Frosty with sun later
Had a lovely long lazy morning lying in bed and writing. Frost shining on the cars but my bed is warm and cosy with a big fluffy duvet and snuggly green and white chenille throw. Drink tea and edit for spelling and typing errors. Am amazed to find I have written over 20000 words since the start of the Leaving Normal project. I have always wanted to write a book and now I am doing it, one day at a time, at an average of 645 words a day.
I write between 8 and 9 am in the mornings, before OH is awake, and when the time is quiet and the brain is free of chatter. A good time and conducive to thoughts about all sorts of things.
There is a visit on our house at the end of the week and the main courtyard is looking sad, full of dead plants. We head to the one nursery which opens its doors on a Sunday. There are a number of young families in there, enjoying the warmth and the opportunity to run around the aisles. 30% off polar bears, an offer I find very tempting, but OH says we are to keep focused. Alas, no coffee shop. OH stands in the middle of the house plant section and is horrified by the prices. I take him by the elbow and steer him towards the bedding plant section. I want to get something tasteful – some cyclamen and heather and ivy. OH is more price driven and we end up getting a dozen garish plants which claim to be of the primrose family. They are the plant versions of Jordan. Oh look! I exclaim to OH, they have aquarium fish! OH reminds me that we have bought two lots of goldfish from here. Oh dear. Must be the lack of coffee. Must start taking ginkgo again.
We have a goldfish pond in the garden. It measures about 3m2 and is the depth of half way up my thighs. (more oh dear, I have just had to look up the word for upper half of legs – I blame learning so much French so quickly). We put in 11 goldfish (the French version of a baker’s dozen) and they bred with insane rapidity. Before the arrival of the heron, they were very tame and would respond to our fingers, waving in the water. Now they are fewer and very nervous. Even so, there are well over 100 in there, varying from tiny brown slivers to fat, deep orange submarine original fish. Over to Google Answers
Goldfish will grow faster if they are fed a higher protein food, or are fed more often, and, given an adequate food supply, they will grow faster the warmer the water temperature. In ponds, goldfish usually grow quite slowly, as their growth rate is minimal over winter.
They may grow to around 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm) but possibly more. If kept indoors in large, or heated, aquaria they will reach this size sooner and potentially grow even larger. Straight-tailed varieties will attain a greater length than twin-tailed types, but since twin-tails are fatter, their actual mass may be even more.
Like the maximum size, the lifespan of goldfish is also variable. The record is 43 years, but it is uncommon for goldfish to live this long. Goldfish usually live quite long when kept in large aquaria or outdoor ponds, up to 15 to 20 years is not unheard of. In smaller or heated aquaria, a lifespan of five to ten years is quite achievable.
Ours eat pond flakes but we don’t tend to feed in the winter and the fish stay out of sight. We also have a wildlife pond which has returning generations of frogs and salamanders. OH has ongoing war against pond beetles which are bad for some reason or other and I can’t be bothered looking up.
The ponds attract the velvet winged damsel flies with their shockingly iridescent bodies and massive eyes. The wings are so dark purple as to appear almost black, until revealed by an angle of the light.
We also have many dragon flies. There are some wonderful pictures of these complex and savage insects and if you want to find out more about their habits and talents, go here
Take the dog around the lake. All of the joggers are older than us and some go around the lake three times for our one. I am never convinced all that running is good for you. Must rejoin the swimming club.
Back home and rip out all the dead stuff and plant the little Jordans. It is an improvement. Am suitably motivated to start cutting back the shorter long border. I have not been in here since early Summer and it is a morass of old plant growth and weeds. Gingerly hack at the immense brambles latticing their way over, under and through the mess. You will get an idea of the chaos when I tell you that I came across a 6′ tree sapling. The Michaelmas daisy stalks were brittle enough to snap off but I had to get up close and personal with the Gaura Lindheimerai, a plant for which I had longed when in chillier climes, not knowing what a complete thug it is
It ramps over the front of the borders and flowers for months, so I do appreciate it, but it does tend to throttle slower growing plants. The Gaura battles it out with a variety of Evening Primrose, given to me by a passionate plant person, which has beautiful apricot buds before opening into the classic silky yellow flowers with their spicy evening perfume. The Evening Primrose is easily 6 feet tall and is a biennial which I leave to self seed.
I was also pleased to see many seedlings of Acanthus Mollis, a great structural plant and one which gives year round interest. I let them seed and then move them in the Spring before they get time to put down their roots properly.
My style is what the French call ‘le désordre anglais’
OH came out and said he was turning off the electric in the house. A lot of clanging and swearing ensued from my bedroom. He emerged, flushed with success, an hour later and announced, with biblical overtones, that now I had light. I used to have a lovely mini chandelier in my bedroom, with many sparkling little crystals. RJ had hung it and had not attached it to the beams properly, with the result that the wiring always showed and it used to descend slowly over a period of weeks before I shoved it back into the ceiling. Too heavy alas. OH decided it looked bad for house visitors, and had just cut off the wire, meaning I had no main lighting for about six months. I now had light and revelled in the luxury of it. The upstairs light circuits have decided to work again which is just as well, as the electrician says he is ill and can’t come. The thing with OH is not to nag, and to invite people to come and see the house.
When the boys were small, and a visit from MIL was in the offing, we would make a big effort. I used to say ‘don’t tell her we have spent a week, cleaning the mess’. MIL would duly arrive and say to the boys ‘well, what have you been up?’ and the little rats used to exclaim ‘we have been cleaning ALL week!’ I didn’t think I did much cleaning, until I started writing this blog. This is how I feel about cleaning