Thursday 26 April 2007

Adrian stuck in the mud

January 2007

One of the huge planters outside the front door came crashing down in the wind, throwing earth and cyclamens everywhere. Then the dustbin went clattering off down the hill. The small birds seem to have gone into hiding and I don’t blame them. The buzzards have given up wheeling (no chance of a perfect circle today) and taken themselves off somewhere too. Only the rooks are out and even they are being tossed around as if the wind were playing a game of catch with them. The way the wind is going I wouldn’t be surprised if the odd sheep blew past the window any moment.

It was so dark this morning that I could barely see my desk. I’ve had to work with the lights on, which I hate. Murphy is back and looks very fed up, head down, shoulders slumped, for all the world like Eeyore staring at his thistle patch. Adrian and Jack have gone to survey the stream but I can see, even from here, that it is extremely high. The little island James plays on in the summer will be several feet under water and if Adrian isn’t careful he’ll sink into the mud again. This happened most amusingly last spring when he was pottering round down by the stream. James and I were wandering up the hill when we heard a plaintive wail.


We laughed and went on. This isn’t as callous as it sounds – Adrian is always playing the fool and crying Wolf in a sort of odd playful way (or so he says – frankly it can be very irritating!).

Again it came. ‘Jane! Come here, I’m stuck.’

I thought this was a bit off, seeing as I was halfway up the hill and, still not quite believing, sent James down to see what the problem was. He came running back, looking concerned.
‘Mum. He’s stuck. Really stuck. Honestly. And he’s sinking.’
So down I went and sure enough the girt idiot was up to his calves in mud, swaying around as if he were wearing Michael Jackson anti-gravity moon boots. I think the sinking bit was playing to the gallery as, though Exmoor does have the odd bog, I don’t think we have any on our little stretch of land.

I tugged and tugged and tugged and began to wonder if he really was doomed to sink slowly down into the sludge. It would have been a cruel end, within sight and sound of the road! But eventually we hauled him out. One boot came out a satisfying squelch but the other boot was stranded. We tried and tried to haul it out – but to no avail. He hopped back up the hill. The boot remained like some weird sculpture but, when we came back later, it had gone. Maybe we do have our own bog after all.
I was pretty cross.
‘Why did you go there, when you could see it was deep mud?’ A reasonable question.
‘I wanted to see how deep it was.’ Which, to a man, is a reasonable answer. God help us.

Sadly the smell of dead mouse has not gone, just migrated. It’s leaving the kitchen and has now taken up residence in our bedroom. So last night I went to bed with a liberal spread of Badger lavender balm under my nose, like some forensic pathologist before an autopsy. If you haven’t discovered Badger products, they’re worth trying. Lovely aromatherapy-based balms from the US with no added nasties. The scents are powerful and true and I’m a convert to the lavender one. Oddly enough our very conservative, traditional chemist sells them. And long may they do so.

Right. Lunch. Stifado today – nothing like a hearty Greek stew to warm the cockles in the heart of winter. Wish I could import the azure sea and pale soft sand too, the warm waves slapping onto the shore as I sit in a beach-side taverna sipping retsina (yes, I know it’s weird but I love it – but only when in Greece, it doesn’t travel) and nibbling some kalamari. Ah, we can but dream. Whoa, there goes another rook……

PS – full marks and a house point to Milly and husband! Clever clogs.

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