The many and various ways I pass the time now has a new addition. Usually it involves drinking coffee whilst sitting at a computer keeping in touch with chums, or sipping wine sitting on our tiny terrace catching the sun, and wondering what else I can do to avoid any cleaning or tidying or putting away of stuff and things that aren't even MINE. And now I am going to type this blog. Provided that doesn't become a chore as well, in which case...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

You Know You Are Living In The Country When... meet some new neighbours, and an invitation to come and have a chow down on your front lawn is accepted with great good humour and graciousness.

We had a late lunch today, The Husband and I, while our house guests are out at the coast.  We were washing up in a desultory sort of a way, the old-fashioned way, in a sink, with one washing and the other drying, and gazing absent-mindedly out of the window when we spotted some faces we didn't recognise coming up the hill.  Attached to bodies we also didn't recognise, one of which was immediately arresting.

You need to know something about these houses.  The half-dozen dwellings on this corner where we live are arse about face.  The eat-in kitchens are at the front, and the sitting rooms are at the back.  This, I think, is bloody brilliant because it also means the kitchen windows overlook the street and the sitting room windows spy out over the gardens into the fields and woods and to the blue remembered hills beyond.  This view behind us is what sold me on the house exactly thirteen years ago.  It's why I bought it, it's why I chose to leave the Cotswolds to move here, it's why WE now have decided to retire here.

Anyhoo,I digress.  The new faces, you cry!  What about these new faces?  One was young and fresh and male, one was even younger and female and awfully sweet, and the third was long - very, very long - and inarguably equine.  First the Husband exclaimed.  Oooh!  he said.  Say, look at that! I did more than look.  I dropped the dishcloth into the suds, wiped my hands hurriedly and shot out of the front door without even excusing myself. 

These new neighbours I just HAD to meet.

It transpired on closer enquiry that the male human is seventeen, the female human is his nine-year-old sister, and the equine is a sturdy and friendly black fell pony which the family acquired this Monday just gone.  They were ambling her around the neighbourhood as part of an orientation and settling-in exercise.  Some of the time the boy had been riding, he said, but as they approached our corner he had already dismounted and was leading her gently along the road. 

They stopped and chatted.  We talked and talked, about ponies in general, the area, my attempts to take riding lessons, local equine peeps we both knew.  But most of all how the new pony was settling in and what they hope to achieve with her.  At at the end of our companionable gossip I said, do you think she'd like a snack on our lawn?  And the boy said yes. So he led her up the garden path (how often does THAT actually happen?!) and she got her head down for a bit and nibbled on our grass. 

I thought, how GOOD is that?  How very singular and out of the ordinary?  Then after they had trotted on. I reconsidered.  Or maybe not.  Maybe this is how it is going to be, now we have retired here, on the very edge of a small market town, with fields and woods and hills and livestock all about us.

Maybe quite a few of our new chums will be somewhat over-endowed in the leg department, by a factor of two.  So far it's been cats and dogs, close by, and sheep and brood mares at a distance. But now we know a pony by name. 

Her name is Flower.  I think she may have been an arbinger of Spring. 

What say you?


  1. Hari OM
    OOOHHHH - I admit I'm jealous!! Definitely Spring is sprunging - look, bright day, yourself in shirtsleeves and Flower with a gentle look in the eye. Being a country lass I do miss seeing livestock. Mind you, I suppose the trade off here in Mumbai is the odd passing lizard, eagles and monkeys! Sounds like the architect of your housing patch had the head screwed in the right direction too. That's a rare thing!

    What a joyful post. It was a delight to share this moment with you.

    1. You are spot on, Yam, it was a joy. In fact, it was a teensy-weensy bit magical. We both felt it, The Husband and I. A light-and-heat-emitting orb in the sky also has made an appearance this week. Not sure what it's called. It'll come back to me.

      The architects of these houses were very, very sensible. They also squeezed in built-in cupboards with doors that match the room doors in every available space not needed as living space, three downstairs and three upstairs. Until we lived here full time we didn't need a wardrobe, as we had hanging space in some of these cupboards instead.

      I have no complaints about this house at all. It's what we call Oop North a pine box house, one that one can imagine only leaving "feet first". I can't TELL you how peaceful and contented that makes me - US - feel!

  2. Well, that makes a refreshing change from using sheep as sentient lawnmowers. :-) You could even emulate your grandmother who, when they still lived in town, used to stand on the doorstep, shovel at the ready when the rag and bone man came with his horse and cart, hoping for some nice free fertiliser for her roses.

    As for arbingers of spring, I'm willing to welcome any and all, especially one with such an appropriate name....

    1. I already emulate Rosetta in too many ways to mention here!

      I'd happily have a tethered goat, but The Husband looks at me very long and levelly in that way he has when he might be about to say the word NO. As he uses it sparingly and says this word only about three times a year (I am a very, very lucky wife) I respect that look and usually shut up.

      Any sign of a melt in the lane? It is set to reach 9c here today....!

    2. Not up here it isn't. :-( We're at least 2C cooler than you and will be lucky if it reaches 6C today. DH checked the lane again earlier and said the drifts are like concrete and still feet deep. Sigh... So we've just done a Tesco home delivery order which will come to the top of the lane on Tuesday afternoon from where we shall ferry it down the field, probably by wheelbarrow. :-)

    3. Ah! I was wondering how you were planning to make good your dwindling stocks of milk.

    4. It;'s amazing how long you can make two litres last when you have to. :-)