Alamo Day

It’s only Alamo Day if you live in Texas so don’t worry about it.
Just because the Concise Oxford Dictionary says that I am a ‘withered old woman’ if I call myself a crone doesn’t make me one.
I’m taking back the language of my foremothers. I like the idea of being a crone, a hag, a harridan, a matriarch. Why not? If I can’t laugh at my three score years and three then I need my bottom smacking.
It’s Tuesday 6th of March and the bin-men emptied the bin all of their own accord. I forgot to put it out last night. something I am going to have to remember over the next three months since the old git will be in Northampton, and as helpful as he is a three and a half hour journey to put out the rubbish is just a little too much doncha think?

At just gone 7.00 I donned my walking boots, thick sweater and a stop watch and set off for my first walk round the houses in months
Fifteen minutes one way fifteen minutes the other and that’ll do me until I can raise my game. In the event I walked 40 minutes which was good for the soul and sole.
All the leaves were brown ( do join in with the echoes)
And the sky was grey
I went for a walk
On a winters day…..
Did you join in?
Only it really doesn’t feel like winter. It was a little chilly but nothing that a brisk sprint can’t fix.
Changes were afoot, I hadn’t been down the hill and round the bend for ages so the new fence round the White House was a surprise. The old occupents, both now Alzheimic, have sold to a young couple. The rose bed has gone and a new summer house installed.
The house by the grange was still asleep. The curtains and blinds closed and the fruit bushes covered in polythene bags.
Down the cobbledy road and round past the chestnut tree. Four black hens scratched around in the farms yard next to clumps of daffodils waiting to burst.
My feet slapped on the ground, I sounded like an old mare. Okay LV this is not self loathing just accurate reportage….
My head was full of yesterday as I passed the rusting kissing gate. That was the first letter of complaint I wrote 28 years ago. The farmer had bolted it shut, I pestered the local council. A public footpath should be just that, I argued, not locked away for the privileged few. I won my case and the farmer had to remove the padlock.
My head was heavy with my thoughts of yesterday. Then I passed the big oak on the corner to my field. Pooh Corner, so called, since that was where the kids did the obvious. Through my field and I started to breathe in the clean air. Where there’s oak there’s good air I’ve been told.
Yesterday was a day of reflection. Not anger just working through the end of this phase. Talking,pondering, blubbing, letting go. Gods Gift sat opposite me in the kitchen and listened – no recriminations mind – as I tried to make sense of my life.
The changes have been so swift that it has been hard for me to keep up with them. The three of us have been living sheet my towel since last July. Now the dawters in her own place, and the old man moves to Northampton on the 18th.
How would I cope in the cottage, in the country, in the dark in the silence? Who would I talk to? How would I be without the sound of the coffee machine, the golf channel or his snoring? I’m too far away from anything and everything. I’m too shy to ask for help. I’m too damn stubborn to admit that I’m crumpled and sad and I’m too cash strapped to be able to buy myself out of it. I know I have all the resources within, I know I have ton of friends and I know I am not alone BUT….in the end I went to bed and read and sniffled myself to sleep.
This morning my eyes are puffy and my head is half full.
Everything must change, I know this, but whilst I am thrilled for the ‘oosbinds brilliant job I hadn’t banked on being solo till June. I waited for the tears to come this morning but to my delight, they seem to have dried up which I’m grateful for.
All this and more went through my head till I got to the style, only there wasn’t one. A brand new shiny, grey kissing gate, had been installed, with three wide steps leading down to the newly laid road. No more rolling under the gate on the gravel, or sliding over the high wooden style for me. Now a gentle swing of the hinge and three steps onwards.
The beeper had beeped and I had fifteen minutes left. Felt like no time. All the while the dead, brown copper beech leaves were rustling in the hedgerows,the birds singing, and only the one car drove out of the horses farm. My head was clearing.
I walked past the house on the corner that has a toy mole poking out from the grass and a newly erected row of spikes for the wellington boots. Past the little church with the clock, past the rocks of 133 million years old and up the hill to the ski slope. The smell of cooking wafted over the spruce trees, took me back to my first, and last camping expedition in Hertfordshire when I was sixteen. The smell of damp canvas and bacon….
I swung my arms to help me up the last bit of hill and down onto the ski slope. The big clock in the chalet read 8.00. The pathway leading to the nursery slope smelt of loamy wood and mushrooms. Then past the cut back blackberry bushes, onto the avenue and up to my tree.
I started counting the trees, at least five had been felled. There I go again, I thought, all this change without my knowing. The stumps of the trees upset me. I know that they have to be pruned and husbanded but it always hurts to see their dead arms lopped off. I counted 52 when the beeper went off agan. I had done my 30 minutes. The alarm rung right by my tree.
The ivy had been cut away, the unruly branches spliced. I had a fully frontal hug. My old lipstick mark had been erased by the weather over time. I shall have to get my ‘Russian Red’ on and get smooching.
Left back onto the road and past three sheep.
Up the hill and into the cottage.
I had walked forty minutes and cleared my head.
I have decided to take my computer into the house until Jim returns so that I am by the phone and postman. Only time will tell if it is a good idea.
All this talk of bacon has made my mouth water, so its through the garden to breakfast. This evening I am meant to be going to the premier of RIOT FROM WRONG , a film made my young people about last August’s riots. If I make it I’ll report back tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “Alamo Day”

  1. Jeni that was wonderful, and it takes a lot to have me singing at this hour! I’m inspired to go and have a wonder around my garden now – thank you.

  2. Yes, I joined in. Now I can’t get the tune out of my head. Thanks for that. Still, better than last week when it was ‘I’ve got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere….’ from Guys and Dolls.
    You write so wondefully. I can almost see the lanes, smell the loamy earth and hear the birds. What a fab description. Your area must be beautiful.
    Be careful with that eye, Jeni.
    All good wishes to everyone,

  3. Hi Jeni
    And here’s me feeling guilty because I haven’t walked for ages, berating myself for putting on the weight I lost eighteen months ago, BUT thanks to you I’ve just had a marvellous walk without leaving the house! Seriously though you have inspired me to start walking again because reading about your walk reminded me how much I do enjoy it once I get started and how much better I feel for doing it. So come tommorow it’s boots on and best foot forward.
    Like you I have been helping my daughter move although she left home a long while ago but I do know how you feel, it does get better, honestly.
    A suggestion for when Jim’s away, treat it like a retreat, a spa break, how ever you want to language it. Pamper yourself, read, write[yes please write you are so good at it], walk, eat healthy, be kind to yourself, allow yourself to grieve for things that have past and think about the things to come. In short be totally selfish [or rather self full]. Just a suggestion Jeni, and think, from March to June spring/early summer, a wonderful time for rebirth, of nature and you!
    Wishing you peace darling girl.
    Much love

  4. JENI your reportage make fine reading! And you know i adore the horses. I would rescue them all from the knackers’s yard if i possibly could. God bless everyone of them.
    I agree with June. Just you and your cosy cottage, peace and quiet and your laptop. The sussex countryside. Dipping in and out with the locals when you feel like it, and the darling buds of May – Bliss!!
    xxLove Light LVxx

  5. Jeni dear,
    Oh to hug u! Thanks for the walk, we all walked along with u. I can off load a couple of my kids to your place if ya like as I sometimes can’t hear myself think!
    Now don’t go around calling yourself names, you’re merely a mature lady in her prime with many years of vigor and health to come. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with having some quiet time to do the things you never had time to do when your workload didn’t allow it.
    Keep your spirit up darling!
    All my love,

  6. I joined in and was doing the harmonies 🙂 and any time in the 3 months the old git is away you fancy lunch/dinner/theatre/cinema/putting the world to rights/getting tiddly on champagne – give me a shout!
    Much love
    Marmite xxx

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