Well, we are 6 days past the Autumnal Equinox and the days are getting shorter. Sadly we must bid a fond farewell to summer and, as the Earth’s axis tilts, look towards winter and the colder days ahead.
The autumn months are often thought to be the most mystical ……. autumn mists create an eerie atmosphere and Hallowe’en is full of magic, witches and all manner of things that go bump in the night.
So, with all this in mind, I thought I would post this story …… Its set in summer, so will, I hope, bring back memories of halcyon days……… but also prepare you for the autumnal magic yet to come ………
FLORA AND FAUNA
Smiling, I gazed out of my open, kitchen door at the garden beyond. The sight pleased me,
“ There can’t be many patios as pretty as mine ” I thought to myself, as I surveyed the alyssum and aubretia, tumbling over the retaining walls in purple and white splendour.
Sweet thyme grew between the slabs of crazy-paving, making an aromatic carpet and the honey-scented, coral flowers of lonicera entwined and tangled with the snowy-white sweet-jasmine blossom as it flung itself joyfully over the trellis archway.
I wandered out into the warm summer sun and gathered herbs from the many pots and tubs that were scattered about the terrace. Rosemary, tarragon, basil, oregano and dill; they were all placed carefully into my willow basket.
Then I strolled down the three, wide steps that led from the paved area to the remainder of my beautiful garden.
A moorhen, proudly leading a little group of babies in a swim around my pond, darted warily into the soft rushes, then, seeing that it was only me, peeked out shyly and resumed its business, pecking idly at the duckweed.
My resident frog was much spunkier than the ‘skitty coots‘; every movement piques his interest and he boldly sat on the leaf of a fragrant water-lily, winking cheekily up at me as I bent and dangled my fingers in the cool waters.
The large pond housed many bright, darting fish; shubunkins and golden orfe rubbed fins with common sticklebacks and the watchful eye of a heron surveyed the clear waters, as he stood sentinel among the tall bull-rushes. The heavy hum of the bees was cathartic, as they lazily buzzed in and out of the huge bell-shaped flowers of tall, purple foxgloves. The sound mingled with the gentle birdsong and all was peaceful and calm.
Loki, my huge, sleek black cat, purred as he weaved around my bare ankles, then stopped, abruptly, and arched his back, his thick fur bristling and his green eyes flashing, as a harsh sound interrupted our reverie.
Ah, yes, the flies in the ointment; our tormentors had returned.
I realise that, when someone new arrives in a small community, there is always a period of adjustment. Newcomers are objects of interest, I accept that.
But I had been here over a year, in this quaint cottage on the remotest edge of the village. In that time most adults had accepted me and respected the fact that I was a pretty solitary person, who didn’t join in village activities.
However, there was a group of five or six village lads who were determined to annoy, harass and make me gnash my teeth with frustration, as I tried to ignore their taunts.
They threw stones, sometimes huge rocks and smashed my windows. They frightened the garden birds and tried to catch the fish in the pond.
Last November had been particularly trying for poor Loki. They had thrown fireworks and generally made his life a misery. So much so, that he had hidden under the large oak dining table, peering pitifully from behind the fringe of the heavy, ruby-red, chenille cloth and would only emerge when I tempted him with his favourite cat-mint tea.
The vandals had daubed graffiti on the garden shed and even on my pretty, primrose yellow, front door.
They had smashed pots of herbs and screamed “Witch” at every opportunity, it was all so unfair and nasty and no-one seemed to care. And here they were again, yelling abuse and kicking a football about in the narrow, tree-lined lane, beyond my gate.
“Witch, witch, you are a bitch” they shouted, somewhat unimaginatively.
Then a jagged stone began its deadly orbit toward the little moorhen family, who huddled and cowered together in fright. Even my bold frog leapt into the cool safety of the deep, pond water.
I walked, cautiously, to the gate as the ring-leader, the muddiest, scruffiest-looking urchin, gesticulated lewdly and grinned,
“Wanna see me todger, missus ? Gorn….. I betcha ain’t seen now’t like this !!”
There were five of them and I guessed they must have been around 13 or 14 years old.
Yes, this was the usual gang, the ones who had caused me so much anguish.
I decided things could not go on like this, I had hesitated too long, I must do something to resolve the situation. I wanted to live in peace, I liked it here, but these boys had pushed me too far. It was time to make friends.
“ Hello, boys”, I beamed, and leaned over the gate, fully aware that my thin cotton camisole left nothing to the imagination. I ruffled the lacey hem of my long, tiered skirt, to cool my bare legs and beguilingly tossed the auburn curls that hung around my naked shoulders.
“ Gosh ! It is so hot today,” I beamed as I fanned myself with a large dock leaf and took a deep breath…..to further enhance my bosom …… “I wonder if you all would like to come inside for some cold, home-made lemonade ?”
Teenage boys are such victims of their hormones. They stood and stared for a second, taking in my friendly smile, suggestive wink and voluptuous body and then filed, eagerly through the gate. ………………………..
Smiling, I gaze out of my open, kitchen door. The scent of the sweet thyme mingles with the honeysuckle and lavender and the heavy, decadent perfume of the night-scented datura.
It is a perfect summer’s evening in my beautiful garden.
I wander out onto the patio and down the steps to the silver shimmer of the pool. The moorhen family are safe in their water-side nest and the huge cupped blooms of the water lilies are closing for the night, but my bold frog still hops about on the huge, floating leaves.
And now he has companions. Five green frogs hop nervously about; of course they will need time to become familiar with their new surroundings………………………………………..