I had to go shopping this morning - I leave it for so long that it becomes unavoidable, and then spend a horrendous amount of money when you consider it's merely feeding two old people (that's us) for a week or so. And today we slept in slightly and the knock-on effect was that I was in the supermarket at noon and it was horrid. Shelves depleted, it would seem, by the descent of the Harpies, and aisles clogged by couples whose subordinate shopper was reduced to leaning on the trolley in front of everything I needed while the other half rummaged ... And there were so many really old people, and sad people - or maybe they were just grim, like me. Anyway, I came home grumpy and wanting to escape. Again.
The escape came, as so often, in Benmore Gardens. We arrived 30 minutes before official closing time, and were there long after anyone else. The air was warm and still, the scents of hundreds of azaleas and flowering trees hanging and mingling in the bee-loud air. A woodpecker sounded its sporadic drumming in the lower forested area, and a cuckoo in Glen Massan sent its call up the Bhutan garden. And before we left, we visited the squirrel feeding area and found three - or it might have been four - little red squirrels feeding at the nut boxes and playing up and down a huge tree.
And that was all really beyond blipping - neither my photo, of the path leading to the walled garden, nor my words can really convey the assault on the senses that redeemed the day.
My extra photo is of the azalea in my front garden that has come with us through the past 49 years. We bought it for the tiny garden in front of our ground-floor flat in Glasgow's Hyndland area, dug it up when we left and took it with us, replanted it in the (messy) garden of the council house we had for 18 months through the school, and finally planted it in the house we still live in, where it's been for 44 years. This is the very first year it's flowered anything like properly; there are a few wizened flowerheads that failed to open, but normally I only get about 4 flowers in all. I'm thrilled.