05/07/2015: July, July!

V, the only other full-time adult citizen of Landskeria, whom I also happen to be married to, pointed out last week that I hadn’t mentioned the fly curtain she made for the front door. She has so far been ambivalent to the ideological formation of the Landskerian constitution, even insofar as to abstain from commitment to or against the core principles of republicanism and a rejection of the absolute ownership of our land by the UK monarch.

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The garden shoe was lost in that large bush.

Nevertheless she thought I ought to mention the fly curtain, and I suppose she was right; it really has revolutionised the way we control that particular border – the front door. Of course, bluebottles, wasps, horse flies, flesh flies, fruit flies, crane flies and all sorts of other creatures can still come in through the back door, or any given open window.

But at least we can leave one door open for most of the day. Saying that, a fly has just come from that area, but I believe the fly curtain requires at least a light breeze to operate to the best of its abilities.

Midway through the week I threw V’s garden shoe over the boundary between West and East Landskeria, by way of an experiment, I suppose you could say, and it got stuck in there. It took me about 40 minutes to retrieve it so she had to bathe the children. I think we all learnt something from the experience though, and have grown and developed as people; indeed, as a nation.

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A puffball, I presume?

What else is new? Last wednesday I found a hard round fungus on the otherwise green lawn, just next to shed #2. I picked it and then agonised for a few hours about whether or not I ought to eat it. This was actually after dinner, so I wasn’t especially hungry. But having had a good ten minute’s exercise – repeatedly kicking two children’s footballs in the general direction of the bench that overlooks lawn #1 – the idea of a mystery mushroom supper suddenly became rather appealing.

No amount of research, however, could truly confirm whether or not it was safe to eat. (So much lost knowledge…) I asked Yandex, Google, Jeeves, and even a few real people on Facebook. Nobody knew. Few even cared. Eventually a reliable source told me I could eat it if it was firm and white within, and lacked gills beneath. I was pretty sure it was a puffball, because that’s the area of Landskeria in which they usually grow. But alas, when I cut it open it neither puffed nor yielded a firm white flesh upon which I could feast with confidence. It was grey and grizzled, and had a furrow of foreign fungus reaching through its core. I tossed it aside (into a bin, as is customary in these parts) and thought no more of it.

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Dead Landskerian shrew. Much like your dead British shrews I suppose.

There was a heatwave in the UK earlier in the week, and everyone was very pleased about it – as though they were being rewarded for some noble thing they had themselves recently done. The rest of the UK was less convinced by the merits of the meteorological event, being largely free from the first-hand experience of it. Here in Landskeria (which is geographically within Britain, I must remind you, though a separate country) it rained. It being the heatwave, I suppose; which had become a synonym for “weather” across the island for a short time midweek.

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Look at this toad.

Our dog has begun bringing in dead rodents, doing little to dissuade anyone who might have thought that owning a small dog was little different from owning a house cat. The crucial difference, I suppose, is that I don’t think she is actually killing them.

Watching her try and fail to catch flies persuades me that she wouldn’t fare well in a battle of wits against a shrew, even supposing she could best it in combat (which is no given). And yet a dead shrew was brought in to our kitchen on Tuesday; and later in the week, a dead mouse.

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The toad licks the wall. The camera prefers the grass in the foreground.

Elsewhere on the animal front, I caught a frog in a sieve by accident while de-weeding pond #2. And I found a toad out the front while on my way back from filming a bit of a poetry video in shed #1 by night. It looked super pleased to be there in our front garden, and the way it licked the wall convinced me immediately that it was brimming with gratitude for the opportunity to live upon the only three-quarter-acre parcel of British soil not officially owned by the neglectful absentee landlords (and ladies) of the House of Windsor. No, not for us the importing of effluent-laden Jordanian riverwater with which to wet the heads of our children, no doubt at the expense of tax-payers. For we, like the Americans, believe in the separation of church and state. That and fly curtains.

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Mwnt beach. I think that bit on the right is the actual mwnt. That weather is called “rain”.

On Thursday V went to London (the capital of our neighbouring state, the UK) for work. And I took the children to an end-of-school-term gathering at Mwnt, which is a community in south Ceredigion famous for its beach. And for its mwnt. The beach was a delight – the match of any of our Pembrokeshire beaches, some of which serve as honorary ports for our landlocked country, though they might not know it themselves (if indeed a beach can even be considered sentient).

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Both Landskerian juveniles enjoying Mwnt beach before the rain came.

Marloes is really nice too, and would no doubt be overrun with the stereotypical (possibly apocryphal) towel-laying Germans following a Lonely Planet endorsement recently, but for the fact that much of Pembrokeshire is pleasingly difficult to get to from any given airport, let alone from Germany, which is where most Germans live.

I started a Twitter profile for our country, which has about as many followers as you’d expect. Greece is still in the European Union last time I checked, but Ladskeria is not. And I’m not sure I want it to be, given its treatment of Greece. Indeed, I’m not sure I want to be in the UN, given its treatment of Western Sahara (among others). But that, I must concede, is the holy grail that makes a micronation a microstate, so I’d never say never.

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V at our lucky dip stall.

If ever I accidentally learn how to enrich (or maybe even deplete) uranium, we might yet be offered a temporary seat at the UN security council; or at least a cigarillo, probably by some regalia-laden dude from the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

V returned in time for us to run the lucky dip at our eldest daughter’s kindergarten’s summer fair. I stayed up all night making Berber couscous and drinking wine and talking to my mum about poetry on the phone.

Considering how tired and possibly slightly hungover I was the next day, it all went well I thought. We managed to sell pretty much everything and must have made over £50 for the school by the end.

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Cans being felled by S.

S became quite fond of a game where you throw a beanbag at a load of cans and knock them over. She was very good at it; indeed, she excels in all destructive activities.

While V was away in London I put in a good hour or so while F (the younger child) was asleep and tried to teach S the basics of the German board game Carcassonne. We didn’t use the full rules or the point-scoring system, only the taking turns laying the tiles in a way that allowed for individual creativity but aimed toward an effort at a constructive partnership.

I tried to pass it off as a big jigsaw, but really I don’t think she was fooled. (The bits don’t stick together, you see.)

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There is a child’s version of Carcassonne available, but I don’t want to patronise her.

I also think she learnt a lot about nation-building in the process. Lessons which will serve her well if we decide to leave our state duties to the firstborn; though I suspect that, being a progressive country, any duties of state that arise in the years that follow will be shared evenly among the willing and able. That’ll be the daughters then, as the dog so far has proven both unwilling and unable to obey either suggestions, entreaties or commands.

Today has been spent napping on the sofa, eating pizza at Pizza Express in Carmarthen, and worrying about how much the lawn has grown in the last few rainy days. I uploaded the Proclamation of our Republic to the website earlier in the week. But nobody noticed. So I guess I’ll have to email the foreign office or something. I have a friend that works in or near it I think. But he mainly deals with terror threats, so I probably shouldn’t abuse his work email address for fear of a misunderstanding. Certainly not until I’ve enriched that uranium! Right folks?

Actually, I’m not sure if I’m allowed to joke about enriched uranium in this context, so I’d best state for the record that to the best of my knowledge there is no uranium (enriched, depleted, or otherwise) within Landskeria’s borders. Nor any other material required for making weapons of mass (or even minor) destruction. Just a few asbestos tiles. And three Nerf guns.

That being clarified, allow me to further reassure you that the weather is pleasant, the environment is stable, and the economy is good.

AV

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