Today, the Lovely Son and I spent some time on the allotment. The water butts were solidly iced over, but the sun was warm, and there was birdsong all around us, interspersed by teenagers whooping and roaring through the park nearby. It remains a mystery to me how adolescents who can only grunt at home become astonishingly loud when out with their friends.
There was a lot to do. We had undertaken a reccie yesterday, to plan our assault on rampant Nature, but made the mistake of walking down the hill, still frost-whitened, instead of taking the path through the trees. The LS, carrying timber for fence repairs, was the first to fall over - twice - slipping theatrically, and landing in such a way as to cover a large portion of himself in cold mud. In his good coat too. I was punished for laughing by falling over seconds later, with the same result. Strangely, no one cried, swore, or tried to blame someone else, but there was cruel laughter from workmen in the houses at the top of the hill. We crept home half an hour later looking like rejects from some bizarre and hugely misguided mother-and-child rugby trials, hoping not to meet anyone, but no such luck: Lesley and Sandra spotted us and were hugely entertained. You know who your mates are when you're up to your eyes in muck.
Today the LS repaired the ramshackle collection of old window frames and brittle sheets of recycled perspex we laughingly call the greenhouse, and I pruned and sheared round the stinky pond and the dense Weed Collection which we once thought might be a herbaceous border. I got hopelessly entangled in the killer thorns of whippy out of control roses, and had to be rescued. In spite of creating huge piles of debris, I don't seem to have made any difference at all to the overall chaos and disorder. Thankfully the ground remained frozen, so digging wasn't possible. I took photos of Roger's pond, and of a sheet of perspex he had left lying on the ground, which had frozen over very prettily; I shall post this next. His plot is criss-crossed with fox pawprints again.
I stuffed some clumps of cat hair, lovingly combed from Harry over the past few months, into gaps in the fence. This might seem to you to be a gross idea, and I do keep the bag of hair out of sight now, after visitors have expressed horror (Charlotte-the-Fashion-Student paled and almost swooned away, when I told her I was saving it up for her to knit with). The birds whisk this luxury tabby cashmere away in no time for their nest-building; I love the idea of baby birds nestled in soft fluffy cat hair, and somehow it seems a small act of reparation for the many birds my cats have despatched in the past. Harry is obliging enough to produce enough hair each Spring to stuff mattresses for the fledgling population of the North-East, and as he has never managed to catch a bird in his portly well-fed life, it is almost pure altruism, wouldn't you say? Kevin has never hunted either, and has less fur to comb out in a good cause, but for a ginger sissy-cat, he can dart quite convincing looks of pure malice at birds on the roof, and that seems to suit him well enough.