Battle on girls, battle on…

Here followeth a long and somewhat indulgent post on the weather – me being an Englishish sort of  person it is, you know, kind of mandatory.  I thought I should warn all housepornists looking for a fix.  Caveat emptor and all that.

So then, we have left behind the Uhstrayan summer, where each day is hammered flat  by the heat, and instead find ourselves slap bang in the middle of the English winter.  Where the cold sends tendrils up into the bones, where fingers are refugees up stretched sleeves and dewdrops are a democratic nasal vernacular. Where doors tap fretfully in their frames all night and outside, crows fall silently out of bare trees.

The other day I asked Mr P’s mother, as we toiled along the street and the wind hurled around the corner to slam into us and then through us, whether this really was, as she had earlier described it, a ‘mild’ winter.  She was thoughtful for a moment and then said ‘well, I suppose there is a bit of a nip in the air’.

Maybe I’ve gone soft.

But even so, and at the risk of little men popping out from behind bushes with straightjackets, I do prefer being cold to being hot.  I love the almost-death of winter and the spare but vibrant splashes of life – you know, the winter jasmine blazing away like tiny yellow stars, and the little clumps of viburnum huddled in ice-cream colours on their black branches. A little goes a long way.  Just enough hope to keep you trotting on.  Maybe it’s the Calvanist in me but I like good things in manageable doses.  I find endless exuberant abundance a little unsettling.  Like being at a feast when you’re full.

And if the little bits of colour don’t do it for you, then maybe the small, everyday battles might.  Because there are victories to be won here. If you can manage to haul yourself out from under your pile of crocheted blankets  and dress and launch yourself out against the elements, if you can withstand your nose being sliced off, your ears scoured out with ice, your toes nibbled at by mice, if you can do all that and return with your daily needs then there should be no stopping you.  Why not conquer a mountain or two?  A small and distant principality?  There really isn’t a lot of difference once you get going.  Me, I must confess to a fondness for the winter here. At least, having survived it, you know you exist.  In the Australian summer it always seems slightly conjectural.  But that’s all getting a bit ponderous.   Madam, cease and desist! Put the existentials down and step away.

So anyway, this is where the mildness or otherwise of the winter was debated, at the very top of this hill (and, actually, around a small corner, but cut me a bit of slack). Pretty innit?

We are presently staying in a village that was the model for Marlot in Tess of the Durbs.

In fact I once sent a letter to Mr  Pimpernel, addressed it to Marlot and it arrived!  British posties, we salute you. Think yellow stone, lichen, high hedgerows.  Think, Mr P said in the yowling wastes of early morning jetlag, think a pimple rising from a marsh.  All around are villages with names that are ancient and completely beguiling.   Ryme Intrensica.  Wyke Champflower. Piddle Trenthide.  And my all-time favourite – Queen Camel.  Imagine!

Tomorrow,  Londinium, ‘ome of me ‘eart.


13 Responses to “Battle on girls, battle on…”

  1. After 10 years in London it was the cold that drove me home. But there were joys in being so rugged up. Trudging through the grey, eventually home at the little bedsit, taking off layer, after layer and turning up the heating. To make a cup of tea and toast a crumpet or two after that daily ordeal was very satisfying indeed. The other side of the coin is the English summer which is one of the World’s true joys. Have fun.

    • Ah, so you were here for ten years? I don’t think the cold would drive me out (if I were here). THe nightmare of overheated shops in Winter would come close though – you rug up in your necessary everythings – gloves, scarves, thermies, etceteras – and one foot in any shop you’re perspiring like a perspiring thing and flinging off all the layers. Just had such an experience in Harvey Nicks and emerged flustered and red faced. But that might have been because of the damage I’d just done to the credit card.

  2. I was in that little town, “Marlot”, about 30 years ago and photographed the same street. We were wearing Laura Ashley dresses back then, and looked as quaint as the thatch. Write on, you make my day.

  3. Delightful…and I confess to the same love of wintery days.. It must have something to do with age.

    English villages are my weak points, I adore them.


    • M&I love going on blog holiday with you, so thank you for brightening our day.

      Also lots of LFS news to report since you left. The final house in your terrace has its DA on exhibition and it’s looking very fine – opening up verandahs and even separating their verandah from next door, just as it was when Holtermann panorama was photographed in 1875.

      Across the street, between numbers 22 and 24 there seems to be a rubbish removal competition. And today was the last day in business for our local shop – it’s a good family we are losing from the neighbourhood after almost sixty years. New Year’s Day we had drinks with R&J next door to shop – looking forward to getting to know them and all the other new residents moving here in 2012.

      • Thank you for the update – how I wish our near neighbours would propose the same as at the other end and then we’d all have lovely decorous spaces between our verandahs. How good would that look? We’re sad about the shop – went in there just after Christmas and there was a definite winding down feeling. And where will Mr P get his falafel rolls now? When languishing awake in the early hours with jet lag I have taken to designing the kitchen at the house – it never gets me to sleep but we do get nearer to a functioning kitchen.

    • I think then that I have always been old!

  4. I love travelling with you and look forward to your witty wayward words. I hope you have your “long johns” on.

    We have just returned from the pool on the north shore of the harbour. It is friday evening the pool is nearly empty of bodies. The windows stretch across the pool giving me a magnificent panoramic view of the harbour. Lying on my back I could see yet another view of the bridge and the glittering top of one of Luna Park’s wonderful towers. I am still in love with Sydney Harbour and all it offers me visually.
    Cheers M

  5. Have a lovely time in London, I can’t wait for your next blog…absolutely love it.

  6. I left you a nice little shout-out at the end of my new post. I hope all my bloggy friends come by to visit.

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