A contented sigh

Friday February 4, 2005

To Spilsby for bread and milk and a visit to the post office on a mild, hazy day, smeared with sunshine from an uncertain sky. The town, at about eleven o’clock, was busy, with take-out food stores gearing up for the lunch-time influx of kids from the secondary grammar school in search of munchables, and with late morning shoppers doing the let’s-get-finished-before-the-skallywags-appear thing.

For my part, I like the way the town comes alive when the kids arrive. I like the way they laugh and jape while queuing for baguettes, chips, burgers or whatever takes their fancy, and I like the way they stand and sit in small groups to take their lunch in good company.

They seem to me to be good natured, well-mannered youngsters and I’ve never seen any bad behaviour. They even take care to put their empty wrappings and bottles in the litter bins, and that’s something a lot of adults could well emulate.

And, if I happen to be held up for a while as they hand over their lunch money in the queue ahead of me, I take consolation that they’ll all be out at work in a few years, earning their living and paying taxes to help pay my pension.

All that’s needed to feel good about such things is a positive attitude and a bit of lateral thinking.

So, anyway, when my errands were run, I decided to indulge myself in my monthly treat of a bag of chips, drenched in vinegar and drifted modestly with salt. I took my munchies back to the car, opened the windows wide, and sat there watching the world go by. It really wasn’t much of a morning in Spilsby but I try to make the most of it.

Let’s face it, Spilsby isn’t what you’d call a happening place. When the weekly street market and the daily influx of kids who lunch out are the big events you really can’t say it’s a happening place. And if anything unusual does happen it seems not to have too much of an impact on the town or the people in it. The most dramatic thing I’ve witnessed was a burst water main down by the corner tuck shop, flooding the road to a depth of at least half and inch. It warranted a beige alert, no more.

That was my day, really. I seemed to put in a full, generous day’s work, and enjoyed it.

Meantime, Graham was busy on the job of rennovating the kitchen electrical system, finishing with the installation of under-cupboard halogens to replace the over-bright fluorescent tube we inherited from the previous owners. With a new ceiling, new sink and cooker, and better lighting, the kitchen is beginning to look really rather snazzy. It’s always been a good kitchen in which to work and live, but now it’s taking on that special edge we’ve come to enjoy. It’ll be the last kitchen make-over job that Graham will undertake for a few years and, while we’re being careful not to over-work it, or to over-spend, we’re not intending to spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar, or of effort.

“It’s a right hive of industry round here just now, Dolly,” I said.

She rolled over, paws in the air, presenting her tummy for a gentle tickle, and gave a contented sigh. Rounds a day off nicely, does a contented sigh.


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