We have gained a wonderful colony of bees in our bird house which has been studiously avoided for years by the feathered friends for whom it was acquired. This is a beautiful to behold and they are a strangely mixed lot and very well organized. It is also the battle of the Begonias time again. The Sainted One has behaved immaculately recently working like a slave in the garden and painting walls to give moi a fabulous welcome when came home having lost a foot of bowel (not while quietly shopping in Harrods you understand,) but in a private hospital with a procedure performed by a genius who has what are described by the adoring throng which accompany him on his rounds as “beautiful hands.”. He managed to extract what looked like a foot long exotic serpent in the most attractive shades of pink and lilac. I have it on my screen and the family gasp in wonder. I feel transformed without this revolting thing and am astonished to learn that people have seven feet of colon and so one foot is not to be missed.
However in every life a little rain must fall, and the S O has gone crazy with those bloody begonias again. I hate them more than any other flowers except red hot pokers about which I cannot bare to think at the moment . The monstrous begonias are planted under cover of darkness or when I am not looking. I have only ever seen them in municipal parks or on roundabouts. Many people have come to cheer me up as a reach for the painkillers which send you nuts. I do take them to look at the beautiful garden ( a credit to the SO) but I always have to point out that the horrible little specimens are nothing to do with me. All of them look at them knowingly and mutter words of condolence . Meanwhile the exotic Sarah Raven borders shiver with embarrassment at sharing their patch with these abominations. There is some strange atavistic thing going on here I think it is very dark actually.
Today enough tears were shed to fill a lake. We said goodbye to lovely Diana. She always said “darling I am only leaving here feet first.” In fact she died in Devon surrounded by love and beauty, but she came back today in a simple wicker coffin and rested outside while we all put garden flowers around her. Beatrice and Mollie were brought out by the Italian Angel who is here caring for our house and all who live in it while I am in hospital. The spaniels loved Diana, they used to race down the garden when they heard her voice and put their heads through our connecting garden gate and she would say “ hello girls “ in her gravelly voice; today they knew she was there and that they should say good bye, they lifted their heads and sang, it was an astonishing moment. Dogs know so much ,they did not need to be told, they just knew they should say goodbye. If one of a pair of dogs dies they must always be shown the departed friend and then all is well. We did this when Mollie’s friend Daisy died, and she lay down beside her and licked her face, and then all was well; she understood. Diana created a wonderful family and they did it all so very well, she knew it was a little too soon but she went with quiet elegance.
I amounting my blessings which has been rather difficult to do in the last few months, the most challenging of my life. Next week I am to have a complicated operation which is in itself a miracle. This will D.V. restore me to the exotic state of health I have always taken for granted until, that is, I lost it. This is rather a challenging event and the whole house was in danger of imploding in my absence, Jayne ( spelt with a Y) my pigeon and her admirers Nigel and Terence, and then the “girls” my spaniels who were going to have to go into kennels. Actually they look forward to this because the owners give them the doggie equivalent of Pinot Coladas in luxurious accommodation where very smart well connected canine residents amuse them with racy stories. And I know what you may all be thinking what about the Sainted One? Well the S.O has been very resistant to any damage limitation, and been seriously opposed to any form of sensible planning plus being in denial about the enforced and lengthy convalescence. “I can run the house perfectly well without you,” did not fill me with confidence, and was, I thought rather on the demeaning side.
But an angel has appeared, she looks like a Botticelli painting and cooks like a dream. The S. O. is completely beguiled, loving the food and seeing less of Moi . I have meanwhile been released from the endless kitchen duties demanded here and have been clearing out my cupboards in case I don’t come home. I don’t want people rummaging through my stuff thinking I was a slattern OMG seven black bags have gone to the tip, I didn’t know I had fourteen bras looking as if they had been boiled in urine and nine anti mosquito plugs……. it is very cleansing. This brings me to the five degrees of separation, the Angel comes from a small Island off the coast of Sicily, many strange connections have emerged. I am in heaven until Wednesday. The family have a rota each one in their own way part of this heavenly throng, not least my best friend who keeps my spirits up with a delicious dry wit most of which is not printable here.
Our lovely neighbour Diana known as the goddess of love, because she inspired this wherever she went, and in every life she touched has just slipped away, as one of her equally lovely daughter’s said, “ we opened the window and her spirit just flew out, and she looked so beautiful, as if she was a young girl again.”
Well there she is somewhere in the great mystery and the loss is awful; she died so quickly and held court in her last few weeks, like the Queen she was. She had wonderful spring days in her garden enjoying the extraordinary” Mandella “ wall we built to replace the one blown over at Christmas. There was a continual low mummer of conversation from next door as people came to say good bye to her and were on round three because it was a good party and she didn’t really want to go. There will be massive celebration of her life in our gardens next week and I do believe that whoever comes to live there now will inherit a magical place blessed by her indomitable spirit and wicked laugh; she knew when to leave I suppose, but I do wish she hadn’t . Our lives are threaded with chaos at the moment, I wish also that my daughter’s wilful black Cocker spaniel had not set off on some herculean journey ten days ago she has been seen on Black Down in West Sussex if anyone sees her tell her that her family is desperate the contact deatail are in the local paper. She is called Lola, she has a red collar. I have asked Diana to find her …. She will!!!!