Saturday, 16 March 2013
Welcome to Edmonds Towers
IT'S early on another Saturday morning in Great Marton, on the Fylde coast of Lancashire. Our newspaper comes late at weekends as the delivery boy is not at school and has a lie-in.
She Who Knows has a lie-in most days but my standing instruction is to wake her by 9-9.30am. (Otherwise, She Who says, she'll find it difficult to sleep at night.)
I've crept from our warm bed to my nearby study, where I am composing this post to you while awaiting the paper.
But, first, there's the routine to follow.
I know the time even without a watch - our birdsong clock by the hall's front door has already proclaimed it. A burst from the blackbird announces 8am. Fortunately, the clock reacts to light and its volume diminishes so as to be inaudible at night.
After drawing back the main lounge curtains, I reset the Swiss cuckoo clock - a gift from She Who's esteemed mater - that always loses a few minutes overnight. Its bird clucks a grateful greeting to me.
Through the dining room, I swish back curtains and draw blinds upon the rear of the Edmonds estate. Beside me, as I observe what's happening outside and relish the warmth of our largest radiator, is Blackie the cat.
"All's still, hey Blackie," I murmur, then notice a flitter of activity by the distant buddleia which tells me the blue tits are playing. Then a rustling in the great ivy hedge announces the garden's main resident, our blackbird or his mate. He emerges and adopts a watchful position on the birdbath, staring accusingly at me above his brilliant yellow beak after he surveys the main bird table - now polished clean of seed.
"Well, he'll have to wait," I tell Blackie.
There are also sparrows, wrens and a robin in the great hedge whose ivy has now even covered the opposite walls of our grounds. A red Boston Ivy on a trellis offers some variety of colour along with honey suckle, which forms a rampant arch by the raised lawn beyond our patio and also crowds walls near our kitchens, where I go next.
"Bonjour, Francois!" I call to the French Maid, demurely stood in an alcove with the cleaning paraphernalia.
Then I raise the blind on the main exterior door, which now offers a magnificent panorama through double glazing of the private gardens of Edmonds Towers.
We're lucky not to be overlooked, except by those hungry resident birds. Even the wide alleyway behind our timber double gates is itself gated, with keys only for nearby residents.
Wall and hanging baskets are still overhung with withered foliage I leave for the birds to nest with at this time of year. There will be a few frosts yet before I plant for early summer. But snowdrops, primroses and distant daffodils announce the coming warmth of spring.
Like the French maid and Blackie inside, these latter are all silent and stationary - being made of china, wood or manmade fabrics. Even our turf is plastic, for ease of maintenance.
"Still, they add to the charm," She Who Knows always explains to our guests. "Inside, we've even more."
This is true as, about the sitting room, pictures and ornaments of horses, dogs, cows, pigs and still more adventurous animal life, such as camels, can be found among books, dvds, decanters and vases of flowers on shelves and coffee tables.
"We like the cosy-cottage look," She Who will say, though there is almost a Victorian style to match the age of the Towers itself. We even have antimacassars on the sofa and my emperor-like armchair, along with a rocking chair that sits below the front, leaded windows.
But now it's turned 9am, as I've just heard the great tit's shrill on our hall clock. It's time to prepare breakfast and carry our shared tray upstairs, past the framed period photographs of ancestors, and wake her good self.
My day has begun. Thank you for sharing its start . . .