Sunday, August 24, 2014

A day off

The Ageing Hippie (in the US Peace Corps in Pretoria) still has no internet, but on occasional Saturdays she makes a long trip – most of it by dirt track – to her nearest town, and there in Wimpy’s she can have half an hour of wifi. I knew she’d be there yesterday so I emailed her, and found myself saying this…

“It is 8.24, a sunny autumnal morning and I am sitting in bed with my Yorkshire tea and Dave is playing his guitar downstairs – Bob Dylan’s Ramona. I just had breakfast in bed - two of Dave’s oatcakes with my home made lemon curd. Now Dave is playing San Francisco Bay Blues.”


Then I realised that it is not just “autumnal”. It is autumn, and I changed what I’d written.

In summer, we sit outside a lot at Hepworth Towers – to read, to talk, to daydream. Today it was too chilly: I sat in the sunshine in the bay window to knit patches for the worn-out elbows of my favourite cardigan. Hey ho.

The autumn has come so soon this year. Too soon. Most teatimes in summer we play table tennis on the back lawn. Yesterday I had to do it in a boiled wool jacket.

Dave always beats me at table tennis. He beats me at Scrabble, too, and crokinole. He doesn’t see why this might be a tad annoying. I have won just one game of table tennis in the whole of the summer.

“It’s just a bit of fun,” he said yesterday. “It’s just a game. It doesn’t matter who wins, does it?”

“Not if you’re the person who always wins,” I said. “And when I try my very hardest to play the best I can, it’s dispiriting never to win.” He isn’t a bit competitive, but I am.

“Oh,” he said, “I don’t try my best. I know you don’t like backhand spins, so I never do them.”

Bugger. I am even worse than I thought.

The other thing to tell you is that I finished reading Wuthering Heights and enjoyed it slightly more hated it less after Cathy’s death (the midpoint). I have also watched half of the film, which is excellent. Today I shall watch the rest. I am watching it in two sessions because it’s so dark and so violent, and I can’t bear violence. When I was little I used to hide behind the sofa. Now I just shut my eyes. The book has infected me, though. There is a narration inside a narration in the book, which I have unconsciously mimicked in this post.

Tomorrow I go to stay in Ted Hughes’ old house for my screenwriting course. Whoop-di-doo! There is no wifi there so I won’t be posting again until I get back next weekend. No radio, no Twitter, no news. Yes.

Sept08 230


  1. What a lovely picture of an autumn morning. We're heading into spring (with a glitch this morning as it's chilly & wet). I wish we could skip the hottest part of summer altogether & just move from late spring to early autumn but it's not going to happen. Hopefully it won't be as hot this summer as it was last. Have a lovely time on the course & I'm glad you enjoyed WH a little more after the halfway mark.

  2. Thank you, Lyn. The film was hard work. I look forward to hearing what other students thought of the latter. I wonder if we shall feel able to be honest, when the tutor who set the homework wrote the screenplay for the film.