I’ve been in the garden this morning doing my ‘standing and staring’ bit. There’s nothing different about me going into the garden at the crack of dawn, I do that every day, to tend the chucks. To make sure they have made it through the night and to give them fresh water (with the life-saving apple cider vinegar and garlic) and to have my fingers attacked in their manic eagerness to find treats, so, as I say, nothing different regarding the time of day, but I don’t usually do the standing and staring bit quite so early because Chea is always at my heels, waiting for her breakfast.
I have a system; Chucks, fish, open the greenhouse, Chea, and finally, me …a cup of tea. The standing and staring bit comes later, usually.
Somehow I couldn’t resist the ‘greenness’ of it all …and the apple blossom that is bursting, pink and perfect. I love apple blossom – fragile, almost transparent with the sun behind it. And the greenery, never as green as in May. Vibrant. The green of all greens.
The blackcurrant bushes are laden with baby blackcurrants. I have no idea what to do with them this year. Last year I made jam – and we still have some left. Two years ago we made wine – and there is none left. Nothing to do with me, obviously, but Richard enjoys the fruits of my labour …
He, Richard, has become quite a little home-made wine enthusiast and makes the stuff on a regular basis. He has become quite good at it …that is to say quite good! For some strange reason, known only to him and the gods, he decided to make a spicy Cabernet Sauvignon last November and produced many bottles of the stuff. Last week, Wednesday, as he toddled off back to work after his 4 month recuperation break, I came down to a cork, abandoned on the kitchen floor. Then I noticed a red streak across the tiles. First, I smiled and thought, how sweet, he’s thrown that cork on the floor for Chea to play with. Then, I thought, idiot, Chea has no interest at all in playing with corks, she only likes her smelly piece of felt that once resembled a bird. Then, I thought, he’s spilt wine on the floor and attempted to disguise it by scuffing his socked foot across it. THEN I saw a scuffed red trail leading all the way to the fridge. That confirmed it. He had obviously been pissed, spilt half of it on the floor and been too gaga to bother cleaning it up. I left it.
When he came home he instantly noticed it.
‘What’s that?’ he said.
‘It’s where you, pissed and stupid, spilt wine and scuffed it along the tiles with your sock.’
He frowned and had the audacity to throw me a look that suggested I was the idiot.
In true Poirot fashion he followed the smear back to the wine rack and with an over exaggerated flourish snatched up a bottle from the rack and held it before me. ‘Look, look,’ he said, wiggling it and sloshing the remaining wine around the bottle. ‘It’s obviously popped its cork overnight.’
Popped its cork overnight? Popped its cork overnight?
On closer examination we tracked down wine splashes and stains …on the skirting, on the cupboard doors, on the radiator …
The proof was there. It had popped its cork overnight. Richard was right. BUT he had also, quite obviously, put too much sugar in the wine or bottled it when it was still working. I had little choice but to bend my knee, bow to his great powers of deduction, and clean it up. I didn’t have to clean it up but he wouldn’t have done it properly so…
As I mentioned last time, or the time before, hard for me to stay focused sometimes, I couldn’t wait for Richard to go back to work and to get back to my routine, so, yesterday, having popped to Tesco to have tea with a friend, come back and had the chucks out, thrown a wash load into the tumbler, I sat down to watch the latest Vikings episode. Chea decided to grace me with her presence and settled on my knee.
This was bliss. A fire crackling away. Chea, content and purring (not out terrorising birds) and an episode of Vikings.
Ten minutes in and there was an almighty bang …and I mean an almighty bang, followed by the harsh sound of running water. Chea leapt for her life, scrabbling through my leggings, leaving nail marks in my flesh and pinprick holes in said leggings. My instant reaction was …SHIT the kitchen tap has burst at the pipe (it’s been dripping for some time) and I don’t know where the stopcock is. With Chea plastered against the wall, tail like a Christmas tree, and eyes as wide as saucers, I had to leave Ragnar Lothbrok storming the English and rush into the kitchen.
A sea of red greeted me …spicy Cabernet Sauvignon red to be precise. A cork floated in the crimson stream like a little boat. I followed the stream back to the source and there, in the wine rack, a bottle pulsed-out its contents.
Chea appeared behind me, still in Christmas-tree-tail-mode. As I looked down at her she looked up at me. Her expression clearly said, ‘what the *uc*!’
‘Yes, Chea,’ I said, watching the wine running down the bin, the radiator, the cupboards, under the fridge, soaking a sack of potatoes, ‘what the *uc*?’
After my heart had returned to near normal I threw a tea towel over the main pool and decided to go back to Ragnar, leader of the marauding Vikings. It wasn’t my wine. It wasn’t my responsibility. I was bloody annoyed, not just because I’d received the fright of my life but if Chea had happened to be sauntering past the wine rack when the bottle exploded it would have taken off her pretty little head.
I stood and watched the wine soaking into the tea towel and realised, what if the others explode? They needed moving to outside. But, what if they exploded when I touched them? They could wait. No, they couldn’t. Chea’s life was at risk.
Fortunately, only 3 bottles of that type remained so, gingerly, VERY gingerly, like I was diffusing a bomb, with corks facing forwards, and Chea safe on high ground (the kitchen table) I carried them out into the garden. Then I cleaned up the entire mess. Well, I am OCD, aren’t I? Couldn’t possibly rest knowing that my kitchen resembled the Red Sea.
I won’t bore you with the aftermath, other than to say that Richard has decided he needs to quickly drink the remaining 3 bottles …for Chea’s sake at least.
Take care my lovelies x