Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Cold climes, watery views and a nostalgic power cut

Goodness, nearly three weeks since I was last here and in that time, we have had the worst November weather for decades. And all this may look familiar, because it was only last February, if I remember correctly, that we were hemmed in by snow, looking just as picturesque, and being just as much nuisance.
We have also had temperatures dropping to -6 0r -7C, locally, and unfortunately for them, in Scotland, -10 to -20C - that's about 0F. They are still having tremendous difficulties; we at least have had a partial thaw, and expect better weather during the next few days.

Just as well, as this afternoon, we had a power cut. I was contemplating an evening in front of the TV, after making the meal, watching The Apprentice, with a good log fire, again, and the fire was loaded up ready to go. In the meantime I was doing email correspondence, when there was ping, and the computer and the lights all faded away. It was not quite dark, and we lit the fire, found some candles and a torch; then the OH went in search of our gas light. One of the things we acquired, many years ago, when we lived here without electricity for six months, (as described my book, The Fruit of the Tree, was a gas light, and we have kept it safe for this sort of occasion.

I am the skilled firelighter of the family, so I sat in front of it, making sure it kept going, for some time. The plans I had made for that hour and a half, went by the board, but fortunately, the power came back at around 6.00, and I was able to get on with cooking. I will still be able to watch The Apprentice tonight.

In the last week of November, before the snow descended, we Goldenford Girls, took our books to several sales, and, particularly at the last one, were quite enthusiastically welcomed. But then in the last few days of November, the snow came down, and for a few days, I didn't leave the house. We had to cancel a lunch with friends, because they were marooned in their house on a hill. The OH even tried to get up the hill, (to prove a point, I suspect) last Wednesday, and then had to reverse and slide all the way down again.

On Wednesday or Thursday, I broke a tooth, and then broke more bits off it, in the next couple of days, till there was a great canyon in my mouth. But the dentist closed his surgery, and I couldn't get through till Monday morning. By Saturday, there was enough of a thaw to get to the shops and replenish fruit and veg supplies. And on Monday, I went to London, where the temperature had reached zero, I think, which felt almost balmy compared to the previous days. In London, opposite the National Gallery, in Trafalgar Square, the huge Christmas tree stood not far away from a giant menorah, celebrating Chanukah, with the ship in a bottle just behind. London, at its multicultural best.

I met the OM's cousin and we visited the exhibition of Canaletto's paintings - meticulous visions of Venice, many of them full of life and action - together with those of some of his rivals. (Coincidentally, I am currently reading The Glassblower of Murano.) I admired the truth and accuracy of all the paintings, and enjoyed the exhibition more than that of Gaugin. Cousin and I then spent several hours, chatting over lunch in the National Portrait Gallery cafe. It was good to have a day out after my brief incarceration.

I managed to write a few hundred words on the train, but the novel is progressing slowly, nevertheless. I have spent more time reading recently, both the Reading Circle reading book, above, and also I am editing - I say, editing, though it actually needs very little input from me - Irene Black's fantasy novel, The Noontide Owls, which is an impressive tour de force.

Today, I got to see the dentist, my centreless tooth having managed to survive without further damage. The dentist filled it with amalgam and warned me not to bite on it for a couple of hours - not to even breathe on it. As I have been doing for the last five days, I continued to eat on the other side of my mouth - and so far, it feels intact.

Tomorrow, I will be selling books at the Guildford Institute, after I've dropped my car off for its annual service. The temperature is supposed to be up a little, which will be welcome when I make the chilly walk from the garage to the town. Now, our fire has dwindled down to nothing, and we have coped with another cold evening - so as S Pepys would say, 'and so to bed'.