Yesterday my gardener came (so this morning there is no sign of Birds Foot Trefoil but give it a couple of days and it'll be back). My male gardener D mows my two lawns, tidies the hedges, prunes back any wayward plants and weeds the paths and patio. And while he is doing that his partner, J, dead-heads and weeds the steep back garden. J is a friend and I usually take Priscilla round the back and sit and chat to her while she works. But yesterday I stood, leaning with my elbows on the wall, showing her which Aquelegia needed pulling out before they seeded and which she needed to leave. Some have such beautiful flowers, others are quite weedy. Now all that are left (all have finished flowering) are the ones I hope will serve me well next year (the bees, of course have other ideas). I should have known better. I have had virtually no sleep as my back was objecting to my daytime behaviour.
So here I am at 4am sitting in my chair, blinds drawn back, watching the dawn.
What a different world it is at this time. First of all I actually watched the Milkman deliver my milk - it is several years since I saw him. Then J and Sammy strolled past. J is a lady in her late eighties who lives about 5 doors further up the road and as I haven't seen her for weeks I thought she must be ill/away. But no, obviously like me she is a rotten sleeper. She was up, showered, smartly dressed and walking her usual 'wee and poo' round (poo bag in hand). Sammy as usual was weeing up every blade of grass - he certainly makes sure all the bitches who walk the same route know he's there.
How different it is at 4 in the morning. Light in a funny sort of way - dull, so no vision of the sunrise and totally still - not even a leaf on the silver birch across the way was moving.
The svelte female black cat was out nice and early as cats like to be. She came strolling towards the waste ground opposite my window where she sits and listens to what is going on in the long grass which she seems loth to enter (must seem like dense jungle to her but I think she must hear something rustling (mice?_) in there.)
Suddenly round the corner, also out for his early morning stroll, comes the local, large ginger Tom. Like a shot from a gun she is off - no good-morning, within a few seconds she had gone.
Two blackbirds and a starling are wandering about the front lawn, now and again poking a beak into the ground and devouring some poor, innocent beastie. Do you ever wonder what birds think - or can they think - they are certainly creatures of habit. Jackdaws, the odd rook, various garden birds fly purposefully back and forth. Where are they going? When they take off from their perch wherever it is, do they already have in mind where they are going?
Cars (mostly men who I presume are off to work) begin about 5am with the odd one now and again; but by six o'clock the exodus from the estate begins in earnest. Curtains are drawn back in the few windows I can see. Everywhere there is sudden movement - here and there a dog-walker, a steady stream of cars, some stopping by the letter box (I reluctantly have to say that women are the real culprits here and tend to abandon their vehicle for the time it takes to put the envelope in the box.) When a man has to post he seems to abandon his vehicle but at least it is on the edge of the road so other drivers can get past.
I see even the leaves on the Silver Birch have woken up and begun to move. Yes - in this part of the world we have woken up good and proper - I shall go and put the kettle on.