Today I walked. The sun was warm and everything felt pink. I wandered down through huge firs and up through a field that had been recently ploughed, all darkly earthy and wormy.
I pootled down the avenue tripping over shiny conkers that had split out of their spiky shells. I walked and talked to myself then I got to the kissing gate where two spiders webs hung together. Dripping with dew and sparkling in the sun the sight of them took me straight back to being a kid, walking to school, everything in soft focus. The smell of damp leaves, and a bellyful of possibilities. My world was all fuzzy and blurred as nobody knew I was as blind as a bat. I started wearing glasses after it was evident that I couldn’t see the bus numbers and ended up elsewhere when I should have been somewhere else.
Today I walked longer than I had anticipated and it did me good. The old git said he thought my last blog was sad and pessimistic. When my garden gets overgrown and I haven’t got the energy to weed and prune, snip and rake then the inside of my head gets overgrown with brambles too.
Also the cellar in the cottage discombobulates me when it’s too messy, when the carpet is covered in fluff and loadsa laundry needs ironing. Yesterday Chris the Gooner, came to fix the tumble drier. He left after five minutes and pocketing £99 he told us how we could claim some money back and where to go to buy a new machine. The tumble drier is now deceased, Chris left when Patsy, our new neighbour, arrived with a pouch of microwavable rice. The packet from Lidl contained dangerously contaminated grains that had gone black with mould. We contacted Radio Kent in the hope that they would cover the story. Well of course they wouldn’t – one pack of mouldy rice doth not a radio segment make – but we tried.
We do have a washing line, in fact we have two. One is too high for me I have to stand on the kick step to hang anything on it, the other is one of those twirly whirly things that sticks in the ground. We use an old jam-jar lid to cover the hole when it’s not in use. Hanging out the washing always reminds me of my father who laid a path when we moved to our new house in 1956. He sunk two posts into the concrete and swung a rope between them. He fashioned a prop out of a sturdy branch. My mother would hang his shirts, the sheets and white table cloths onto the line with big wooden pegs then push the prop up onto the line. The washing waving from on high. It’s a happy memory. The smell of wind-dried washing is up there with newly baked bread and freshly ground coffee so I hang out the laundry when the weather is conducive, which this year has been in short supply. Given that our cottage does not have enough rooms to dry wet washing in, a new appliance had to be researched asap and purchased immediately. So the old git got researching and our new condenser drier will arrive on Monday, all being well it will last until we die. The ‘oosbind paid twenty quid for the old machine to be removed and recycled, but stopped short at handing over another seven quid for them to take the packaging off.
What with an overgrown garden and a grubby cellar I felt mashed from head to toe. So today a walk was necessary to rebalance my unsettled mind. The stillness of the air and the gentle sun meant I walked further than I had planned. The inclines weren’t that hard and my breathing was regular and before long I took myself out of the inside of my head and pushed myself to look outside instead of inside. By the time I had got home the man of the house had paid for the tumble drier and offered to drive me to the farm shop.
We listened to Molly Drake and argued about what her song meant. Then whilst he listened to Radio 4 I put huge bunches of green spinach, shiny black aubergines, red chard and brown chestnut mushrooms into my basket. I picked over shiny courgettes and filled a paper bag with carrots covered in earth. In that brief moment finally I remembered gratitude.
My little life has to be honoured, if not by me then who? So whilst the weight of the world hangs heavy I gave myself a kick up the tuchus and treated myself to two massive peaches and three overgrown figs. I can only do what I can do, remaining positive is a revolutionary act when the weight of negativity threatens to upend. So it’s onwards and upwards, putting into place a new plan for the end of 2021 – the podcast is being prepared, the secateurs are being sharpened, the cellar is returning to wishy washy’s laundry and I’m going to teach a family how to sing ‘Silent Night’ in harmony, ready for Christmas, which I’ve just been told is 76 days away.
So it’s goodbye to maudling ramblings and hello to fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.
The bitch is back.