So right: Cat had hip surgery yesterday to remove 3 screws from her hip. The recovery will be 6 weeks on 2 crutches, which is not ideal... However, instead of dwelling on all that bs, let's talk about the day before her surgery which was THE MOST EPIC ORDINARY DAY OF THE WHOLE DAMN SUMMER!

THERE WE WERE: After Olive and I ran around Vicky Park we went to our new allotment where we found the wife (who, against strict orders, had carried 50L or ericaceous earth all the way from our flat for her precious, bloody blueberries):

An allotment is a patch of dirt the government gives you to grow food. As my pops said, "A gift of earth is a gift from God." Though I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about the Tories. After being on a list for over a year then we were given this:

Which my overexcited English fruit bat wife turned into this:

And finally, into this (I did schlepping): Plot came with two apple trees with decent apples, one cherry tree with *amazing* cherries (there were 5), a bunch of nasty rhubarb (yeah, yeah, you can make a crumble) and a shed full of rusty tools, old cookie tins and over 4,000 spiders!

Having an allotment requires fierce determination from all parties.

Very fierce determination.

It involves getting dirty.

Especially if it's all about growing:

Olive knows what's up.

After the allotment we came home to admire the new pillow arrangement. Years in the making:

It's hard to tell where the gardening stops, exactly...

But the actual garden is looking pretty sweet.

These are lilies my dad got us last year down Colombia Road flower market. They, like him, have since gone mental :-)

What's the point of growing flowers if you can't cut their heads off and mount them where all the other flowers can see?

This is where Cat chills with the Sunday paper.

This is where Ian chills with the Sunday paper.

Where Olive totally does not chill with the Sunday paper. On Sunday, it was all about *this* rock...

August is peak bird. We go through a liter (!) of bird food every single day. Our main birds are sparrows...

... great tits (heh, never gets old)...

Woody the wood pigeon...

and glorious goldfinches.

But we've been having a new visitor, a very shy, mistrustful one. A bird uncommon in our immediate area, a bird we only rarely see in local parks even. Yes, it's a Chaffinch! Charlie Chaffinch.

Who yesterday -- the most epic ordinary day of the whole damn summer -- finally came close enough for me to take his picture. Excuse me but: squeeeee!

Ooh, also, earlier, we found a candlestick and a vase sitting in a bin! What Americans call a dumpster. I don't know which is which anymore. Bin or dumpster, I mean. Obviously the candle holder is the one with the candle. Point is: I asked her ladyship what she would like for her last meal before a bunch of dudes ripped metal screws the size of drill bits from her leg bone and she'd be on crutches for 6 weeks. And what did she want? Fish fingers! What Americans call fish sticks. And white bread! Common as mud. Well, at least we had our first salad ever from the garden which was brilliant.

(and if you think our beloved bastard fur child didn't get a special Sunday treat as well you don't know my girls)

After everybody went to bed, I spent some time with my midlife crisis. Cat may have a green finger but I have a fish finger! Actually, we both had fish fingers but the point is: reef-tank time.

Bubley, the bubble coral, was chafing against the rocks and eventually I moved him and, well, he has filled the space. I love this coral as much as it's possible to love a cnidarian.

I mean, look at it.

Our yellow wrasse has finally matured enough to where you can see his facial markings. A powerful fish but so far not aggressive.

Witness the amazing: Jean-Claude van Clam!

Lastly, I know you're not supposed to have favorites but this is Dandelion, the first fish I put in the aquarium and seemingly the one with the most awareness. She's very wary, even after almost five years and this is probably the best shot I have at her. Glad I stayed up. Olive, as always, was a step ahead.


Now the next phase begins. Cat broke her hip in May, 2016. She was on 2 crutches for over 5 months, one crutch for 8 more and it's only been recently she's been walking without the damn sticks. But the pain is getting old. The hope is, with no screws to irritate her gorgeous IT band, we can go back to what passes for normal. Namely, she can go back to carrying 50L bags of ericaceous compost by her own damn self!  In the meantime, I'll be carrying lots and lots of things. And making tea. At least five cups per day. Tea that can't be carried in an appropriate china mug when you're on crutches. Tea that must be brewed just so. Tea that can have too much milk, or not enough milk. Or has gotten a bit less than ideal in temperature.

But I am lucky man to make it. She's my all of everything.

Here's to more epic, ordinary days. Much love to everybody and thanks for all the support -- mwah!