Goodbye To All That

17th January 2021 |

I am sorry for the long interruption of my interruptions. This has been a wild time for me and the country. In fact, it’s been an annus horribilis for everyone (and you can blame the Queen for introducing that fancy phrase). First I allowed myself to be swindled out of a huge amount of money, and then the house burned down on New Year’s Eve. Well, it sounds terrible, but the truth is I’m physically untouched by it all. I had the money to lose, and I am perfectly well housed because it wasn’t my house that burned.

Emotionally, of course, it was a firestorm. It was months before I stopped thinking about all the good things I could have done with the money, and now, of course, I am sharing my partner’s sorrow for all the things she has lost in her house. But both of us have to confess that we are extraordinarily lucky. We have my own nice house to live in (albeit without the view) and plenty of money to be getting on with. The cat suffers more than we do. There’s got to be a parable here somewhere.

As for the country – or countries – we’re all in slow motion, if not dead in our tracks; the Capitol didn’t quite burn down, Parliament seems more and more unhinged and Brexit is a pox on us all. So I haven’t felt much like writing for a while, but I’ll get to it soon. It’s unavoidable, like the weather.

I man came to my door this morning to warn me about the weather. He said he’d been looking down on my roof from the clock tower and my tiles were all over the place. They are Roman tiles, as prescribed by the ministry that controls the appearance of buildings in listed villages, and being loose they can sometimes wander, letting in the rain. There will be turbulence, he threatened, and he offered to look at them for me. I said I’d already asked Tadeusz, my Polish builder friend, to come and look at them. He said: “Whether it’s him or it’s me, it’s all the same. They need looking at.”
“Are you sure,” I said.
“But of course,” he insisted.
“Well you’re welcome to look at them, if you want,” I said, and since he seemed so eager we took a ladder up to the skylight and he climbed on to the roof.

While he was there I phoned Tadeusz and asked him if he really wanted the job, and he said he’d come on Saturday. When the fellow climbed down he said there wasn’t much to do and he’d be happy to fix it, so I repeated that I’d already promised the job to Tadeusz and he was coming to do it in a day or two.

Well, he was not well pleased, this chap. I should have asked his name. He probably belongs to one of the big village families. I may expect to find dog-shit on my doorstep for months to come. Politics is a dirty business.