My daily routine consists of doing as little as possible at all times. And if I have to do something, I always try to put it off 'til tomorrow. Or, better still, the day after. By which time, with any luck, I've completely forgotten what it was I was supposed to do. It's an approach to life I've been working hard at ever since I can remember. Some people might call this laziness. But I don't. Hah! How can anyone call me lazy? I work like a Trojan bringing wood in from the woodpile on my trusty old wheelbarrow, I light stoves, I walk the dogs (always exhausting) and I occasionally do the washing up (equally exhausting). No wonder I'm usually fattygayed at around six in the evening.
At about this time, regular as clockwork and resisting the urge to assume the horizontal on the settee, I swing into action serving the dogs their evening grub before planning and preparing my own magnifique Cordon Bleu creation from whatever scraps are festering in the frigo. The only time I get to relax is about an hour later when the church bells chime seven. With this clanging in my ears, the dogs snoozing in front of the stove and whatever nosh-up I've sweated buckets preparing gently bubbling on top, I leap once more to the frigo, sling some ice in a glass, pour a large whisky, add a measure of dry ginger ale and begin my jolly old evening sit down at the kitchen table. Then time stands still. All is quiet. Peace at last. It's the best part of the day. Especially in winter.
Thus seated, I can spend ages just staring at the flickering flames in the fire. Sometimes thinking, sometimes not. Or staring at cobwebs on the ceiling, thinking maybe I should sweep 'em up. Nah, maybe tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. Anyway, must have been last week, or maybe earlier, I was quietly sitting there watching the flames, my mind miles away, when I caught a slight movement out of the corner of my eye, somewhere around the dogs' bowls. Couldn't be arsed, of course, to get up and investigate so I just stared at the bowls instead of the flames. Thought maybe I should clean 'em sometime. Maybe tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. Then, shock, horror, up popped a mouse's head (could have been a dormouse or vole or shrew, I suppose) peering over Jock's bowl. Quick as a flash, he (or she) dived in the bowl, nicked a scrap of dog biscuit and then shot off behind the bin. Thought about digging out the old mouse traps. Nah, maybe tomorrow. Or maybe the next day.
Next morning, he (or she) was floating face down in the two inches of water in the dogs' water bowl. Hah! Forget the traps, the water bowl does the job. Same thing happened a couple of more times over Christmas. So far, three drowned mice (or dormice or voles or shrews). Maybe that's the lot. Or maybe not.
After this natural catastrophe, on the Monday after Christmas, Georgie arrived for a week's break (she spends Christmas with her sis and elderly mother, always believing it to be the old gal's last). And last night, after a long slog in the garden watching Georgie pruning various rampant bushes and hedges (it's exhausting watching her), with the dogs snoozing in front of the kitchen stove and our grub gently bubbling on top, we were both quietly engrossed in our reading matter - she studying some Limousin magazine while I attempted focus on the performance details of the 2001 Honda VFR800 (sight as well as speech tends to go a bit pear-shaped when imbibing my soiree medicinal scotch) - when I caught a slight movement out of the corner of my eye, somewhere around the dogs' bowls. Quietly told Georgie to look. Not being the type to immediately stand on a chair and scream, she watched in amazement as the cheeky little mouse (or dormouse or vole or shrew) calmly nicked a morsel from Jock's bowl and then sped off behind the bin. "No problem," said I, "mice can't swim." She looked at me rather oddly. Sure enough, this morning...
A Winters's Harvest
1 week ago