A time to remember

It’s been a sensational two weeks, although I’ll confess I got back from Scotland and down to a project in Cornwall and promptly got the cold that’s been doing the rounds in London for the last month or so. Nothing for it but to head for bed, which in a sense, when it happens, is a highly welcome thing to do, listening to endless repeats on Radio 4 and thinking about not very much at all.

I recovered, as you do, and last weekend we were in London for a friend’s party. Saturday was dreamy and bright. We went to Hampstead to walk the dogs.  No frost on the gardens there:

Charlie and I briefly day dreamed of living in an Art Deco apartment building three minutes walk from the heath.

The dogs love it there so much.  It was the most brilliant autumn day.

Sybil is not often far from a muddy puddle if she can help it.

Back home, Charlie’s bearded iris, brought up from Dorset, had decided, unseasonably, to flower. The sweet smell of June briefly filled the bedroom.

Very early the following morning, on Remembrance Sunday, Charlie and I met our friend Maggie and made our way for a 6am service at Westminster Abbey.

It was pouring – literally pouring – with rain. As we approached in a taxi, all roads to the Abbey were closed. We made our way down Whitehall, drenched despite our umbrellas. The cenotaph shone out in the darkness.

The tiny service was held around the tomb of the unknown soldier, a memorial that I confess I’d never really studied before. 

There were a handful of people and this young guy played the lament on the bagpipes.  Powerful, simple, and moving. 

The rain passed and a brilliant sparkling day blew through.  We took the dogs to Regent’s Park this time.

Then we went to lunch, and met Bridie in the Duke of Cambridge.  Here’s Lloyd Square on the way: 

And on the way back. Short days, long afternoons of happy beer and roast in the pub.

And then another hectic week.  Charlie and I are getting ready to head south – New Zealand beckons in a little over a week.  Work is busy for me; Charlie is furiously getting ready for winter in the garden. The dahlias are all lifted.  Tulips in this week. 

On Saturday, I got down to Dorset around lunchtime – the office having taken one of our departing colleagues out for a big night on Friday – before he heads to a new life in Belfast.  I got down a little worse for wear but happy to be in the Dorset sunshine after two weeks away.

I took the dogs for the walk and yet again I am startled by the presence of John or Paul Nash in the hills around and about us. 

A misty haze hung in the air.

We went for a late lunch at the Hive Beach Cafe, and then back to the Parsonage in time for the sun lowering behind the hill on the other side of the valley. I had a deep long sleep that afternoon.

We saw our friends up the valley, and today has drifted by with coffee with Caddy; lunch at the Parsonage with our friends Molly and Wilfred. Mum and Dad called in for tea. The evenings are dark earlier and earlier now; low slanting sunshine pouring into the wide bay windows and then vanishing.

Charlie and I are sitting by the fire; the dogs are asleep, Henry (the cat) is staring at the flames. Everything is completely silent apart from the quietest flicker of the flames. Nothing stirs. The church bell has just sounded seven o’ clock, and I think back to just a few months ago, when we’d still be lying in the sun in the garden, or thinking of going down to the beach right now.  I love the passage of the seasons and the slow rhythms of time almost more than anything else.  It’s important, too, to remember that however crazy the world looks right now, the important things do just carry on.

Autumn evenings; remembrance time.

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