Sunday, 30 September 2012

Yesterday afternoon.

Our house is on a very narrow, small cul-de-sac.  It's very tight to turn a vehicle around in too.  Partially because some driveways are too narrow to get a car up, necessitating that they be drawn up, half onto the pavement half on the road, but also because all the neighbours drive there are simply too many cars to fit on their drives, so the road is made even narrower by parked cars.  Imagine then my interest when a fire-engine drove up, a ladder-engine.  Hang on, is someone's house on fire?  Look for smoke...signs of panic, shouts, people?  Not a sign.  What a relief - all quiet, just the usual Saturday afternoon in the suburbs of the city, not a soul in sight.  The engine stopped, presumably ruminating on how to get out of the situation without pranging anything.  Two lovely young firemen jump out and go to the rear to direct operations, up a bit, left a bit, forward, back, shunt shunt, eventually the great red engine managed to park up, and sat there.  And sat there... I'm watching through my bedroom window, I could just about see inside the cab they were just chatting.  I suddenly thought of all the dangerous things these young men do for us.  Bright young men doing a job not everyone could contemplate.  Downstairs now, I'm rummaging through my larder.   Do I have chocolate somewhere?  No.. but I have biscuits, completely covered with chocolate.  I fling on a sweater and some shoes and make my way outside into the sunny September afternoon.
As I reached the engine the door swung open and six lovely smiley faces peered down at me.
" I don't know why you're here." I ventured,  "But, I just wanted to give you these." handing up the packet.
" You don't know why we're here? We're here to fit smoke-alarms, do you have them?"
"I do."
"Do they work?"
"They do, yes.  Anyway...... I just wanted to thank you all for what you do.  I think you do a brilliant job! I know you sometimes get abuse and even rocks thrown at you, but the people on this road are all nice people. So...Thank you! I think you're all brilliant!"
Six lovely handsome faces grinned down at me.
"'s not often we get this kind of treatment, thank you. We're not supposed to accept gifts but seeing as they arr..r..e chocolate! Thank you very much!"
They all waved as they drove off into the afternoon, it was lovely.  Afterwards I felt emotional thinking of the brave job that they do, these ordinary men who do extraordinarily dangerous jobs for us all every day.

It's not often we get a chance to be able to say thank you, I'm so glad that I did!
Photo: Wikipedia

Friday, 28 September 2012

'....But, but -
excuse me now, please; it's morning heavenly bright,
 and irrepressible heart begs me to hurry on
 into the next exquisite moment.'

-'Trying to Be Thoughtful in the First Brights of Dawn' - Mary Oliver -

It's lovely how the dawn sky is flushed or washed with a pale lemon in a line just above and behind the trees on the golf-links.  As though a water-colour artist were beginning a painting, laying down the first washes, gliding the pale pigment across the paper.
My pen halts sitting across my thumb - listening, waiting for the next movement, to place the letters flowing from brain to paper.   There... as I look up I catch the gold of a tree.  There is one point in the dawning where the sunbeams catch-up one tree alone, clustered about by many yet only this one tree's top most leaves and branches are lit-up with the golden light of the rising morning sun.  I can see it through my window in the mass of branches and leaves of the other trees gathered around it.  It is like the subject of 'This is Your Life' and the others about clustered friends and relatives called to pay homage.
I have a small spray of creamy white freesia on the window-sill and behind there is a shallow line of condensation along the bottom of the window itself, the sun illuminates it so that gleams like sunshine on snow reminding me of a heap of tiny diamonds tipped from a bag.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

'Our senses define the edge of consciousness'.  Diane Ackerman

The air and the days suddenly, become autumnal.  It happens overnight practically and in the following dawning of the next day I can feel autumn.  It holds an excitement, a mystery, a dying...yet also an awakening.  Thoughts of cool autumn mornings, walking through mounds of jewel coloured leaves and golden grasses, their damp sodden fragrance disturbed and drifting upwards to reach my nose causing me to lift up my head, left and then right to breathe in the cool wet-feeling air and as a consequence catch sight and sound of a flock of geese, honking, flying in their ragged 'V' formation across the pearl-grey skies.

Snatches of past autumn days burst into my mind - always the overwhelming smell of rotting-down leaves, pungent and earthy and brackish pervading each scene.  Remembering a  particular road in the late afternoon now.  I'm by a run of small grey-black shops to my right, they are set back from the road, a long pavement away from the line of gold and orange leaves gathering in the drain-wells.  That grey ribbon of a roadside running down to meet the main thoroughfare and opposite me as I see the junction ahead another bank of houses and a news-agency shop up a short slight incline.  The lights are on inside and there is a feeling of pleasance, and there is an air of school over for the day, home beckoning.  A day when illness has presented me with a hiatus away from work, I am waiting for a chemist to fulfill a prescription I've been given by the doctor just up the road.  How many times have I been here, in this spot, waiting...?  Long ago when 'S' was small and I used to call here, coming into the chemist's shop to buy tiny elastic toys for her hair,  little elastic bands of bright colours with tiny kittens attached or baubles attached that I used to fasten-up the plaits we put in her long hair each day.  These scenes replay, over and over, taking me to this place, bringing me back, over and over.