I drag a lumpy old cushion to my cold stone doorstep. Wrapped in a fleece-lined hoodie, double socks and a deep-red soft wrap I place pen to paper in the hope of re-kindled creativity. I had promised I would make it to the Beer Garden opposite today but this, at least, is a beginning.
I study the mossy cobbles at my feet for the first time this year. April in Devon lifts the daffodil heads bobbing above the damp ferns. They still struggle against the chill breeze off the sea as it funnels past the remains of my old friend the Holly, now a clumsy stump under the telephone wires. A skeleton cast aside by the estate on a day when I was not here to protest. The two poor camellias, now exposed, offer a solitary flower hidden in the glossy-green leaves amongst the struggling buds.
The crocosmia has already taken over the flower bed. I had promised myself that I would thin them out this year, but they strike through the white quartz stones collected over the years from the beach below, jostling aside oyster shells from the ancient midden behind the house, multi-coloured glass bottles and a twisted shell-shaped silver spoon.
In contrast, the newly-painted, stark-white wall of the chapel hangs with the remains of the once proud clematis. It used to bring exclamations from visitors clear across the valley as it flung itself in ravishing pink splendour over the chapel roof. Now stray fingers hang valiantly from the eaves, a few leaves hopefully a sign that it will once again lovingly embrace the hymns on a Sunday.
My eyes are drawn to the one offensive plastic pot amongst the mossy terracotta jumble; a testament to the careless builders with no regard for peace or pride. I remind myself I still have to re-pot the azalea properly but it will have to wait for that miracle bag of compost to turn up.
London pride spills over the curve of an old grinding stone, a soft pale-yellow primrose at its centre. Sheltered from the wind and thrusting proud against its winter fleece a Blue Moon rose; a present from a kindly neighbour with whom I once quietly shared a childhood memory of my mother’s rose garden.
Anxiety creeps into my chest and begins to clench a fist around my heart. My pen falls silent a while. I listen to the bird song, the distant drawing of tides over cobbles and high above the lonely keening of a solitary buzzard. Pheasant calls mingle with seagull cries ...
And suddenly, all is broken. Estate strimmers slice across the page shattering my pen. Rapidly I retreat inside, cats nipping past my ankles, back into the safety of the house.
Perhaps tomorrow I will make it past the doorstep.
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