I lie in bed this cold morning and watch the Top Knot pigeons feed from the platter of bird seed left for them. Two of them hop around the railings of the decking, enjoying the first rays of sunshine, and then it is back to the bird seed.
Mr Bully Magpie, who does not like to share the back yard, buzzes them as they feed. Unperturbed, the Top Knots are back within 3o seconds, feeding just as joyously as before. Feeding others, including those of a non-human variety, is a meditative practice of gratitude, and the Hindu scriptures speak of it as our responsibility.
Mr Bully Magpie sneaks back a few hours later, when the Top Knots have moved on, and helps himself to some of the larger seeds.
Sage, chives, sage, rosemary, bay leaf and nasturtium leaves and stems are picked from the garden for the kitchen. And this afternoon’s herbal tea is readied with lavender, tulsi, rosemary, lemon verbena and a tiny piece of sage. The jonquils are prolific, the soursobs too. Iris grows sneakily under the lavender. The first oranges and mandarins are picked. I make an arrangement of bay tree stems in a vase to grace the table. This neglected garden, newly inherited, is giving up its secrets.
Before I take my book outside to enjoy the sunshine, some root vegetables go into the oven, destined for soup. There are parsnips, turnips, carrots, Jerusalem artichoke, onions, garlic and swede. Some cauliflower is added. An apple too, it makes a lovely addition. It will be perfect with some home made crumpets, for a Sunday night supper.
A Spicy Carrot and Parsnip Soup – made with roasted root vegetables