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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A day to go north

The terrier's pointing to the wind from the south bringing rain and deep grey sky - the first real signs of winter after a summer reaching into November. This morning as we packed our cases and ticked our check-list, it felt a little easier to leave.

The full plane bounced upwards through grey-white to the familiar blue again; no land to be seen beneath undulating plains of cloud all the way to England; then a train to Victoria and coach to Birmingham, and taxi home to Handsworth; on our kitchen table a lemon I picked this morning in our garden on Democracy Street.

Fireworks were exploding somewhere behind the roofs, in part for November 5 but, in Handsworth, mainly for Diwali - from the third to the seventh of the month. We'd enjoyed 'November 5' in Greece, combining it with Halloween, last Saturday evening, down at our friend Sally's stables a kilometre below the village...

...a fire of eucalyptus, foliage and leaves, the distinctive scent mixing with the enticing smell of meat grilling over carefully tended charcoal, to be enjoyed with cowboy beans, corkscrew pasta, and village wine; above us stars and a glow to the east as a young moon coasted the Trompetta Ridge. After the fire had died down Lin and I walked back to the village, its twinkling lights above us on the dark road, the air growing warmer as we climbed one of the narrow paths up to Democracy Street. Before sleeping we added a few touches to our wardrobe project, having stripped all the paint and filled cracks and holes.
But for detail - nearly done!

We cannot complete the work without drawer and door handles and some more trim and a new pane in one of the 'windows', but we're pleased with what we've made over the last two months. We find ourselves just sitting on the bed enjoying looking at our handiwork - recalling problems and solutions, recalling what we'd learned since building a dresser downstairs during April three years ago.....
The construction of a dresser with doors and shelves inside the ever uneven tilted alcove of our dining room presents Linda with especial problems. Being inclined to precision, more mathematical than I, she prefers the objectivity of the set square and the spirit level to the subjectivity involved in creating an illusion of symmetry and straightness through a willing committment to the uneven. What squabbles this engenders! How invaluable the breaks for gardening, cups of tea, coffee and sweet cakes - brought round by an amused, and slightly bemused, Leftheris observing "Problema?" [Back to the future 22 April '10 dining room  cupboard completed]
Before we left, the evening before, we walked in the village. Lin saw a beautiful snail working its way gracefully over a low wall, feeling the air with its tentacles.  These are its 'eyes' but they made not the tiniest flinch from the camera's flash.

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Simon Baddeley