Saturday, 23 July 2011


Mike and I managed to take half a day off yesterday. A whole six hours. We squandered it watching the last in the Harry Potter series of films. In the middle of the day. I even had a glass of wine at lunch, which felt very badass. OK, it was Pizza Hut's house wine, but it was the best (and absolute worst) glass of wine I've had in forever. The food just tasted manufactured and unsophisticated, but a waitress brought it to me and no one interrupted our lunch. At home, the phone and the door would be going at the same time. We both left our mobile phones at home. There was a lot of giggling.

Before we set off for the big town and multiplex cinema, I made an effort to tidy myself up. I slapped on some cover-the-grey dye, and while that was working its magic (Griseum Obscura!) I had time to mix up cement and patch the holes in the kennels where Quincy has excavated loose concrete. Mike built more release pens for his pheasants, but found clean jeans - no holes, no blood - for trip to town. Our rare trips to town are the only time that there isn't a dog in the truck with us, either curled up on the floor, spaniel-style or sprawled out on the seats, lab-style.

We're not so rural that mixing with crowds should be unnerving, but it is. There is so much noise from people and traffic that I feel disoriented. There are TV screens everywhere, and music and sound. In the movie theatre, the sound was turned up so loud, even with my impaired hearing it hurt my ears. I think it was to drown out the sounds of other patrons eating popcorn and rustling wrappers.

At home I can hear a flock of house sparrows noisily invade a shrub near the bird feeder. I can hear a green woodpecker call. I can hear wind rustling leaves, which is altogether more comforting that candy wrappers. I can hear the dog snoring. When the cockerels start crowing I know it's after 5pm. There's so much going on, so why is it less of an assault on my nerves than sound and light in town?

I got home with enough light to spare that I went deer stalking. Maurading deer are still eating the cider orchard. A couple of hours sitting quietly yielded a yearling for the larder -

Mike talked me through a better gralloching technique too -

It's going to be a short cold summer and I'm taking stock of my vegetable harvest. The carrots are going to be plentiful -

And the apple crop too -

However, my tomatoes and sweetcorn could really use an Engorgio spell.


Poppy Cottage said...

Glad you managed to actually get some time off!! Jasper is the very proud new owner of Whinnie (although don't tell him that I think She will never win a beauty contest!! Where as Quincy would hands down!!)

Oh well. Off to seek peace and quiet with a lovely walk with the dogs.

I'll wait until HP comes out on DVD I think xx

Karen Thomason/Gordon Setter Crossing said...

Good for you Jennifer, for taking some time off. Giggling is important too!(and fun)

Kate said...

Glad to hear you stole away for some downtime, however briefly. Your tasks of the day would account for my week, some weeks. We're in a stretch of roasting temps here, so watering early, desultory housework, and then laying around under two fans has been it for the past several days.

I think the noises of cities have been shown to trigger our fight or flight responses. They all resemble things that should alarm us, unlike your farm sounds. I find myself utterly spent after the annual daytrip a proper city. My patch of earth is not so rural as yours, but it's lots of birdsong, trains in the distance, some car traffic, and the cat persistently calling me to my duty as doorkeeper. A far cry from the jostle and hubbub of NYC.

Peruby said...

I take ear plugs to the cinema. Loud noises can trigger a migraine for me. Ugh! Even so, I rarely go to the cinema because of this.

Pomona said...

It's always good to read of another country mouse. I love going to galleries in London but I find the noise and smell and traffic so overwhelming that it is almost too much for me. Some of the students on our permaculture course mentioned that they found the birdsong so loud that it woke them up! So I suppose it depends what you are used to.

Pomona x

Paula said...

gralloching? what is that?

I'm glad you got to play hooky for awhile, although I'm sorry to hear there's a Pizza The Hut in your general neighborhood. That's not so cool.

Well, his lairdship awaits me. We're finally getting around to watching Invictus, which we borrowed for free from the local library. We will be watching in the comfort and privacy our our own living room, and I will be having a second glass of a decent rose with it. I think my two year old Invictus at home just might beat your current Harry Potter out, but you can't beat time uninterrupted time alone with your loved one no matter how you find it. Glad you guys found some.

denise schneider said...

What the heck is gralloching? (Carrots look yummy!)

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

As a city lover, I'm sorry urban noises get to you. I hear them as a backdrop to a busy, crowded, efficient place where you can find anything at any hour, get anywhere on public transportation, hear every language, and eat very, very well.

On the other hand, there's something to be said for coming home, having an hour to kill, and harvesting a deer.

Anonymous said...

From Jen@M&T

Sorry guys - gralloching is removing the entrails of the deer, turning it into a carcase. I think it might be of Scottish origin but it's a commonly used term all over the UK.

I see other poeple have Country Mouse/City Mouse experiences too. I remember a boyfriend from NYC staying with me in MAssachusetts and complaining he couldn't sleep becuase of the cricket noises.

Tamar - I LOVE city stuff because of the culture and diversity. London is great. Unfortunately we went to a type of theme park enclave which is common in larger town,s which supplies cheap entertainment like bowling and movies, and fast food only.

The town itself is about as devoid of culture as possible. Just big box stores and the entertainment park. Oh, and a military complex. They recently shut down their one museum due to lack of support and funding.

danontherock said...

Fantastic stuff


danontherock said...

I too find the city full of too much noise and distraction, The modern movie houses are crazy