Made a quick getaway this morning before the house stirred. With the car finally being repaired after the accident on its inaugural journey in May, I did the trip in my old car borrowed back from my friend J, in a record two hours and 20 minutes, as, for once, there were no roadworks or massive caravan tailbacks anywhere en route. My excitement always mounts as I drive up the hill towards the cottage but, as ever, it is mixed with trepidation about what will greet me after a fortnight’s absence.
This time it is the moribund part of the hedge around the back garden, which has finally succumbed. I wish I had known what’s ailed it since Spring – it was obviously well established and old. Now I have holey hedge problems in several places and will have to find someone to come in, with a view to an almighty trim and to plant some relatively fast growing thing to replace what has been lost to nature and the vehemence of the council’s hedge manglers. The house too, is subtly changed; a little colder, a bit more damp – it has obviously been raining a lot during the last two weeks. I take time to adjust to what I find, as the changes make me anxious at first – more challenges to be faced and chores to be done – and then I remind myself of the luxury that is mine to have these things to worry about, and pull myself together.