The recycling box outside our front door had lost its lid, various people’s fences had been blown down (but not ours) and normally dry footpaths had been turned into muddy, puddly places; these are all things I discovered when I jogged into the village this morning to buy the newspaper. On my return I rescued our recycling box lid from the carpark of the pub next door. How had the wind managed to remove the stones that weigh the lid down, get its windy fingers under the lip of the lid and then hurl it over a five-foot high fence? This is one of life’s mysteries.
As the day was still very grey and gloomy after I had breakfasted, I set about indoor tasks: a pile of washing, tidying up this and that, chopping vegetables to make soup and other such domestic things while listening to Desert Island Discs on the radio. Eventually I sat down in front of the computer to answer some emails and write this blogpost. It was then that I looked out of the window and discovered that the sun had decided to come out.
Never one to miss an opportunity, I abandoned the blog and went out for a walk. Carpe sunshine! You never know at the moment when you might see it again. So off I went, up the hill past the old quarry, admiring the view as I went, along the top road to Dobcross village and then dropping down towards Uppermill. There was even warmth in the sunshine; it is the middle of February after all! But that didn’t stop some of the paths being very muddy.
The sunshine had brought everyone and their grandmothers out to walk along the towpath by the canal in Uppermill. Some of the grandmothers move very slowly. If I’d been on my bike I’d have rung my bell. Instead I had to ask politely, sometimes more than once, if I could please get past them without falling into the canal.
The stepping stones had disappeared under water and turned into a waterfall. This did not stop some teenagers from determinedly crossing them. I suspect their Converse will never be the same again.
So that’s Sunday afternoon and even now at just after 4 o’ clock the sun is still shining and the sky is mostly blue. How astounding after all the stormy weather!
About those storms and their names, it seems that the Free University of Berlin has been naming storms since 1954. So it’s their fault. The gender of the storms is not fixed, however. In even number years, like 2014, the storms and hurricanes and what have you are given women’s names but in odd number years they receive men’s names. It’s just that we have had so many storms so far this year that we, or at any rate I, have been noticing an apparent gender bias. I stand corrected.
Boris Johnson, he of the red-soled wellies, has been heard to comment that George Clooney has perhaps lost his marbles. This is because Mr Clooney, who has recently made a film about people protecting works of art from the Nazis in World War II, has said that the UK should return the Elgin marbles to Greece. I’ve heard arguments for both sides of this question. One reporter said that as Greece is a different country from the one the marbles were effectively stolen from, the Greeks have no claim to them. That’s a little weird! I prefer the one that says they should be seen in their original setting. You do, however, need some guarantee that they will be properly conserved.
Good old George has also said that the Mona Lisa should be returned to Italy. I was rather under the impression that some French king paid Leonardo da Vinci for the painting long ago. I may be wrong, of course, but if that is so then the painting belongs to France, doesn’t it? Or should we be sending all the paintings by Canaletto that you find in London and around the world back to Italy? Should all the works of Picasso, Miró, Salvador Dalí and others make their way back to Spain?
It all sounds a little over the top. I think it’s time I finally got around to reading that newspaper I bought this morning.