The sound of rain on a tin roof

Sunday April 30, 2006

The antenna we bought for the new Freeview digital TV thingie on Friday turned out to be inadequate so, by prior arrangement, the main job for today was to go back to the shop to exchange it for a more powerful beast. I’d expected to be sent off by myself but Graham decided to sacrifice his afternoon nap and come over for the ride.

It was a pleasant drive, though the weather had turned a little grey and rather chill after the sunshine of the past few days. The servotron in Comet honoured the deal, though with little grace, and we obtained a flashy Philips job as replacement, paying the extra of course. Sadly, when we got it home we found it was faulty, with a broken mains plug and, I suspect, some other less visible damage, so the trip will have to be repeated tomorrow. Judging by Graham’s state as he set off for his stint at the bar this evening, I’ll be doing that trip on my own.

By my observation, Graham works diligently and enthusiastically at his job but a little too hard for comfort. It’s the very beginning of the season of course, and it’s likely he’ll settle down to a more sustainable pace before the week is out. I shall do what I can to help.

Somerset glows when the sun shines but even when the clouds roll in there’s a special, soft quality to the light. As I drive along the narrow country roads between high hedges and higher hills, I experience a strong, snug feeling of safeness, as though the landscape is sheltering and protecting me. Lincolnshire was beautiful in unfavourable weather, too, but it was a bleak, unsheltered beauty.

It’s hard not to make comparisons, locating and defining the differences between the two landscapes. Not to decide whether one county is better than the other, more to establish the dynamics between the two. My head is still filled with images from Lincolnshire; it’d be strange if it were not. As they fade, I want to build on the dynamics, all the better to sink in to, absorb, and make the most of my new Somerset world.

I’m catching up on my sleep, and my rest, and expect to be back up to strength by Tuesday, when the house-hunting starts. Last time we did this we ended up with a massive stack of paper, listing house after unsuitable house. This time I hope to be more selective, and junk the ones that really will not do.

It ought to be the case that an agent would listen carefully to the prospective buyer’s requirements, and come up with a shortlist of two or three properties that fit the specification. Sadly, that’s an approach rare among estate agents and you end up with an armful of house details and a nigh-on uncontrollable urge to get the hell out of the office as quickly as possible. I shall try to cultivate a quiet, smiling serenity through it all.

Tomorrow morning, then, I need to drive over to Taunton again, clutching the faulty TV antenna and seeking a further replacement. This is a saga that’s only at its beginning, I suspect. Finding the best solution for a TV reception problem is never straightforward in my experience.

Dolly and I spent the evening snuggled up on the sofa watching the newly released DVD of Brokeback Mountain. Dolly treated it with a comfortable indifference, of course. I’m not so sure of my reaction to the movie. I thought the book was one of the finest pieces of late 20th century literature I’d experienced when I read it some years back. The movie is beautiful, and impossibly sad. By my memory the storyline sticks close to the original but the overall production, for me, fails to capture the tight, rather astringent quality of the novel. I shall leave it on the shelf for a second viewing in a few week’s time before I finally make up my mind about it. I doubt that anyone who’d not read the novel would have the same difficulty though, and am happy to recommend it. Just keep a box of soft tissues to hand, is all.

By the time Graham finished in the bar and wandered down the cinder path to the caravan I was wilting and, after he’d had his supper, I excused myself and toddled off to bed. A gusty wind had come up and there was a steady rainfall. Tomorrow I expect the wind to strengthen, blow the clouds away, and let the sun shine through once more. It was awfully good, though, to doze off into the night with the sound of rain on the tin roof overhead. There’s something enormously comforting, and evocative, about the sound of rain on a tin roof.



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