The nights were pretty cold when I was away and I was glad of a hot water bottle. Two dogs snuggling beside me in the evening, plus the heat from the stove kept me warm in the sitting room.
Westie Boy was probably feeling the cold as his coat has been clipped very short in preparation for Cousin’s upcoming trip to Australia to see daughter Number One in Sydney, while her husband, who’s staying at home, will be promoted to Dog Carer in Charge. The one who looks like a walking hearth rug is Westie Pup, who belongs to Daughter Number Two and with whom I was delighted to be reunited over the weekend. Rather more delighted than Westie Boy was to have her there I’m sorry to say.
The mornings were chilly and bright, frost evident on the fields and verges.
Blue skies, green fields
Celia and I went on a walk today. We are calling it Auntie Mary’s Walk. We had a wonderful day. I hope this picture conveys something of the ambience. Continue reading
OK I am back in London where, although the thermometer tells me the temperature is the same, it feels much hotter than in the country. Tonight, having cleared some space on my laptop, I have been able to download some pictures from my little Olympus.
Goodness I feel conflicted. I grew up in the countryside. I walked to school through a housing estate, where I lived, built on farmland, through more farmland, and my first school years were beside a sheep farm. We had plenty of opportunity to witness the cycles of life. I thought lambs were born in plastic bags.
The countryside exerts a huge pull. But I live in London. Unlike New York, it sleeps, but there are endless exhibitions, free events, wonderful theatre. My neighbour Wendy, who has a number of serious health issues, has been disregarding her partner’s instructions. He is away from home, and, anxious about her wellbeing, has told her not to leave the house. Well, huh to that. I have met her out and about the last two days. She is very interested in the pretty tabby I have told her about, though partner has banned any new cats. We stood on the street, and were joined by other neighbours. Wendy’s health issues have not dimmed her interest or attendance in theatre. Time was I’d see her dancing through her housework which she’d do accompanied by the soundtrack to shows such as South Pacific. One of the neighbours who joined our chat – never believe the rubbish that Londoners don’t know their neighbours – explained she had lived in Brixton, had not heard of Walworth, and now could not believe how central was her location.
But this is not what I intended to post about. I have a few pictures on my camera from das Boot. Pictures I hope will help you understand why I love being there. Pictures which show MasterB relaxed and contented afloat.
I am quite touched by the concern for my wellbeing expressed in the comments to last night’s post. Thinking about it today, I realise I have not had an extended break from town for a long time. I had planned to go to Crete in November, but that was cancelled and I ended up with my new and lovely kitchen. So I am wondering if my feeling on return to the Smoke was simply a realisation that I need to be away for a while.
After all, I love what London offers. I love the theatre the museums, the diversity. When I am in the country for extended periods I am often appalled by people’s expressed opinions on all manner of things. I live in a liberal (small l) world here in London; in the country I regularly encounter people who not only read the Daily Mail but believe what it says. I shouldn’t last a month.
After posting yesterday, I noticed I had a comment waiting for approval. I looked and was left somewhat confused.
This is what it says:
that is the way things still carry on in the countryside and its why we dont like city dwellers x they will never understand salx sooner or later you run out of friends and neighbours
It is in reply to a comment made on this post about the cruelty of some people towards animals. Continue reading
Celia and I were remarkably calm about being lost. I don’t think she was putting on a brave face for me, and I certainly wasn’t for her. In some strange way, it was rather enjoyable, and heightened the feeling of having time out. Also we were in Kent, not the wilds of Siberia.
I came late to Kent. I grew up in the neighbouring county of Surrey. Say that to many English people and they will wrinkle their noses and assume you lived in a house with at least five bedrooms, you had a pony, went to private school and your father was Something in the City, while you mother did Good Works or played golf.
For better or worse, that was not my experience, but something of Surrey’s high opinion of itself certainly rubbed off on me, because despite some familiarity with Kent through regular visits to see Aunt, I always saw it as a much less attractive county.
Kent is beautiful. It’s different from Surrey and discovering it by walking its paths has been a pleasure. When you ramble, you usually bypass villages, only going into them for lunch stops at pubs, so getting lost and being guided along roads by my ‘phone meant we went to places I had never seen.
Oast houses featured. None being used for their original purpose, they had all been converted into homes way out of my price range. Still, it’s nice to look.
Converted Oast House
Nettles. Great for a hair rinse, at least according to Aunt; good as soup apparently; and nice tea; but up close and personal in the raw state, no. Nowhere near as bad as the poison ivy across the pond, which is Nature in a Very Bad Mood, but nonetheless, not to be messed with. So we walked back and forth through holes in the fence, bypassing the things, and finally emerging illegally into the next field.
Sidestepping the end of the path was a necessity rather than an option. Nature had achieved a fine and very effective barrier across the legal way.
Impossible and Impassable
The sun was setting as I drove the last miles over what passes for a road over the fens. I stopped to buy half a dozen eggs and the Egg Lady came out and introduced herself. She recognised me as the woman who handed her some twenty egg boxes at the start of the summer. I keep them in the boot of my car for when I come East.
We had a brief chat and I explained I was on my way to das Boot. She was interested in why I had it. I explained – Mother's move to sheltered housing, my need for somewhere to stay. She asked what I would be doing this weekend. I told her the main purpose of my visit was to see my aunt who has terminal cancer. Egg Lady promptly told me if I needed a shoulder to cry on and/or a glass of wine, I should be welcome.
She has a pack of wonderful dogs, so I may take her up on it. I told her I knew someone in Colorado who wants her weather vane.
At the marina I hurried to das Boot to run the engine and get sorted before MasterB came on board. A head poked out of a nearby boat. A boat that is newish here. The owner of the head, Gary, wanted to know if I knew the code to the toilet and shower block. He seemed a bit down. Maybe he has been waiting all day for someone to turn up and give him that information. He made some comment about there being quite a few cars here but no people. They're out on their boats, I said, gesturing to the riverfront which was conspicuously empty of craft. He seemed unimpressed. Maybe I would be too if I had been hoping for use of an onshore shower all day. Continue reading