longer a cloud over his head.