When the rain stopped after lunch I asked Benno what he wanted me to do. "Garden or walkies?" He quite firmly opted for a walk, so I really had no choice in the matter.
We left by the side gate which leads from the courtyard to the castle moat, This exit will soon become impassable. The rambling rose over the trellis and gate and a clematis over the path stop us using this gate for weeks and weeks between the end of June and the end of September. Rose tendrils get tangled in hair and clothing and the clematis blocks the path most effectively, daring you to trample it underfoot. Plants can be so uppity.
The courtyard is walled on two sides, there's a hedge behind flower beds on the other and the house forms the fourth side of the square. The ground slopes slightly towards the house which means that the sort of rain we had last night provides us with a refreshing paddle right outside the front door. Luckily, there's a step to the front door and the paths leading round the house allow the water to run off in merrily tinkling rivulets.
I love it that so many of you envy me my castle, so here's another picture of it, of the keep this time. That beautifully manicured bit of lawn you can see inside the fence is Valley's End's bowling green. There can't be many bowling greens in the country which have a prettier location.
We didn't go very far today, just climbed the hill to the North of Valley's End, via a field path crossroads where the gallows once stood, aptly named Gallows Corner; then over the Modems and back down to the sheep pasture.
Sheep are stupid creatures and only appealing when newborn and gambolling in the fields. (Our possibly roasted, with garlic and rosemary). This girl had got out and was blocking our path, running dementedly back and forth, eyeing Benno suspiciously. He pays the creatures no attention at all, he is far too busy sniffing out evidence of friends who may have passed this way and left news of great importance, to judge by his urgency. Dogs read verges and grassy tussocks like we read newspapers, have you noticed?
Two thoughts to leave you with:
With Midsummer Eve so close, be sure to keep your house clean.
Apparently, the Fairies preferred it that way, according to John Aubrey's Remains of Gentilism 1688.
Damn, I wish I'd known that, I'd have stayed home and done some cleaning.
And, if the cuckoo is heard on June 21st, it will be a wet summer.
Chance would be a fine thing, I haven't heard a cuckoo for several years.