He required a large sum to buy the paint and, after two hours’ work, required another large sum as progress payment. Thinking of the children, I reluctantly gave it to him; but after another four days of more than spasmodic, or possibly less than spasmodic, work on our very small roof, we had to dispense with him, giving him another slice of money. Luckily, various agile friends appear and finish off the steep bits, with ropes tied round the chimney and round their waists.
The house is now stone-coloured, with white windows and a charming white picket fence donated by our daughter Penny as a birthday present for us. The courtyard is paved with old bricks and now contains: a lemon tree, a Lombardy cherry, jasmine, honeysuckle, passion fruit vines, common and lemon-scented thyme, marjoram, sage, chives, rosemary, mint, garlic, capsicum, strawberries, forget-me-nots, phlox, dianthus, lavender, carnations, pansies, lobelias, catmint, evening primrose, Shasta daisies, celosia, pinks, violets, verbena, several unknown alpine plants, and in the corner a willow tree flourishing in a huge glass flagon filled with water. Its roots grow inches daily and visitors speculate, and so do we, on what is going to happen. I write down this list because I know that, when I am inhabiting the future, I shall believe my recollection was at fault about this multum in parvo.
The last few days there has been a keener nip in the air in the early morning and the mountain has a white tablecloth of cloud. I watch it from the kitchen window.