Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Winters are boring. The days are short, the nights are long and the weather's rubbish. Outside, it's cold, grey and snowy. Inside, it's warm by the stove, but a bit chilly everywhere else (apart from when the oil heater's on in the telly room). The dirty washing pile has outgrown the basket and is waiting for a rare sunny day so it can all be shovelled into the washing machine. Winter is all about waiting. Waiting for spring. Waiting for sunshine. Waiting for the colour to return to the landscape. Waiting for an opportunity to get my paints out again so I can do something vaguely useful (not that painting's useful, it's just that it's much more interesting than putting up plaster boards in the bathroom or hacking off loose plaster in the indoor shed or kitchen). Meanwhile, the logpile gets smaller and I get smellier because I can't be arsed to get stripped off and shiver in the shower.

Like many animals, I'm a big fan of hibernating in winter. If it wasn't for Jock I'd probably stay in bed all day. But, as it is, the little bugger gets me up at around 6.30 (that's 5.30 UK time) by growling at the bedside. And if his growling doesn't wake me, he starts pawing the side of the mattress and growling foul dogbreath in my general direction. Slumbers rudely terminated, I then fall out of my pit wearing woolly socks, sweaty teeshirt and smelly knickers, don slippers, tracksuit bottoms and dressing gown, waddle downstairs, let the little git out, make a cuppa, check emails and news on the laptop, let the spoilt brat back in again, chuck some biscuits in his bowl and attempt to dry him off if it's been snowing, sleeting or raining (what's with the 'if'?), then back to bed 'til he wakes me up again just after mid-day when the process gets repeated. By this means I often get properly up at around 6pm when I give Jock a quick walk up the back lane to the old granite cross and back, sploshing our dreary way through snow, slush and muddy puddles before returning home to load up another wheelbarrowful of logs from the shed, re-lighting the stove if it's gone out (what's with the 'if'?), drying Jock off again, donning slippers, pouring a large scotch, doing something about preparing supper and getting stuck into whatever book I have on the go (recently finished Danny Baker's 'Going to Sea in a Seive' - an excellent read - and am currently halfway through Ernest Hemingway's 'Death in the Afternoon' - bit boring, but a logical choice having recently finished a book about the life of El Cordobes, the highly esteemed bullfighter of the early 'Sixties - and before that I attempted to get into Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' but found it pretty boring, not the least bit amusing and, I'm afraid to say, highly over-rated, but that's just moi). Maybe two or three scotches later, it usually dawns on me that whatever grub's on the go on the stove has changed from a delicate shade of green (e.g. cabbage) or blonde (e.g. chips) or pink (e.g. chops) to a not so delicate shade of black or brown, at which point I may chuck it all in the bin, stick a packet of frozen paella in a pan, pour another scotch and get back to my book. Then, when the paella's caught fire and the room's full of smoke, I generally pick at whatever bits aren't black, make a cuppa, grab a biscuit and waddle upstairs to catch the 10 o'clock news on telly (11pm out here) before nodding off on the settee under a duvet and a couple of blankets to be rudely awoken at around 2am by Jock demanding to be let out for a wee. Then it's back to bed to be awoken by dogbreath about four hours later, then repeat all the above.

This dull routine was broken last Friday when Georgie flew out for a quick visit to check that I was okay (she's worried I might be poisoned by a tooth abcess which I'm ignoring 'til I can summon up the courage to visit the dentist). Her visit meant I had to brave a visit to the shower, followed by a shivering dry-off in front of the stove and a quick shave once I'd stopped shivering (wielding a sharp razor blade in such circumstances can be fatal). Anyways, bless the old trout, she survived the chilling conditions and insisted on clearing snow from the car area while I stayed indoors and watched the rugby. She also dug out the indoor shed door which we put back up and the kitchen's now noticeably less draughty. I have to say there's far more reason to get up when she's here. Things get done. Inertia no longer rules. Ah well, she flew back on Monday so I'm now back in my lazybones routine. Told me to get blogging again. Bit tricky when bugger all's happening. Roll on spring.