Departed dancers

Sunday September 25, 2005

“Morning, Dolly!” I yelled, as I do when on waking when we’re home alone.

I don’t check to see where she is before yelling. Mostly she’s already up and about, positioned by the french doors in the study, watching the dawn’s early light. Sometimes, though, she sleeps in, and gives me a fearsome glare from her bottom corner of the bed.

That’s what I got this morning.

“Oh, sorry, luv,” I said. “Didn’t mean to wake you. You snuggle down there for a while longer and I’ll do you a nice breakfast when I’ve had my wake-up coffee.”

Actually, it was long past dawn’s early light. The sun was streaming into the dining room and between the curtains in the study and I was encouraged to think I’d be able to start taming the grass this morning after its over-long holiday. No such luck. When I drew the study curtains it was to see that it’d been raining during the night and that while there was a lovely bit of warming sunshine, it glittered off of the beads of moisture on the lawn.

There were showers on and off all day. Nothing too dramatic, but enough to prevent me from risking electrocution with my trusty little electric mower. The grass will have to wait and, when it does get dry enough, I shall need to cut it in two or even three passes, starting with the blade at its highest setting and working down to the minimum.

That’ll be fun. Not sure when it’ll happen, though, because the forecast isn’t too hopeful. It must get done in the next fortnight, though, partly for the benefit of the house buyers who may come along but mostly so as to demonstrate to Graham on his return that I’ve been doing the best I can to keep the place up to standard.

“I want to see this car spotless when I get back,” he said, and I’ll do my best to get that job done, too. A car that’s driven 250 miles over British motorways and trunk roads, spent a week in the open air on the West Somerset cliffs, and then back to Lincolnshire does need a good clean. And a large, moulting cat doesn’t help the interior, either.

In fact, thinking about it, I’d best draw up a list of jobs to be done, in order of importance, in readiness for Graham’s return. I want the house, garage and garden to be as clean and welcoming for him as possible.

Sure, there are some things I can’t do. I get by with my arthritis mostly by avoiding the things I can no longer do and, of the tasks that remain, by finding no-strain ways of doing them. Even so…

Anyway. Today, needless to say, was the day of the long naps. Very long naps. Interspersed with uploading the Somerset journal entries from the paper exercise book I bought in the Watchet Co-op a week ago. Journal writing is a habit that’s hard to neglect.

I also had to grab a couple of hours to trip over to the Boston Tesco store for provisions to get me going over the next few days. I have to say that the store in Boston is superior in terms of useful shopping to either of the Somerset branches. Today, though, it was spoiled for me at the checkout by the bitchy woman who slung my goods down the conveyor willy-nilly, without concern for their safety or my speed of packing.

“That’ll be £24.45,” she demanded as she shoved the last item into the crowded pile that’d mounted up.

“I’ll be with you in a minute, dear,” I smiled, and continued to pack, carefully, and as slow as I could manage, transferring each bag to my trolley as I went.

She had the impudence to get impatient, tapping her fingers on the desk, and tidying empty bags as she waited.

“You went too fast for me,” I said, flatly, as I moved back to reach for my wallet and hand over my card.

She showed no remorse, made no apology, and got rid of me as quick as she could end the transaction. I considered toddling over to the customer service desk and lodging a complaint but decided it was more stress than I cared to handle on what was otherwise a lovely, quiet, rest up day.

Actually, there’s no need to complain even though one ought to do on these occasions. Tesco’s have CCTV cameras and recorders on each checkout, partly to detect dishonest customers but also to monitor staff performance. I suspect that she’ll get a stern ticking off when her tapes are reviewed. Tesco’s take customer satisfaction very seriously these days.

Back home I stowed my shopping away, had a grossly over-indulgent lunch of sausage rolls and brown sauce, and took myself off for a long, long afternoon nap.

In the evening I picked up the photographs from my pencam, and the few I’d taken with the Fuji DSLR. I’m becoming slightly disillusioned with the pencam after, what, two years of experience? It functions just as it always did, and produces the occasional result that’s startling.

While we were shopping in Taunton, Graham bought himself a replacement mobile phone, equipped with a camera that knocks my pencam for six. It’s especially good with subjects in low lighting conditions, and produces results that are superior to those I obtain with the pencam. My own mobile phone is showing its age now, losing its programming periodically and needing to be rebooted. It seems to have lost the slight beep on each key depression that helps me when I’m texting, too. Mobile phones don’t seem to last very long, generally, and I’m fortunate that this one has served me so well for a little over three years, so I can’t complain too much.

I’m thinking seriously of putting the pencam up for sale on eBay, and buying myself a replacement phone with a built-in camera. The one Graham bought would do me nicely. Of clamshell design, it is about the same size as the pencam when closed. We shall have to see.

Along with that, I’ve been doing my best to get back up to speed on the piano. Sadly, the little finger on my left hand has decided to be all creaky and arthritic today, along with other joints in my hips, knees and feet. It’s down to the strain of the journey, of course, and will soon be back to normal. Meantime, piano practice is a peculiar process, with an occasional plunk as my little finger fails to function as it ought, each plunk closely followed by one of a selection of mild curse words from me.

At some point I am going to have to sit down quietly and review the Somerset trip, work up the few photographs I took, and go over the notes in my day book. There’s the chance that I’ll find a few triggers for new poems there. That’d be good. Meantime I’ll let it all simmer, closed at the end of my holiday season, much as the ballroom at the holiday camp was closed during my stay, filled with faint echoes of departed dancers.


Light at the end of the ballroom



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