I look out of my study window, and I see rooftops. If I stand up, I can peer into people’s gardens: multi-coloured pegs on a washing line, a black cat on a brick wall – next door’s dog is barking at it. I know he is protecting the gold fish in his owner’s pond from the cat’s winter offensive. On the other side, where the sun is as bright as morning frost there is a field: stretching down to Quaker’s Walk. That’s where the wood stands. They are proposing to build new houses over that field – my last resting place for the eye. People have to live somewhere. I am hoping it will be a sweet little retirement village, not a night hub for crazed-eyed early morning commuters suffering from road rage and constipation. Retirement village is all the developer has the permission to build, but I don’t trust developers just like I don’t trust bankers.
One has to seek refuge from time to time. In October, we went to the Lakes. Grasmere. Mist lifting from the water, mist falling to the undergrowth, incessant drizzle. Such a fluid world! Your breath becomes mist. I forgot about the developers and the bankers. Someone once said, and he/she must have known what they were talking about, that if the human race had perished from the face of the earth, within 100 years there would be not a trace of us. It’s reassuring. Looking at the misty lake, I felt relief, the same kind you feel when you flick the fuse back on after the lights have gone out – and, presto, there is light again.
Steve wasn’t quite taken with the drizzle and in his unerring extravagance decided to hike up the steep hill… with his umbrella. Raising a few eyebrows. Here is my faithful rendition of his trek:
Last week, we soaked in some ancient mythical air on top of the Glastonbury Tor. Again, I was able to rise above my earthly worries about developers and perishing woodlands. There I stood – top of the world – with the magnetic, miracle-making strips running beneath my feet and philosophically inclined sheep grazing on a slope. Life is still beautiful.