Thursday 31 December 2009

All quiet

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.


Linda said...

My husband is also one of those who can be so engrosed in a book that he wouldn't notice anything - he tells me that he slept though the storm of '87 while living in London!

Enjoy getting your house back!


Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to you all, from all of us here.


Anonymous said...

A very happy New Year to you and the whole bunch!

Fran Hill said...

I always feel really weird when they all go ... a mixture of relief and sadness. I guess that's how it should be.

Marie said...

Goose fat, you say?


I am sorry/happy about your suddenly empty house. I know what you mean about needing your own space and time, though!

My mother says that when we leave Cape Town the house goes cold. That makes me very sad.

Los animales are a great help, though.

I am making crab cakes for our dinner tonight, with some bubbly. We will probably be asleep by midnight. This thing is so over rated.

Thank you for visiting my blog this year, and for all your own lovely posts.

See you next year.


BumbleVee said...

Exactly all the reasons I don't care if anybody ever comes to know I live in my 'jammies.......... plus I just can't be bothered trying to entertain or keep them happy....I prefer my lovely silence or my own choice of music and foods... a cracker and a bit of cheese for supper if I so choose... or cereal... now if I could just wrangle how to have cats and not have my sweetie coughing, hacking and weeping....

A very Happy New Year to you and the little furry troupe.....

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Yes , I always wish that we all lived a little nearer . But I must admit I do cherish a little time on my own too !
Poor sister ! So , if one were to have a cardiac incident , for instance , on the train pulling the communication cord wouldn't help . Must bear that in mind .
As for James , I quite like the change to Hamish . And it could have been worse . If you'd chosen Hugh , he would have become Shuggy for ever more .

_lethe_ said...

And a happy New Year to you too!

Von said...

Toasted cheese in front of the fire in your jammies,lovely!Didn't someone write a song about it once?
Happy 2010,full of abundance,humour and good health.

love those cupcakes said...

Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year.

Susan said...

OMG Hamish !!! How purrrfect ! Love to all of you and we wish you all the best for a super fabulous 2010 xo Susan and les Gang at 29 Black Street

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Happy New Year! Hope you and your family have much peace, love, and happiness in 2010.


mountainear said...

All best wishes for a happy 2010.

Silence can be deafening can't it?

Anonymous said...

It's a new year, the head's a bit on the fuggy side this morning but the sun is shining and anything's possible.

Happy New Year one and all.

Thanks in advance for letting us be a part of your life in 2010!


Marcheline said...

Excellent post! And I much prefer Hamish to James, anyway...

When our cat Widdershins was just a kitten, fresh from the adoption center, had never stepped on carpeting before. Have you ever seen a cat try to pull all four feet off the ground at the same time? HAhahahaha!

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