Mud On the Road

we're about to go shopping in Salisbury...

The Jaded Day

Posted by Deborah Courtnell

     We were foolishly expecting sunshine and warmer weather this weekend but the rain hasn't let up all day.

     I don't mind. It's a jaded kind of a Saturday; the kind of Saturday after the Friday evening before, a good Friday evening spent in the Three Cups Inn where it never rains.

     I went for a run with the Myrtle-dog this morning. We were out for about 40 minutes in a drizzle so fine it was less like being rained upon and more like passing though a vapour.

     Myrtle seemed to enjoy it. She maintained a pleasingly consistent and very elegant fast trot, like those ponies you see pulling a trap with a single skinny boy at the reins, going at quite a lick without ever breaking into a canter.

     I baked her special treats for her this morning and she  saw me stuff a bag of them into my pocket before we left. Every ten minutes or so she butted her blunt little muzzle against my thigh demanding a snack.

     When I'm out with her like that, enjoying how spirited and agile she is, how quizzy and interested in everything and everyone she is, how lightening fast are her reactions, I cannot grasp the reality of her situation.

     I cannot get my head around the bald truth that she is not a well dog at all but is operating on impaired kidneys and recovering from a mercifully brief recurrence of the Pancreatitis which afflicted her two months ago and flared mysteriously again last Monday, prompting yet another dash to the vets.

     Midday: Shedley and I go down to the Marsh with the other two dogs. The drizzle, or 'mizzle' as Shedley likes to call it, has turned to steady rain.

     The marsh is deserted. Uncanny. It’s more like a wet weekend in January not mid-April with the school Summer term about to get underway.

     I look hard but there’s barely a single bud to be seen on a single tree; trees and hedgerows alike are as skeleton-bare as mid-Winter, bar the odd sprig of white/pink blossom, incongruous as a bride in a meringue dress at a funeral.

     Long overdue Spring must be due any-day-now. Any minute. Change is imminent. And I don’t just mean the weather.

     The house behind us is up for sale, the doctor and his wife having relocated to a nursing home. Sure as night follows day, with the sale of such a valuable, sizeable plot will come talk of development.

     This time next year who knows what I will see out of this window. Not just trees and birds and sky and garden I suspect.

     Meanwhile, the speculation about a mooted purpose-built car park and a residents' parking scheme for Stockbridge intensifies.

     Each day that passes without a concrete plan being formally proposed, sees Whisper and Rumour rushing to fill the void.

     Increasingly wild and peremptory suggestions pop up out of the blue and are bandied about. Neighbours the length and breadth of the High Street look with trepidation at  hitherto undistinguished parcels of land close to their homes over which the eyes of councillors and bureaucrats now hungrily rove.

     No-one is safe.

     The site of the former workhouse, slap-bang next door to us, on the village's frayed edge, is the latest favourite.

    All of this mounting seasonal and municipal tension contributed no doubt to the angry mood at a public meeting on Thursday. The meeting was  held to discuss a proposal to build 46 new houses at the Western end of the village.

     We didn't make it on the day but first-hand reports tell of Stockbridge Town Hall being packed to the gunnels and seething with antagonism towards the developers who struggled to be heard.

     Sitting here in my attic eyrie watching the rain come down against the big window, I have a feeling of mild foreboding. It's as though not only Spring but everything is momentarily stalled, locked. We're held in a dank, grey suspension ahead of what? Some vast calamity triggered by a man with possibly the scariest haircut on earth? The kind of event that, in days and months to come, might see people looking back, shaking their heads and saying, 'To think of it! Why, we never knew, could never have imagined, never saw it coming.'

     Well, ‘I for one won’t think about it today. I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.’ Rumour has it the sun might even shine.



Silhouetted against an uncertain sky
Dark April

Dark and Gothic, just how I like my trees
Into the woods

The wooded corner, Marsh Court Lane
A moody sky

Poppies, Cowdrove Hill
Time Please! 
The winning Australian exhibit at The 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show
No Nettles at Chelsea

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