The Sage has had a particularly cheery day. His best friend moved to New Zealand some years ago. The tale starts over ten years ago, when his daughter and her boyfriend decided to take a sabbatical from their jobs and travel the world. They had both gone straight from school to further education to jobs, and took a belated gap year. They wound up in New Zealand, loved it and wanted to live there. They got married there, but had to return to their jobs and to apply for residency. In due course, they moved back permanently and now have three daughters and are thoroughly settled in Auckland. Her parents went to visit several times, loved it too and were able to get permission to live there as via Tom and Maxine. They bought a house and, for a few years, divided their time between the hemispheres. However, three years ago, their respective mothers died and since then they have lived in NZ.
The mothers dying when they did was an odd coincidence, in fact. One of them was gravely ill, so Graham and Sandra flew back, to be told that she had just died - but within days, the other mother died too. So both funerals were held within a week of each other, they sorted out the legal and domestic matters and went back again. Since then, Sandra has been back but this is Graham's first visit. He'll be here for six weeks, and you can imagine how pleased the Sage is. They often talk on the phone, but they had a great four hours today catching up.
I cycled in to town to buy food and had hardly arrived back when it started to rain. It was as well it rained then, because I had just been vexedly remembering that I'd forgotten to buy coffee beans, although I'd cycled past the shop. As it was, I was glad that I'd come straight back. I popped back again later and have just had my evening cup of strong black brew. We've not had that much rain, don't know if there's much more to come. The Ups and Downs (our undulating field of ancient meadow land) hasn't been grazed this year, but the grass is short and browning off as if it is August.
I saw Weeza on Thursday, first time since Easter. She's now about six months pregnant and feeling well. She was tired for a couple of weeks, but has got over that. Phil's mother was staying for the long weekend - she's recently retired, so is footloose. His dad is still working. It was good to see her, and lovely how well Zerlina gets on with her. Very sweet, she walked along holding each of us by the hand. She'd been holding a biscuit, so put that in her mouth for safekeeping.
The old black Granny hen came from Graham, his eldest grandson was keen on chickens for a while and had reared more chicks than he wanted, so we had some. As is the way of things, the majority turned out to be cockerels - the Sage had had an idea of keeping one, but they were a bit more feisty than we really wanted, so homes were found and we kept the hens. Granny is the last one left, of three I think. Must be at least 8 years old. Anyway, Graham was very pleased to see her. The chickens were all being very friendly and confident. I hand-fed some of them some cheese yesterday. They are inordinately fond of cheese, so now hang around by me almost as if I were the Sage.