Thursday December 2, 2004
Having at least three layers between me and the cold is now a matter of routine. I don’t seem to find it at all difficult to work up an enthusiasm for being outdoors, wrapped up all snug and cosy, rosy cheeked and huffing great breath-clouds into the frosty air. I relished it as a kid, and I’m delighted not to have lost my enjoyment for it now. The only real difference is that I walk more carefully, is all. Walking on icy surfaces is a problem, I admit it, and the fear that I might lose my balance and slip over at any moment is almost always exactly that. Fear, that is.
But that’s a negative thought, and it’s not been the day for thinking on the negative side. In fact it’s been the kind of quietly positive day when I’m inclined to say: “Negative? What’s negative?” I don’t say that, though, of course I don’t. Quite apart from the endearing way in which fate is liable to up and smack you around the head when you get too sure of yourself, I firmly believe that it’s impossible properly to appreciate the positive side of life in the absence of a respectful knowledge of and attitude to the negative.
I must have been singing along quietly to myself because, out of the blue, Graham said: “You sound happy.”
“I suppose I am, really. But why do you say that all of a sudden?”
“Well, listen to yourself why don’t you?”
I did the fast rewind thing to recapture the song my subconscious had been singing.
“Oh. The Eartha Kitt song, you mean?”
“That’s the one.”
“Ah, yes. I suppose it’s because we’re teetering on the edge of it being almost Christmas again.”
“Just as well.”
“How’s that, then?”
“You sing that song one more time today and I shall have to feed you to Santa’s reindeer.”
“Oh. Sorry. I shall try, but you know me.”
“Yes. I know you.”
And silence fell over the little house by the fens as we both returned to our tasks of the day. After a little while I picked up on the quiet voice of someone singing a familiar song:
“Sorry!” I called out when I realised it was me singing, and what it was I was singing.
Too late, sadly, because a fearsome G–r–r–r–r–r–r–h! was already approaching from the living room.
And the rest, as the old bard from Stratford might have said if he were not having such a negative day, is hilarity.