Friday, December 12, 2008

Birds, poems and more water disasters

Just back late yesterday from an utterly fabulous holiday during which we saw loads of birds, and at least one or two new ones every day, which included: whooper swans, a hen harrier pair; thousands of pink-footed geese on their way home to roost; snow buntings (which were our target bird of the week, and utterly charming); fulmars; goldeneye; eider ducks; bramblings; willow tits; a tawny owl; and - most unexpected and amazing of all - a waxwing. Result!

I've also stocked up on my ongoing supply of meditation poems as below:

Meditation 19

The secret of content
flies from me
like a gull over the water.

The lack of it
is a sea salt ache
to my bones.

Meditation 20

When you search
for what you long for

you will not find it.
It is a rock

you stand on,
the wind at your back,

sometimes calm, sometimes strong
but always invisible.

Trust it.

Meditation 21

A straight path
and an open sky

to the horizon
is what I’m promised

but the road I walk
is lined with trees

and the secret, seductive whispers
of the wood.

Meditation 22

The path lies
through the waters.

Lightning flashes low
over a wild sea

and even the earth

My footsteps are too slight
to be heard.

Meditation 23

the knowledge of taking up
once more

the things I thought
I’d left behind

settles too deeply
on my skin
for prayer to make an impact.

This last one turned out to be more prophetic than originally anticipated, dammit. We arrived back at 8pm last night after a wonderful day's birding in Cambridgeshire (where we saw that waxwing) to a flat with no water of any temperature, no heat and no electricity. The immersion tank had broken after we left and dripped on the noble and long-suffering neighbour downstairs for a few days before it got significantly worse on Wednesday and he had no option but to call the fire brigade to break in and turn our water and electricity off. Which they duly did, understandably enough. Very sweetly, the neighbour then fed us as we had no way of doing so ourselves, thus earning his top-spot entry in the Good Neighbour of the Year Competition for at least the next ten years. Even more amazingly, he didn't add laxative to our soothing supper of spaghetti bolognese and a good red wine (as he thought we would need it), which if I'd been him I would have been sorely tempted to do. Anyway, late last night we managed to turn the lights back on, though we do need an electrician to come out and sort it out once the plumbing is done. If only to check out the water damage to the wires of the poor neighbour.

This morning therefore we had an emergency plumber at 8am (after a long and very cold night, and a very brief kettle wash in the sink!) who drained and cordoned off the immersion tank before turning our cold water back on (though not the hot for the duration, I feel) and sorted the boiler to give us a modicum of heat. Then a further plumber arrived at 11am and he's given us one quote for a new boiler etc and we expect another one this evening for the second quote. In the midst of all that, the portable heaters are going like crazy, we're both wearing jumpers, gloves and fleeces and hoping for a warmer spring. Soon. Also, I've nipped out for my dentist appointment, collected my new glasses from the optician and had a haircut. Lordy but I can pack a lot into a day. And I look pretty damn good for someone on the edge of hyperthermia too. Aha!

Oh and I've also managed to write out my Christmas cards while the emergency plumber was battling with his hose (as it were), so I think I'll start wrapping the presents later this afternoon. Ooh, and there are two lovely deer in the garden right now, so that's something nice in our day. Shame they aren't the huskies with the brandy though. Ah well.

And I've finished David Caldo's wonderful new novel, Florentine Mask. Great stuff - a gripping historical novel that's full of great characters and intelligent twists and turns. I couldn't put it down. Thoroughly recommended - though don't be put off by the totally bizarre cover. It's not a child's fantasy adventure at all - but a very good adult novel!

Today's nice things:

1. Birds
2. Having cold water, light and some heating now - phew!
3. Shiny teeth
4. Coiffed hair
5. Deer
6. Noble neighbours
7. Books.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - watch out for the icicles ...


Peter said...

are we still on for tomorrow - will understand if you need to sort out house problems

Lord B-I-L

Anne Brooke said...

Noooo!! Please say you'll meet up - it will be warmer outside!

See you tomorrow!


Peter said...

We'll be there :)

Anne Brooke said...

Hurrah! I've even managed to wrap the pressies!



Jilly said...

I hope you sort out your boiler and plumbing problems - I always hate it when things go wrong like that. Keep wrapped up. HugsXXX

Anne Brooke said...

Thanks, Jilly! The nice plumber came round this evening and has made our heating slightly better. He thinks he might - with a bit of luck - be able to provide a short-term solution so we might have hot water by the end of next week, to see us over Christmas. But anything long-term is likely to have to wait till January at least.

The electrician has turned up too and turned some of the neighbour's light circuits off - we're hoping to hire him a drying company by Monday!