28/06/2015: Midsummer week

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Fire: respect it.

Midsummer’s Day (AKA St John’s Day) was my birthday, as usual, and it was a bit muggy. Our eldest daughter celebrated Midsummer with a fire-leaping ceremony at her kindergarten. I never got to do things that fun on my birthday when I was young. Although I did play mini-golf with my nan once when I was about nine. That was pretty good.

We also visited the dentist, who was either not as loathsome as I recall him to be, or a different dentist. (How am I supposed to tell which it is?) None of my teeth needed filling this time, which probably means he was tired.

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Wasp larder.

At some point in the week (I forget the day) we decided it would be prudent to spray all of the metallic machinery of our opening windows with silicone lubricant. I did this, because it turns out it is part of my remit.

Unfortunately when I opened one of the windows to the study – the window by the damp wall, which is (probably inadvisably) opened least often due to its proximity to the sofa – I was beshowered by small green caterpillars. How lovely, I thought; caterpillars have built a nest out of mud in the space between the window and the frame.

This didn’t fit with my existing knowledge of what caterpillars – or indeed butterflies – get up to, but one adapts surprisingly quickly to new discoveries like this. For who am I to tell caterpillars how to conduct their business?

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Children with gooseberries.

But no! A quick Yandex revealed that what I had actually stumbled upon, was in fact a sort of larder for wasps; or a christening feast for baby wasps. The tiny little white dots in the corners of my photographs of the caterpillar “nests” were in fact wasp eggs, laid close to this fresh-ish store of living but paralysed flesh, which the wasp grubs would feast upon when they were born.

Happy midsummer, caterpillars!

Seriously though, if you can think of something really unspeakably gross, there’s a wasp that does it.

The good news is that our windows are now nicely lubricated and opening and closing smoothly.

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Gooseberries.

Oh, and the gooseberry crop was harvested, and you can see the bountiful nature of it right here. It has made me even more excited for the plum crop and the blackcurrant crop, both due later in the year. Even though you can’t really eat blackcurrants.

At least our location outside (although technically enclaved within) the political dominion of the UK means we are exempt from the cruel and archaic law that demands all Britons surrender their blackcurrant crops to the Ribena corporation, so that they can be turned into a syrupy drink that’s a bit like Vimto.

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Ponies up on Mynydd Carregog.

Fury’s bush’s first year was promising, providing a few handfuls of hard red-tinged berries. Sybil’s fair doubled this year, producing green furry berries of a variety of sizes and shapes. We ate the lot in a crumble that V cooked earlier today.

This weekend we went to visit the menhir known as Bedd Morris (between Cwm Gwaun and Newport) and walked up Mynydd Carregog, a desolate area of elevated moorland which is just next to it up a very gentle incline. It was a lovely, peaceful place with a near 360-degree view of that bit of the Preselis. Although Cwm Gwaun remained sneakily out-of-view, what with it being quite a severe little valley. Views of Dinas Island and what I presume was Newport were better. I think I saw the telegraph pole / communication mast thing at Crymych too. Pembrokeshire as a geographical entity (by which I mean including the Most Serene Republic of Landskeria) is beautiful in a rugged and understated way. Perhaps the ruggedness increases and the understatedness decreases toward the Preselis, which are definitely my favourite bit. But a lot of that area of the national park is lovely to look at and to explore, without necessarily being explicitly immediately obviously deserving of the national park status. It’s like they drew a line round the coast, with all the beaches and cliffs and other things people like, and thought “oh, we might as well include those hills too.”

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Fuchsias.

I like those hills. We would normally go to the beach if the weather was good enough, but it was my birthday week, so I made the informed decision to drive us to a desolate moor instead. There’s some fun stuff about the stone itself on Julian Cope’s stone-looking-at website.

Back here in Landskeria, where there are no national parks as yet, the fuchsias are blooming, the purple sage is purple, and the weird things that look like a cross between daisies and spiders have all but taken over that bed in the top garden.

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Purple sage flowering.

Our gardener (yeah, we have a gardener, he comes about once a month; it’s no big deal. It’s not like it’s illegal or anything) has trimmed some of the bushier bushes, so it’s all looking reasonably tidy for what is essentially an exercise in preventing nature from engulfing us.

I’ve been trying to teach my daughters how to play football. Which is tricky. Not least because one of them is still only one year old.

The elder child watched some of the World Cup with me last year, so maybe I’ll watch the final of this year’s with her if I can find out where and when it’s being broadcast.

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And other plants.

The week that was in Landskeria has gone by with few matters of state requiring any kind of international broadcast. We’ve hacked back and planted; we’ve harvested; I wrote a poem, but not an especially political one. V has begun reading another Lee Child book. All is as it should be.

Someone in Pembrokeshire has lost a cat called Mulius, judging by the posters on more or less every telegraph pole from Rosebush to Haverfordwest. I do hope they find it.

Alas, I have been too busy with affairs of state to further progress our nation’s march toward officialdom or even to begin arranging the launch of my next poetry book, which will serve as a sort of launch party for our country too. It’s amazing how much admin there is to do when you run your own country, even one that’s less than a square mile in size with a human population of four. Now I must go and administrate some dinner out of a pot and into some bowls.

I am pleased to relate that the weather is pleasant, the environment is stable, and the economy is good.

AV

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