Tuesday, August 5, 2014


The front garden here is planted with shrubberies (Ekke Ekke Ekke Ekke Ptangya Zoooooooom Boing Ni!)* amidst gravel beds, but the back looks as if it has been transplanted from Provence or Tuscany, with a huge bed of lavender in the middle, a row of olive trees in raised box-beds, and alternating feathery grasses and fragrant herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano. There's an espaliered apple tree (I think) along one wall, and a small pear tree with hard green fruits against the other. One of my housesitting duties is to make sure all of this stays watered in what I have been told is an unusually fine London summer, hot and dry during the day, breezy and cool at night.

The family left for Italy this morning, and I slept in until 7am when I got up and walked the dog, plastic bag in hand (there's a minimum £60 fine for leaving the poop on the pavement, though I saw evidence that not everyone is worried about being caught). After feeding the dog - a magic dog who doesn't bark, has lovely soft spaniel ears to pull, and who spends most of his non-walking time sleeping in his bed - I went up to the loft area where the cat lives, spent some time petting her, then put on her harness and tied her out in the back yard, where she likes to nibble on the feathery grasses and climb the olive trees.

I noticed that the neighbors' grape vines and blackberry bushes spill over the top of the fence into this yard, and that the blackberries are getting ripe. After making my coffee, I took a bowl out and harvested the ripest ones. They made a delicious breakfast with a handful of oats and a splash of hemp milk (there's an organic/health food store around the corner - I even got a package of vegan cheese!) and it looks like there will be enough fruit on the vines to provide me with several more berry-filled breakfasts over the next two weeks.

* I'm going to see "Monty Python Live (mostly)" at the Odeon on the corner tonight, so I'm getting in the mood. Now I need to spend the rest of the day working, because even though it's "Bargain Tuesdays" the tickets are still £13/$21 ...

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