Well I thought the day had started off well. I was back from the gym at 8.50 am and I sat with my bowl of cereal watching a noisy pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers displaying and occasionally coming right up to the kitchen window, so oblivious were they to everything around them. The sun although watery, was shining and it felt great.
On the button and as if by command my old mate George Bradley rolled down the drive at exactly 10.00am. If as the saying goes, 'Punctuality is the courtesy of kings' then George is the king of kings for punctuality that's for sure. It's funny how that saying has stuck with me from my school days all these years. I regularly had to write it 500 times as a punishment for being late to my Economics class. "Give me 500 lines Tolley". I smile when people comment at how fast I right. When you had as many lines to write as a punishment for being late in school as I did, you soon learnt how to lean on the pen, my Bic biro was more like a Porsche 911.
Well as usual George came, drank all my coffee and then left after the obligatory 2 hours of chat. It was only after he had left that I realised I had been mugged again. He left with an ancient Olive, a rather nice large Japanese suiseki from my private collection and a bronze of two cock Pheasants display fighting. Oh and half a dozen fresh eggs off the girls in the orchard. I should clarify that and say the 'girls' are my free range chickens and not a group of bonsai groupies I have have hidden away in a shed in the orchard.
However George did leave me with a new tree that I am very pleased with, which will be a nice project for the future. It used to be a nice mature specimen in Georges garden up until the winter of 2010, but that winter it was decimated like a lot of trees were in the UK, and I estimate only about 20% of the tree is alive now if that.
So with the image I now have in my mind to resurrect the tree, there is going to be a lot of carving and sand blasting done to make sense of the vast areas that are now dead and of course I will need a few years to put on the volume of growth on the branches that I need for the design. Growing the volume and the length of branches that I require will be a long process, but I think it will then be a unique tree. And guess what, it's not a conifer! So I bet your all asking, what species is it?
Well if I am honest I want to keep this one under wraps.
So can you all keep a secret?
So can I !
I should say at this point that George did a great job in pulling the tree around, good horticultural knowledge is priceless.
Originally the tree was a big informal upright (MOYOGI), and very classical in form and style. There is no way that if the tree was in its original condition and style pre 2010, that you would decide to restyle the tree the way that it will be now. However the winter damage has forced my hand and I am determined to to make it something special again, both for the sake of the tree and for George for letting me have it.
Well true to form, my delivery of trees did not arrive, Shock! Horror!
Am I surprised, of course not, you can always rely on good old British business to let you down. The only consistent thing about pallet delivery companies is their inconsistency! I am sure you remember my hassle with my shipment of trees from Spain only a few months ago. Well according to the delivery report logged by the driver they had tried to deliver at 7.45 am, which was while I was at the gym. However my Mother was here and she did not see any lorry attempt a delivery. The report also said that the driver was met by a dog the size of a lion and so he decided to retreat. He may have heard a dog that sounded like a lion, but that is completely different to what he said. What a load of crap! Anyone who has seen Muran, the lion of this tale, would know;
A. He is toooooo big to have wondering around when there is no one with him.
B. If the driver had met him on the drive, he definitely would not have retreated to his vehicle. Most people are glued to the spot! If you run your not going anywhere!
So me being me I thought it was an opportunity for a bit of sport! So I asked the transport manager at the depot if the driver was a young guy or an old guy. He was a little puzzled by my question and replied "an old guy." "That's a shame" I said, "if he had been young it would have been worth training him up for the Olympics in Rio. Because if he can outrun my dog he will walk the 100 metres".
A couple stopped me while we were walking in the forest recently and asked me what breed Muran was. I said to the couple that I was surprised they did not recognise the breed as the Queen had so many. The husband replied the Queen has Corgis, I said yes that's right. But he's not a Corgi is he he said. I said he is but he's on the steroids these days. The couple laughed. I then gave them the true facts.
But anyway I digress. So anyway there was to be no delivery of new yamadori today. So back outside into the studio to do some more dewiring. Hopefully the trees will be here on Tuesday as promised (laughs sarcastically to self).
Tuesday 5th February 2013. (Finishing yesterdays blog this morning)
Well the day went down hill from there. First I slipped on the slimy cobbles in the courtyard and like any good bonsaist I thought 'save the tree'! And duly twisted my back which I had sort of pencilled in for pulling, when unloading the pallets of trees. But even without moving the heavy pallets I managed to do it, you just have to laugh.
As the day wore on my extremities were getting colder and colder, well most of them anyway! My head was aching, my neck was getting stiff ( I said my neck), my eyes ached and I had started to tremble like you do when freezing cold. But I was not cold, only SOME of my extremities. I got progressively worse and my legs were aching and I did not know where to put them for the best. By the evening, to quote Kathy I was 'looking a bit grey'. You can't beat a wife's concern can you. She could not have been too worried because she asked me for two autographs for two guys at work, WILL and TESTAMENT which I obligingly signed despite feeling like death warmed up. I was surprised that two of her co workers would know who I was in the bonsai world!
Hopefully today will be better. The ground is covered in frost, the sun is out, my new trees are coming..............I think!