I was reading Rachel’s post on blogging in Slow Lane Life and it struck me that although I enjoy blogging I don’t write as many posts as I used to. My life has not changed substantially so what am I doing instead? Have other things taken its place or is it just a phase I’m going through? (Why should children be the only people to have ‘phases’?)
I could lie and say I have been redecorating – but no, I leave that to the dogs. I have some embroidery to finish – and more to start. I have shallots to pickle – or will have when they’re delivered tomorrow, that is if Tesco hasn’t run out and tried to substitute them with onion-flavoured crisps. (Some of their substitutions defy belief.)
I ought to pick the crab apples that haven’t already dropped and make crab apple jelly but the garden is a quagmire. It’s time to make some more marmalade, too – and piccalilli and pickled red cabbage.
There again, I should declutter the house, starting with the spare bedrooms, but the thought fills me with . . . exhaustion.
My excuse is that I am writing. One book is being prepared for Kindle publication and I am editing another. It’s a feeble excuse, really, because I don’t spend disciplined – or even undisciplined – hours feverishly tapping out literary fluff. No, I read emails, do some online shopping, catch up on television programmes that take my fancy, replenish the bird feeders, watch the birds, laugh at the dogs, take them for walks, nurse Winston and attempt to clip his claws – oh, and there are the usual household chores, and meals to prepare and eat – it’s a busy life and no mistakeJ Add to that weekend visits from sundry, and sometimes all, family members – and their dogs - and I can’t think how I have time to do anything;-)
Anyway, the following is an extract from the book I’m editing. (It's called 'Good Fences Make Good Neighbours') To set the scene, Sandra’s son David has just lost his hamster to one of Pat and Larry’s cats and a funeral has been arranged.
At the simple ceremony the following day Beatrice and Damon Yardley joined the chief mourners. The Minter children had wanted to come too, but the girls stayed at school for activities and prep and were never home before seven. Alexander didn’t want to go without them.
Sandra was touched to note that Pat and Larry had changed from their usual scruffy sweatshirts into clean shirts and ties. David carefully placed a cross made from lolly sticks under the mahonia japonica he had chosen at the garden centre. He was quite specific about what he wanted; it was to be evergreen with scented flowers and should not grow too tall too quickly. He chose the site in a sunny corner of the garden, ‘So that Honey won’t get cold.’
Sandra remembered burying beloved pets in her childhood garden. When it came to the point of covering the stiff bodies with damp earth she always felt a pang they would never feel the sun again. Even as a teenager, she couldn’t rid herself of the irrational thought that it was wrong to shut out the light. She had always wanted to tuck a warm blanket round the cold body. She took her son’s hand now and led him into the kitchen. Everyone sat down at the circular table at the dining end of the room and tucked into the sausage rolls and quiches and vol-au-vents and pizzas Sandra had cooked earlier.
As the children were finishing their ice-cream, Pat and Larry slipped out of the room. When they came back, Pat was carrying a soft cat bed and Larry had two pottery bowls in his hands.
‘Where would you like this, Sandra?’ Pat asked.
‘I think you’d better ask David,’ she smiled.
‘Well, David?’ said Larry.
‘Is that mine?’ said David in a hoarse voice. ‘Are we going to have a cat, Mummy?’
‘Look in the cat bed,’ said the men.
David got down from his chair and went slowly to look. Peeping out at him was a shiny brown Burmese with large chartreuse eyes.
‘It’s Nutmeg,’ he said. ‘What’s she doing here?’
‘She’s come to live with you, David. We’ve been looking for a good home for her and she likes you.’
David shook his head wonderingly and was quite speechless. Sandra felt tears pricking her eyes and chided herself for foolishness. Quickly she pointed her camera at her son and captured his joyous expression.
‘Oh, thank you, thank you,’ David managed at last. ‘Please may I hold her?’
‘Of course you may – Nutmeg’s yours now and you can hold her whenever you like. She’ll never tire of having a fuss made of her.