Thursday, 31 December 2009
All the lovely and much-loved visitors have gone home. The house has been cleaned, the presents and cards put away, the excess food ruthlessly passed on to departing guests, and the silence is deafening. After a concentrated burst of family activity, I'm left with mixed feelings; I miss everybody, and I'm all too painfully aware of how far away from each other we live, but I'm also very tired, and looking forward to eating what and when I like, spending the evening in my dressing gown, and not having to worry about keeping guests comfortable, warm and stuffed to the gills. And I don't need to consider for a year, if I so choose, serving another potato roasted in goose fat, delicious though it might be. Was.
Anne and John went off yesterday, on a noisy, busy train filled with folk heading for a Hogmanay knees-up in Edinburgh. We hoped that Anne would not need to attend to the call of nature during her journey, as this is clearly a dangerous thing to do. She had told us the story of a day when she and John had travelled from Glasgow to Edinburgh, and she had found herself unable to open the door of the train toilet to get out. She had tried pressing, twiddling and wrenching everything she could see as a possible handle or lock. Nothing worked. Eventually she pressed the Help button itself, assuming that this would alert a train attendant. Nothing happened.
She resorted to banging on the door, and shouting. After a while, another passenger came along and tried the lock. Anne called out that she was trapped in the toilet, and couldn't get the door open. "Oh. Right." said a woman's voice, and the passenger went away. Anne waited patiently for the woman to fetch help. Nothing happened.
Time passed. Eventually, tired of banging and shouting, Anne pulled the handle that used to be called the communication cord, and waited for the train to come to a halt. And nothing happened.
Eventually, when the train reached Edinburgh, help did arrive, and the door was opened - with a crowbar. Anne then located John, who had spent the journey reading the newspaper, and, with astonishing restraint, asked him if he hadn't thought that she's been away quite a long time? It is awe-inspiring testimony to Anne's noble and forgiving nature that John still lives.
The Lovely Son went away at an unnaturally early hour this morning. The dog has been sitting in the window for hours, looking mournfully up and down the road, unwilling to accept the evidence of suitcases and rucksacks that They, her beloved humans, have gone away.
The cats, who have had several days of intensive spoiling socialisation and imaginative play, will miss the humans too, once they wake up from their obligatory afternoon sleeps. James, his name now thoroughly Scottified to Hamish, has become an adventurous little cat, surreptitiously exploring the stairs, wrestling with Scooter, and peeping through the cat flap. Poor Hamish suffered a setback today when I put a collar and name tag on him - it was the peeping through the cat flap that was enough to raise the alarm for me. He is still at that uncertain stage where he thinks he can't walk with a collar on, and freezes every few steps before fleeing back to his box, but this evening he'll be out, pouncing and ambushing, and probably wondering why the lovely dinners have gone back to being just cat food. Ah, the grim realities of a post-festive regime! Kibble for them, oatcakes for me. It's back to the workhouse for us, my darlings.
Happy New Year. May 2010 bring you all the loveliness that you would wish for, and more.
Posted by rachel at 17:01