Sunday, 29 August 2010

Quiet day

I was reading Elizabeth's evocative post this morning, and was struck by her phrase "the silence which was not silence". I started to think, and to listen. A plane high overhead. Distant traffic sounds. A cat, washing itself  (wetly, noisily, so has to be Hamish). The wind. The ping of an incoming email. Little else; it is Sunday, and the weather isn't tempting anyone to linger outdoors. It's not silent, but for a city street, it is quiet.

My house is often quiet. Cats and dog sleep for hours, I potter, and read, and sometimes forget to speak even to the animals. It's an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity that I cultivate, knowing that this is what I myself need, and they respond. If disturbed, they blink sleepily at me and stretch, then tuck their noses into their bedding or under their tails. They may go outside, to sit on yard walls or under the bench, their attention taken by a fluttering leaf or an ant. Nothing much may happen for hours in their little lives, at least until dinnertime.



Today it is slightly different. It's windy, in that gusty, unsettling way, with occasional squally showers that beat urgently on the window panes. It sprang up suddenly, causing huge clattering rushes of cats through the cat flap, indignant that they should be made wet with such force, and with so little warning. A wet cat (Lottie) is a friendly cat, wanting up onto my knee, tapping me with an outstretched paw.

Then all settles down.

No one calls, no one phones; it's a Bank Holiday weekend. My whole family is abroad, my brother living in America, my sister still in Greece, my son in Cambodia (he texts from Angkor Wat; says he's all templed out). I stop reading (Chris Mullin's oddly-engrossing political diaries) and bake some cheese and herb scones - I have just enough Cheddar and parmesan in the fridge to make a batch.

Only after they have been stamped out into squares (I have a friend whose auntie always maintained that savoury scones should be square, and sweet or plain ones round) do I realise that I have left out the butter - how could I have forgotten the first step, the rubbing-in of fat into flour?


Never mind, too late now; they are baked, and heavy. Edible, I suppose, but hardly up to scratch. Leaving them in the oven for a while helps them to dry out a little, but does nothing for their looks. Before they have cooled, Roger and Tim, home from Mull, call in with gifts: handmade soaps, an assortment of tiny sweet tomatoes, some almost dark brown, and plums from their tree. They oblige me by eating two of my scones.




Later, the dog and I go out for a walk, in a biting wind. It feels autumnal, but not in a mellow, kind way, more of a hint of harsher days to come. I contemplate buying a new winter coat soon.

The house is quiet again, but with the added muffled roar of the central heating boiler. Time to put the kettle on, time to settle in for the evening. A quiet Sunday, almost over.

20 comments:

Karen said...

Sigh, I wish it felt autumnal here in North Carolina. Still summer with temps in the 90's for the entire week. Plus, the weatherpeople/meteorologists are predicting that Earl will strengthen into a major hurricane and hit our coast. This could be a problem for us as we are only two hundred miles for the coast. Send scones my way, please.

Isabelle said...

Well, that sounds very restful. My Sunday was not like that.

You've made me think about cheese scones. Hmm. Wouldn't mind one...

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Sounds like a wonderful Sunday. I love quiet days with my cats sleeping nearby.

Von said...

Lovely Sunday!
Here it is Spring, the light has suddenly changed as if a switch was turned on.Yesterday was wonderful, hard work putting in gates and fences, all enhancing the gardens and limiting goose movements.Time to sit in the gentle sun with Lemon,Lime and Bitters and contemplate the next goal.

Catherine said...

You painted your Sunday so beautifully in words and photos ~ bliss!
xo Catherine

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

A very satisfactory day .
Small children and cats both run in wild circles when there's a high wind coming .The playgroup will be like dervishes today .

Lucille said...

I loved this. A sleeping cat settles a room. It was quite quiet here too and it's going to get quieter. One boy gone, one to go.

jabblog said...

Very peaceful. I'm tempted to make scones now, but will resist. Whatever I bake turns out like stone. Even rock cakes are really concrete . . .

the veg artist said...

I like a quiet house too. No background radio or TV here - I've never been able to understand how people can hear themselves think, or is that their aim?
We are atill at the stage where odd little noises make us hope that it is the cat-flap. Of course, it isn't. We've put the shutters on those to stop any neighbouring cats coming in.
Cool and dampish here on Sunday, with strong winds, but Monday is promising SUN, with more to follow in the week. Leaves are starting to fall, though.

frayedattheedge said...

Sometimes it's good to just potter, with no timetable, no thoughts of 'I must get on'. It is definitely autumnal here this morning - the sun was noticeably lower in the sky and the shadows longer when I went for my walk - and it was chilly!!

Val said...

Sounds like bliss to me. Builders starting on replacement of guttering and fascia boards, as I speak. I can't imagine ever having the house to ourselves again.

Rattling On said...

I know exactly how your son feels. After living in Russia I only have to hear the word 'icon' to feel slightly queasy...

judy in ky said...

I need a lot of quiet time, too. But I also enjoy a nice gusty day, as long as there are no tornado warnings...

Mac n' Janet said...

Our modem died this weekend and it felt like the end of the world!

Sue said...

I wish my Sunday had been like that, I spent the day washing horse related stuff ready for next Saturday. One of my daughters went to Cambodia and she said exactly the same thing about the temples.

mountainear said...

Love, love, love a quiet house. The sort of quiet there is when there is only ME in it. (Remember coming home having taken all three little boys to school and the silence was deafening.)

Went to the holy Land and felt the same about tombs.

lovethosecupcakes said...

Love this post.
Autumn is in the air, isn't it?

Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh my I never thought I would say this... but.. please send some of that cool air.. we are sweltering.. this is highly abnormal this part of the country...

Your kitties wound up like that suits your post perfectly!!!

elizabethm said...

Synchronicity at work here! First you connect to my blog and then I find you are in the middle of the same book, the Chris Mullins diaries. I love a quiet house too. I like a full one from time to time when everyone is home but the glorious silence when everyone goes is a very necessary part of the equation.

rogern said...

love your photos again, they are so evocative and you have a real knack. the tomatoes and plums look magnificent.

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