Saturday, 21 January 2012

Naughty little schoolboy

Another beautiful morning with blue skies engraved with the criss-cross of vapour trails from the carriers of busy people on their way to do what? I wondered, do they look down on The Enchanted Village and think about us?

I walked to the very top so that I could gaze upon the world beyond. It felt strangely naughty, as though I was spying on someone else's world - like a naughty schoolboy furtively looking through a copy of Health and Efficiency from the top shelf in the magazine shop, or sticking one's fingers into the chocolate icing of granny's freshly made cake, standing on the dresser, or trying to look up Miss Cruxton's skirt as she sat on the edge of the desk trying to teach us human biology.


Thursday, 19 January 2012

In the mists of time

High on a hill stood a lonely...man and his two panting springer spaniels. Exhausted, that's me. They are just excited at putting up a brace of pheasants who were merrily minding their own business, scuttling amongst the undergrowth.

We're high in the woods looking down on what Maddie calls The Enchanted Village, which is slumbering snugly under a duvet of early morning chilled mist.

As we start back down the hill, the old cockerel escapes his brood and starts up with a rather frostly doodle doo.

In a few cottages, the 'oldies' are up and about, betrayed by the smoke swirling from the chimney pots.

In the lower field a figure emerges from the mist, wrapped up in a shooting jacket, rosy cheeks glowing under his checked cap, and with his trusty but ageing spaniel by his side.

'Morning' Grigg,' he says, as he lights his roll-up, out of sight now from his beloved wife.

We pass the time of day and the dogs greet each other in the customary way. Despite his age and arthritis, our older dog flirts with his canine friend.

His owner moves on up the hill and the dogs bid farewell.

After cleaning off in the stream, we're greeted by Mr Sheepwash who flings his window open and, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, raises his right hand, thumbs aloft: 'I'll be up at your house at five to give you a hand setting up the community bar.'

Friday, 6 January 2012

The first day of my new life

U2's It's a beautiful day rings out in my head, as I walk the dogs through the crisp, green fields early on a January morning. There are red skies in the east, clear skies above.

There are crows squawking overhead, pheasants calling in the copse below and the old cock is crowing to awaken his harem.

This is the first day of my new life of semi-retirement. I go back home to feed the birds, the dogs and two cats. And then, what to do? Warm in front of the Aga, make the porridge for breakfast and take Mrs Grigg - who ought to be up studying but is still in bed - a cup of hot water with lemon, ginger and honey. Perhaps I'll just sit and read the paper, relax and let the day unfold.

But no. Christmas trees and lights in the square to take down, post office at ten, meeting with Mr Putter at 10.30 to discuss plans to save our shop,  a meeting at two with the carpenter, a meeting at 4.15 with brothers and financial adviser and then a comedy show in the village hall at 7.30. Same old busy day. Still, tomorrow is Saturday.

And then, trying to log on to my computer banking system, I can't read the numbers on the security fob. Is it a low battery? The numbers appear incomplete. I try to get in several times by making a guess. And then Mrs Grigg says: ' You're reading it upside down.'

It's called getting old.