At the End of the Day

It’s raining hazelnuts here at the moment. My tree has at last decided – after fifteen frustrating years – to produce in profusion. The same was true of the mirabelle, greengage, apple and pear trees earlier this month, but most of their crop is now in freezers, avian tummies and alcoholic preparations, or on the compost heap. Tomorrow I’m going in search of blackberries (very small this year) and the remaining sloes; after that will come the annual question of what to do with five million quince cannonballs.

Meanwhile, I have a house guest for the next two weeks. He’s an entertaining chap and easily amused – although he snores quite loudly at times, and has a pretty serious pine-cone consumption habit. But Oswald (for this is his name) terrifies the mice – and so for this reason alone he’s worth his weight in Eukanube. Yes, he’s a dog.

After a long gap, it’s quite nice to have a canine companion again. It is a very rare dog indeed that doesn’t make one smile at some time during the day. Earlier this evening, Oswald took a shine to a piece of wood and – having chewed it into submission – dropped it at my feet. Accepting the obvious invitation, I threw it across the garden, and – like some Disney Pluto impressionist – he gambolled after it. The morsel of wood got tangled in the fronds of a small tree, but for Os this represented an enigma of unexplained disappearance. As his head swivelled from one point of the compass to another, the wood slowly descended from the tree and landed squarely on the poor chap’s bonce. His expression was not so much a picture as a living Stubbs masterpiece.

I had chums for lunch today, and this gave me a rare opportunity to gather walnuts and pears for a salad, add fresh herbs to meat, and pick fruit for a crumble dessert. It was a near-perfect day of wispy cloud, heat and the odd cooling breeze. We sat and munched on fresh stuff, while debating everything from Margaret Thatcher’s legacy to the Kafkaesque world that is Gallic bureacracy. We laughed about Life of Brian, remembered Tommy Cooper, swapped anecdotes and giggled about silly things. All the while, Oswald slumbered in the shade. Later still, I did the same thing.

Sundays do not come much better than this one.