Last night, as for some time now, we were entertained by a number of forest owl duets. As I have usually written my post before the overture I have forgotten to mention it before.
By no means my best photograph, today’s advent picture from December 1964 shows the timeless nature of the Trafalgar square Christmas scene. A better, similar shot was taken the year before and could equally have been produced today.
Early this morning I read Voltaire’s little inconclusive parable ‘Histoire d’un bon Bramin’, which sees a conflict between reason and happiness. The world-weary sage who has everything is not happy. His poor and unintelligent neighbour finds life much more enjoyable. I suppose the question is why?
A little later I walked through Minstead and back by an unplanned route. Beautiful frost patterns on the car windscreen were reminiscent of those on the winter’s morning bedroom windows of our childhood.
As I reached Seamans Corner, the fact that this was a morning for reminiscences was brought home to me by the rampant scampering accompanying excited snorts emanating from the green. No doubt the sow who had brought her litter to clear up the fallen fodder nestling between the shrubs, had decided it was time to give her udders a rest. The more sedate elderly punk sporting nose rings and an ear tag, remained slobbering and grunting in one spot. The fine mud spats she was wearing suggested she may have been seeking this comparatively drier spot to dry off. Her offspring, however, like Emily, Oliver and Alice in Newark’s Pick and Mix sweetshop of the nineties; or Matthew and Beccy brass rubbing in St James’s, Piccadilly a generation earlier, were all over the place at once.
For those fortunate enough not to have come across the Pick and Mix method of selecting sweets, an explanation is in order. What this involved with Michael and Heidi’s three children was a walk from Lindum House to Newark Market Square. This should have taken just five minutes, but, by the time Oliver had walked along the whole length of the top of the very low Further Education College wall, it was more like half an hour. Reaching the shop and opening its door was like opening the traps at the start of a greyhound race. Not chasing a hare, but rather choosing from trays of sweets lying in all directions, the children did not maintain a straight line. I had to keep an eye on each of them. Since I only have two eyes and there were three infants this was somewhat problematic.
A certain amount of restraint had to be exercised as they rapidly decanted various items of confectionary into the paper bags with which they had been issued. In particular it was quite an effort to ensure that the scoops and tongs provided were used instead of fingers that had so recently been running along the wire fence above the college wall. And no doubt worse. I think it was Oliver who broke the mould and took an age over his selection. Strangely enough, because they were not permitted to start the business of consumption until they were back home, the return journey did take no longer than it should.
I had intended this morning to progress to Football Green and walk the Bull Lane loop, however, not wearing wellies, my way was blocked by last year’s familiar lake lying across the road beyond the village shop. I turned back and arrived at Bull Lane via the footpath opposite the Trusty.
Rounding a corner cottage, I heard a woman standing at her door cry crossly to an unseen creature below the level of the hedge: ‘Come on’. I suspect it was a canine in trouble. Looking up and seeing me she repeated the call, this time in a tone of endearment. The dog, if that is what it was, clearly entered the house, for she closed the door, no doubt to administer a serious rebuke beyond my prying ears. What a difference an audience makes.
I must be circumspect about the reason for our outings this afternoon, but we drove to Calmore Industrial Estate to collect a package, and from there to Hobbycraft in Hedge End. I should perhaps not have been surprised that the Royal Mail Totton collection point should be at Calmore. Royal Mail and Parcel Force vans both deliver packages posted to us. As we were leaving to answer the summons of Royal Mail, a Parcel Force van drew up in our drive. With rather less than hope, I checked with the driver that he was not destined for our flat. He wasn’t and said that he was and he wasn’t part of Royal Mail who pay him. Maybe the answer lies in the size of the parcel, but it beats me why one company’s deliveries have to be made by two separate ones, both apparently under the auspices of the first.
The package we were collecting had been ordered on line from America yet mailed from Hong Kong with what our postal business’s form claimed to be insufficient payment. We were invited to stick the relevant denomination in postage stamps to a card and mail it to them, after which the item could be delivered. The alternative was to go and collect it and pay over the counter. That is the option we chose.
This evening we fed on fish and chips, mushy peas and pickled onions, with which I drank Carta Rosa gran reserva 2006.