Saturday, 11 February 2017

a dark cold day

I hadn't expected there to be snow on the lawn when I got up.  The last weather forecast I looked at yesterday evening before going out definitely said that Saturday was going to be overcast but dry.  It was due to be warmer, too, a whole four degrees, and I was looking forward to planting and potting up the box of bulbs that arrived yesterday from Pottertons.  Scant hope.  The Systems Administrator said snow had been expected, but all I can say is that the forecast must have changed.

After a while more snow began to fall, big wet flakes that barely settled.  The kittens are starting to work out that wet snow is no fun.  Mr Cool went and sat on one of the dining chairs, staring out of the window into the sodden garden with a resentful expression, and Mr Fluffy simply gave up and went to sleep in a cardboard box.  Mr Fidget occupied himself chewing at the log basket and began to eat a piece of twig he had managed to pull out of the weave.  I  did not fancy having to track down an emergency vet on a Sunday because Mr Fidget had a perforated bowel from eating dried twigs, and found an old toilet roll centre for him to chew instead.  Mr Fidget seized the cardboard happily in his jaws and ran around the house holding it.  Mr Fluffy became fascinated by the birds on the bird table and ran out to catch one, but by the time he had climbed on to the table they had all flown away.  Mr Cool tried going out but came in again with filthy feet and left black footprints over the kitchen floor.

There was a quiet rhythmic knock at the front door before lunch.  I went to see who it was, wondering if the front door bell had broken, and it was one of the people from the cottages down the lane to tell us that our neighbour from the old farmhouse had died.  He had a fall, went into hospital and had a heart attack.  That's a shame.  I saw him only days ago when he brought the parish magazine around.  He did say then that his bronchitis had knocked him back.

News of a death spreads like ripples.  I began to think I should tell one of my beekeeping friends who knew him.  By a strange irony it is not so very long since he was telling me that he had seen her at another funeral.  She and I belong to the same women's group as his sister, and so she passed the word on to the group's chairman, plus a friend of hers who knew him  By chance the friend and I saw each other at the lecture last night, and she emailed me asking me to let her know if I found out when the funeral was.  As I know his sister I thought I had better send her a card, since while I've met his children I don't have addresses for any of them.  Our neighbour lived his whole life in the parish, used to be on the parish council and served as a church warden, and knew everybody.  I wonder where they will have the funeral.  A lot of people are going to want to attend.

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