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June 7th, 2010

Rainy Day in Devon

This morning, I awoke to a murder of crows vociferating outside the bedroom window.  When I drew the curtains to see what in tarnation was going on, I saw maybe 20 crows perching on rooftops and trees and power lines, including a large and terrifying hoodie crow.  I'd never seen one in the flesh and feathers before, not close enough to understand why they're called hoodie crows.  They have this slightly paler band of feathers, see, mantling their shoulders and head behind the eyes, which makes them look incredibly thuggish and sinister.  Also, they're noticeably larger than ordinary crows.  And clumsier, going by the fact that the one I was looking at crashed into the window, clearly by accident.  Theo said one had done something similar to the downstairs window at 8 am.  As I was not up at 8 am, I cannot corroborate this, but believe him implicitly.

Not long after the Crow Incident (for which Ellen, who doesn't much like birds, was thankfully absent), Terri came, had some tea, and then the Exitrixes Three disappeared to Confer.  Theo and I went food shopping in town:  lovely organic local lamb chops, asperagus, a beautiful and tender head of ruby-red lettuce, and some meat pies from Black's (yes, really).  It calls itself a delicatessen, which is its privilege, although a place that sells Cornish pasties and turkey and smoky bacon pies is not this New Yorker's idea of a delicatessen.  We bought pies for all (and tiny mushroom quiches for Terri and me), then came home and heated them in the oven and I made a salad and more tea.  They worked again after lunch--and I wrote a poem for the new Bordertown book, which appeared as one of those gifts the gods of poetry sometimes (but not often, or, in my case, ever before) bestow as I was sitting on the upstairs couch, watching the rain chase itself down the window.

And then we went to the Froud's for Tea.  Cheese scones.  Regular scones. Cornish cream, which was runny as could be, but golden-creamy and delicious.  Cucumber sandwiches.  Egg and cress sandwiches.  Quail's eggs, hard-boiled, with celery salt.  Strangely mutant strawberries with noses and naughty bits and strange, frightening faces.  Tea, tea, and more tea. Lovely conversation about travels and art and when were we going to see each other again, and could we get in another visit before we headed back to America?  We wanted to show Holly and Theo the garden, but it was coming down in stair-rods and we were all feeling cat-like and happy before the fire, so it'll have to wait for more clement weather.

There was a bit of excitement on the way to the Froud's.  Theo was driving--his first foray on the left-hand side of the road--and right off the bat, we got stuck in New Street (which is barely two-way as it is--barely one-way when the right-hand side is parked up, which it always is) behind a lorry delivering pallet after pallet of building materials to a cottage being renovated.  A very irked lorry driver came by and informed us (and the numerous cars in front of and behind us) that the delivery-lorry was going to have to reverse down the street past us, and could we please get out of the way so he could get the ^^$*(@#$^!!! on the road, since the @%&(@%^^!! in the lorry had been there for 45 minutes.  So we all dosey-do'ed around each other (To the LEFT, Theo, TO THE LEFT!!), and cowered in a cul-de-sac until everything sorted itself out and we could get on the road.  A baptism of fire, but he weathered it a whole lot better than I would have, and even drove us home again after tea, blessedly without incident.

He can back out of the parking space, too, without trying three times.  Living in NYC without a car has not exactly honed either one of our backing-up skills.

We arrived home in mellow afternoon light (at 6:30 in the evening), made a fire in the fireplace (what?  It was chilly).  I made lamb soup for tomorrow's lunch, then fried the chops (organic, local, butter-tender, and wonderfully flavorful), boiled some potatoes and the asparagus.  We ate, drank red wine, talked about Kipling and Flanders and Swann (the connection was the line:  "So watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by") and poetry and Bordertown and writing and mysteries. And now it's time to clean up the kitchen and retire.

Here's hoping for rain tomorrow.  Because, if it weren't for the rain, getting work done would be a whole lot harder.

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