Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween mice and stag's antlers

I came face to face with the mouse last night. I was in the pantry looking for the oatmeal when there was a flicker in the corner of my eye. I'd put everything into containers as soon as I realised the mouse (or mice) had returned - we get them every winter - but this lady had her eyes set on the giant Toblerone in the corner; the dark chocolate Toblerone Joe had given me on my birthday; the treat of a Toblerone I was not prepared to share with a mouse. Seconds later she was on the shelf in front of me where she paused for a second, not a bother on her, before doing a mouse-scoot along the shelf, onto another shelf and up the corner of the wall to upstairs where I later heard her at her housework.

At least this year it isn't a rat (or two). Not yet anyway. They have a much heavier footfall.

We managed a bonfire on Sunday night in spite of a heavy weekend of birthday celebrations (which were quite amazing). The weather cleared in the afternoon, Joe and I did some work in the garden (always a good Halloween activity) and I laid the lantern trail across the garden and lit the candles in this lad on the left.

The bonfire struggled for a while. Some of the wood was damp, we didn't have a huge supply of garden cut backs like we usually do, and it seemed for a while it wasn't going to go. Finally a couple of good branches caught and we were away, welcoming in the ancestors and all that.

Joe had built an amazing 'sculpture' over the fire itself thinking, at first, that it would burn. I'm glad it didn't. It's very appropriate - stag's antlers for Samhain. They're still there today. Probably will be all winter. I haven't the heart to dismantle them and they make me smile every time I go out to kick apples for the dogs.

Apple kicking is the favourite game of this time of year and Aoife and Frankie are terrible bullies when persuading you to play. Especially Aoife. You can only take so much of a dog repositioning itself so it is forever in front of your eyes and staring staring staring. The haggard is full of apples. We've shifted barrowloads of them to the edges, made apple juice and still there are more. The high winds of yesterday brought down most of the stragglers in the trees, so the lawn is covered again. What you have to do is kick the apples for the dogs to chase. Or rather Aoife chases while Frankie gets hysterical and makes a lot of noise while bouncing around in front of you, occasionally taking off after a high-flung fruit.

The camper van is home. The poor thing is very dirty, something I'm sure it isn't used to on nice English roads. Our track was the last straw for it, chucking up filth on to its pristine white sides. But no matter! It's lovely and we plan to go away this weekend for our inaugural trip.

Here it is:

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