In reserve

Monday March 13, 2006

“I’ve run out of boxes,” Graham said late yesterday.

“Right. Let’s order some more.”

This is one aspect of moving house that’s been made easier by the Internet. You just click on your bookmarks, pull up the moving supplies link, and order the stuff you need. Two days later a bloke and a van arrive and the boxes and stuff are sitting in your kitchen waiting to be filled.

This morning, at my urging, we went off to do a week’s provisioning, driving over dry roads that are all white with the salt that has been spread over major routes in readiness for the snow falls that haven’t turned up. Yet.

At several points during the day the light has turned that delicious, slightly foggy yellow I remember from my years as a school kid, gazing out of the classroom window, hoping and yearning for snow. Walking home, rolling a snowball that, when it got to be too big and heavy to be rolled any further, was left outside some unlucky house on the way. And, if it was cold enough, making slides on suitable stretches of pavement, whizzing along, carefree and happy.

Lethal little brats, children, aren’t they? Miserable old men and women may mutter, and I confess I do my own bit of miserable muttering as I have to walk carefully around icy pavement slides, but when it comes down to it, like Christmas, snow is really meant for children and it’s only when we see it with a child’s eye that the real beauty, and fun, is clearly seen and fully enjoyed.

The new style animated weather maps on TV have been showing precipitation of the icy kind bubbling down the east coast from Scotland and over from Scandinavia, getting closer, closer, and then dissolving in the North Sea before reaching us here in our little bit of Lincolnshire. While there’s been ice on the pond most mornings, and a freeze-dry quality to the wind, we’ve seen nothing in the way of snow yet. Sooner or later it’ll hit us. Maybe tomorrow, maybe later in the week.

“Do you think it’ll amount to much?” Graham asked.

“Nah. Just enough for purposes of prettification, I reckon.”

“Well, just so long as it doesn’t stop the bloke delivering my boxes.”

In the carpark at Tesco’s there’s one of those corners where there seems always to be a particularly nasty turn of the wind. In spite of wearing layer after layer of clothing, it managed to whistle through my defences and strike close to my inner man.

“This is bad,” I said. “Blowing right through my windcheater, it is.”

“And straight through my hat,” Graham said, “in spite of the thinsulate lining.”

“Let’s get cracking, then, and get back home in the warm as soon as we can.”

I did a good, four-day shop and we got it home in good order. Graham set to the task of storing it away in the deeper recesses of the under-counter fridge that I can’t reach while I made tea and checked for phone messages.

“Anything?” Graham asked.

“Nope. Not a whisper.”

Neither of us voiced it then but we both knew the subject only too well. We are getting to the stage where we really, really need some positive news on exchange of contracts.

“I think we’re going to have to start stomping on the blighters very soon now,” I said a little later.


“Better be.”

“You or me?”

“You first. Keep me in reserve for a bit of controlled nastiness if it’s needed.”



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