Tuesday, 8 April 2008

An Evening Muse

If I listen carefully, the gentle hum of a computer could be interpreted as a log fire without the sparks and crackles. In my mind I can be transported to my perfect room - a sitting room with thick walls and cushion- covered window seats looking out onto a cottage garden filled with herbs. In the room would be a collection of sofas and comfy chairs and a large oak desk where I could sit and write in the afternoon sun.

On the right hand wall would be an open fireplace, apple logs merrily burning in the grate, the red and green tinged flames dancing their way up the chimney.

I have always had this dream of a room to escape to, where I could curl up and read or sit and write without being disturbed or made to feel guilty for indulging myself rather than doing something more practical and worthwhile. The strange thing is, I know I shall never have a room remotely like it. It is a wish conjured from a similar room described by Elizabeth Goudge in "The Rosemary Tree" and the lounge of the cottage where I lived for my first six years. We never had an open fire there, only a small electric two-bared fire and rarely used the room in winter, preferring the warmth of the kitchen instead.

The good thing about being a romantic is you can always escape somewhere else, but I know my feet are firmly planted on the ground.

I ordered my annual indulgence of new herbs from Poyntzfield Herb Nursery yesterday evening. I have reclaimed a flower bed from the ivy and hope to make a home for six golden seal plants if the slugs don't feast too much and too often. The bed is overhung by the hawthorn hedge and a vibernum bush, so it seemed the perfect woodland environment for them. I shall also plant a couple of black cohosh as I adore their stately flowers in the early autumn.

Apart from a roseroot, the rest of my order is fairly mundane, replacing herbs I've lost or want to try again - hyssop, white horehound, roman wormwood, elecampagne, some marchmallow and calamus to plant by the stream and pokeroot to learn more about. I shall also experiment with some celtic valerian at home - just because it loves acid soil and I like the idea of it.

If I think too much about the weather over the past month, I shall weep. This time last year we were digging the main herb beds in our t-shirts, enjoying the sunshine. On Sunday morning, our lawn was covered with at least two inches of snow and it is still bitterly cold tonight. I can't even think about the possibility of sowing seeds or even an eventual harvest of anything which isn't perrenial and frost hardy!

Ah well, time for some more tea!

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