Nicely different

Wednesday September 20, 2006

I have yet to learn the weather here. What quarter of the sky to watch, what sky and air conditions signal a change, how to tell if it’s going to rain.

Nearest I can get to a safe forecast for now is to see if my neighbour has hung her laundry out to dry. It seems never to rain when she has washing on the line. So, in spite of a heavy sky and a freshening wind, I felt it safe to say it wouldn’t rain. Tina had a load of washing out there. It’d take a brave rain to dampen Tina’s washing.

And it didn’t. By lunch time the sky had cleared some, the sun had come out, and we were treated to another lovely day. Fresh, though, in the wind. Just right for Autumn, I’d say.

At intervals the wind strengthened, played for a while, and then dropped back to breeze level again. It’s forecast to be windy tonight, and to become more so. The remnants of hurricane Gordon have made it across the Atlantic, making life interesting in the Azores today, and look likely to fizzle out as it passes up and over the British Isles tomorrow.

I love to walk in the wind! Especially in the Autumn, when leaves fall from the trees, dance along the street, and attack you like bumbling clouds of giant moths, eager for some fun before falling finally to the ground. I wasn’t able to walk far today and the trees here need a couple of years before they grow fully to fun level, but there was enough of a leaf-fall to make me smile. And dance just a little in spite of a wonky leg.

Graham stayed home and unpacked a whole load of boxes, mostly books and small ornamentals and such. The ornaments remain in their tissue, stacked neatly on a table for dispersal when we have our shelves and furniture properly organised. The books were distributed between the top back bedroom—Graham’s office and our library—and the bookcases in my study. I made first pass at ordering them into the three major groupings that sustain a poet in his lair—volumes of poetry, reference works, and inspirational books of all kinds.

With only a short dash out for provisions, I turned my attention to the proper preparation and presentation of our food for the day, migrating away from chilled food and back to making up meals from the basic constituents. It’ll take me a while to complete the transition, and I’m not intending to force the pace, but our sandwich lunch today was, for the first time in ages, made up properly.

I’ve become heartily sick of supermarket sandwiches. Seems that even though they may use more exotic components than I’d commonly use at home, they all taste the same, bland and inoffensive. My effort today was unambitious, no more than cheese and tomato on organic wholemeal, but oh boy they tasted good. Dinner was a mix of ready-prepared and home fixed, but it was all cooked from raw so, again, the taste came through.

My outdoor chore was what is likely to become a daily ritual. Cleaning up the street litter that blows through the fence and into our front garden. Not a lot of it, but even one sweetie wrapper is out of place in a garden and just now I want to keep the canvas clean and clear, to facilitate the mind’s eye in the design of the new garden. Besides, wielding my spike at the end of a stick, I have a productive means of clearing any spite there may be in me of a morning:


Windfalls in my garden
Blown in on the wind
three chocolate wrappers
a chewing-gum paper
two lolly sticks
and a bag which once held potato snacks.
I stab them severally and separately
with the appropriate degree
of disapproval and, with no
charity at all, wish dental
caries upon the generous donors.
John Bailey
Somerset, October 2006


During the evening, once we’d started on the bottle of plonk, Graham decided that the time had come to tackle the problem of our broadband setup. He unpacked his computer, set it up, and replaced the BT router with our old faithful Netgear box. Within minutes he was on the air, connected wirelessly and operating just as he was when we left Lincolnshire. My laptop is another matter. We uninstalled all the BT software we could find but Windows stubbornly refuses to go wireless. I’m going to have to revert the whole system to the factory settings and start over. Meantime, I’m still restricted to an Ethernet cable connection but, mysteriously, the speed has dropped quite considerably. Still a lot faster than dial-up, but nowhere near the kind of web-page delivery rate I’ve become used to since setting up the ADSL/broadband box a few weeks back.

Towards the end of the struggle the air became blue with Graham’s frustration.

“Oh, leave it, do,” I said. “It’ll all come out in the wash. I have plenty of time to sort it out in the coming week.”


“Yeah, well, you can Grrr all you like but you know I’m right. Go and play with your computer. I’m happy that we’re up and running, and networked. The rest can follow.”

For once he did as he was told and the rest of the late evening found him happily playing on the Internet, doing a bit of online shopping, and searching through the IKEA and Screwfix catalogs for the things we need to obtain for our interior design projects over the winter.

Today, then, we’ve taken some major steps on the way back to normality. It feels good. It feels very good.

I ran out of oomph quite a lot earlier than Graham so I said my goodnight and took myself to bed. As I drifted off I could hear the happy sounds of keyboarding and mouse-clicking going on in his office. Just like home, the only difference being that instead of floating along the hallway in the little one-storey house by the fens, the sounds wafted down the stairs in the little three-storey townhouse in the west. The same, but different. Nicely different.



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