Sunday, 20 January 2013

The wind has teeth


I love it when I catch a seagull yawning, or a cat dreaming - it lessens the gap between species and makes me realise that we are not so different after all. This young and boisterous, female Doberman Pincher took twenty minutes out last night, to stare dreamily into the flames of the pub fire in exactly the same way that children do at Christmas time, when the food has been eaten and the presents opened. I know exactly what it was thinking in it's reverie - nothing, like the rest of us.

A young man came to the bar to get drinks for himself and his friend, and stared at me in mild horror as I finished a sentence, the tail-end of which he arrived just in time to hear.

"I have done it to pheasants, I have done it to rabbits, I have done it to fish," I listed several more animals before concluding, "I have even done it to a swan."

Seeing the look on his face, I thought I had better explain to the stranger that I was talking about the gutting of animals, adding that what I had done to the smaller animals did not involve the use of Gaffer-Tape.

All this gutting was - of course - a prelude to actually eating the things, but the conversation had started when I mentioned the Muntjack deer I had picked up for the beautiful taxidermist recently, and what she would have to do as a prelude to stuffing it. The man walked away with a relieved smile on his face.

I am looking up to the snowy hills that overlook the South side of Bath as I write, and a large handful of children and their parents are tobogganing down a wide field, which I love to see. They are far enough away to look exactly like a Bruegel painting of a Lowlands Winter scene.

I look up again to see that most of them are now gone - probably to dry out their gloves and warm their hands and feet on the same fire they use to toast crumpets and muffins.

When H.I. was a child in the North, she had her parents so well trained that she kept two pairs of woollen gloves on the go whilst playing in the snow, and would run in to swap the wet pair for the pair which her mother had carefully dried out for her by the fire, then rush out again to get them wet and uncomfortable - in rota, all day. No wonder they called her 'The Queen of Sheba'.

I see that they are predicting temperatures as low as minus 20 C for my part of the country next week. This means that I will have to - somehow - get to the workshop and turn an electric blow-heater onto all the damp plasterwork I have been working on since the summer. If those things freeze up, weeks of work will go down the drain, but only after they have thawed out.

The beautiful taxidermist and a few others are - again as I write - sunning themselves in Morocco. Fortuitously, they booked the flight from the only airport in the South of England which was not closed by the fresh snow.

They drove Eastwards up the M4 and beyond, with a blizzard on their heels like a pack of wolves, and the wolves snapped at the wheels of the plane as it took off, leaving them wandering aimlessly and hungrily around on the tarmac. I miss her already.

17 comments:

  1. Sorry - again - for the crap photo. It's the only one I took.

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  2. My lot (from Stansted) were 2 hours late, caused by de-icing of the wings. I forgave Ryanair, having been delivered of 2 grandsons.

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    1. It would take more than the safe delivery of your two grandsons for me to forgive Ryanair anything, but I'm glad they were.

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  3. Do my eyes deceive me or is that Doberman wearing a gold necklace and dress?

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    1. No, it's a diamond necklace and dress.

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  4. "Taxidermist" was the first thought when reading. And couldn't believe my eyes that I was right :-)
    Snow: lots and lots of it. Woollen pairs of gloves - to remember how the snow cracked on the palms of it after some time - one had those snow patches that clinged into the wool. And the dark sound of snow when one rolls the big snowballs for a snowman over hidden grass.

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  5. Eaten swan? Or have I misread? Thought they all belonged to her Maj. If you have then what in the name of heaven does it taste like?

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    1. This one collided with a pylon in poor visibility, and I didn't bother to ask her Maj if I could eat it. In my limited experience, they taste like a river smells in high summer - a bit fishy.

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  6. Here in the anally retentive US, dogs are never allowed in bars but then again most of the bars here are not fit for a dog, especially not one of that caliber.

    Love these "soft" post of yours Tom

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    1. I wouldn't feed your beer to a dog, either, so no harm done.

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  7. I hope you're wrong about the -20 Tom. In lieu of Morocco, the Doberman has the right idea.

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    1. So do I - we're heading for a triple-dip recession, and this time it's being blamed on the weather. How very British.

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  8. I'm always reminded of Breugel when it snows. He really captured the light of a snowy day in those snowy paintings.

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