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Archive for November, 2011

All that cooking wasn’t quite enough to purge me of all my mental clutter and exhaustion. So when I got to the cottage that recent early morning and Cottager needed a nap on the couch to recover from a late night and an early morning, I grabbed all my sharpest and most dangerous tools and went out to deal with Laurel.

This single shrub has monopolized the sun, harboured invaders like English Ivy and Morning Glory and crowded the paths from day one.  My initial timid trims gave way to repeated efforts to keep the top shoots under control, but on this particular day, it was like I was seeing it for the first time.  I knew I couldn’t kill it if I tried, so why not  give the girl a serious haircut?  Luckily, I remembered to take out my phone and take a few pictures before I started…

From one side . . .

 

. . . and from the other side.

 
And here is how it looked a few hours later after I had unloaded all of my urban frustrations, anger and guilt:
 (yes, there was a stump in there!)
 

From one side . . .

 

. . . and from the other side.

And here is what I removed from this shrub, including the forementioned parasites and an enormous salal growing out of the stump:
 

What Cottager had to haul away when he got up from his nap.

Now, what to do about the stump? It is fairly degraded, and Cottager is of the opinion that we could tear it out easily. I, on the other hand, like the idea of chopping enough of a hole in its soft gooey center to hide a nice pot with some trailing flowers in the spring.  O!  and some small white lights for the laurel branches, I think.

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Early morning lights from the Langdale ferry terminal (right) and Soames Hill (left)

Every six or eight weeks, or so,  Cottager and I get up very early on a weekend morning and head over to the cottage, alone and without any particular purpose. Sometimes we stay over night and sometimes we return on one of the last ferries of the day. Usually we park near Horseshoe Bay and walk or bike over.

Since we get up very early midweek, you’d think this would be the last thing we would want to do, but its absolutely wonderful!

We are up around five and on the road by 6.  We stop to grab a Starbucks coffee – the only time I have one anymore, so really a treat.  It is lovely driving through dark and near deserted streets to the ferry terminal. Once there, we wait for the ferry to appear, as if by magic, in its berth. On board, the other passengers are mostly young sports teams and more ‘seasoned’ travellers like ourselves who know the pleasures of an early start. 

The Queen of Surrey is redolent with the smell of the All Aboard breakfast, and maple syrup in particular. The bathrooms are scented with a vaguely tutti-frutti deodorizer I never smell anywhere else.  The most unlikely things can become dear to us when we associate them with pleasant events!

Just before eight a.m., the crew call “Sixteen” which signals arrival announcements.  The lights of Langdale and the silhouette of Soames Hill appear in the semi-darkness.

Since this early ferry is rarely busy, unloading is a breeze.  If we have our car, as we did on this recent visit because we were moving some furniture, we pull into our driveway at Keats View Cottage about 5 minutes after the ramp is in place.  We unload, light a fire, turn on the baseboard heaters and make ourselves a hot breakfast — usually waffles or omelet – and on the table within half an hour. 

And then the rest of the day is entirely at our disposal: Read; nap; work on projects, watch a movie; walk into town… Unless the weather is truly bad, I head out to the garden, because I never seem to get enough fresh air in a normal week largely divided between home and office.

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