A funny old year

Saturday December 31, 2005

I didn’t go out and measure it but I reckon a total of some six inches of snow fell over the three days and then, almost as the last flake settled, it all started to thaw. Takes a long time to thaw, does six inches of snow.

Quite early on I trotted out very carefully to the front gate, camera in hand, partly to take a photograph of the slushy ruts on the tarmac lane but mostly to take a judgement call on whether or not it would be safe for me to go out for my walk today. No go, not at that point anyway, but I resolved to keep an eye on it and to venture out just as soon as there was enough bare road for me to tread safely.

It’s a long time since we had a snow fall like this has been. Oh, we’ve had a day of snow now and then most winters but not what you’d call a real up-to-the-knees kind of snow. Last time we had one of those we were living in Derbyshire and I was struggling to get to and from the office in a beat-up old Range Rover with a leaky radiator. The truth is I’m not set up for bad weather any more. Haven’t a pair of wellingtons to my name, and my walking boots disappeared a long time back, all dry and withered for lack of use. I shall have to do something about that if we’re in for a string of bad winters once more.

I don’t know how many times I went to the front window during the day, only to turn sadly back, shaking my head. Finally, just as it was getting dark, I managed a very short turn, just enough to get some longed-for fresh air in my lungs.

“Perhaps tomorrow, Dolly,” I said as I stamped my shoes on the doormat. “Hope so, anyway.”

Dolly the Mega-cat was sitting on the draining board in the kitchen. She looked at me, eyes full of meaning, then to the tap.

“Oh, all right. Give me a sec.”

I turned the cold tap on to yield the precise steady stream she demands, and stood there gazing out of the window as she lapped away. Finished, she shook her head, just to share you understand, I turned the tap off once more and then lifted her down to the stool we keep there to aid her heavy progress. She toddled off to the door into the hall, stopped, and looked back at me.

“Yeah. You’re right. Let’s go and have a nap.”

Which is what we did. Slept well into the evening, then got up for dinner and a glass of the good stuff from the ginormous bottle of bar brandy Graham slipped into my Christmas stocking when I wasn’t looking. I’d sort of planned a well-researched survey of 2005 for my last journal entry of the year. Too late now, and I’m not entirely sure I’d have had the energy adequately to document what has been an up-and-down year, domestically and on the wider stage. Just as well, because I think that, all in all, I’d probably have found nothing better to say in summary than “it’s been a funny old year.”

I think I’ll go pour myself a large brandy-and-american and sit sipping it quietly while watching one of those end of year TV programmes until the big clock strikes the magic hour… Later…

* * * * *

… and so, there you go. The big clock chimed, the London fireworks were splendid, I raised my glass to Graham, and to all my friends around the world and, when the midnight lines were clear, Graham took a moment from the Somerset revelries to ring home and we were able to exchange our greetings.

Honour is satisfied and I shall settle down now to watch some junk TV until Graham finishes up and we can say our goodnights properly.

I wish you all the happiest of New Years.


Thaw in progress



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