I love not being at work. Annual leave, fantastic invention. God bless the Jarrow boys and all the red Clyde workers, Victorians too numerous to mention, Virginia Wolf and Emmeline Pankhurst. Thank you all for laying the paths of the lovely life I live.
I've been visiting all my old haunts. Making sure they are still there. Midmar standing stones, Drum Wood spiral tree (a wild cherry). The melting yew at Crathes. All present and correct. Upper Dee as full but not as silent as Newton Dee. Colder though. I startled two ducks as I go to sit on the wee isthmus. The sun shining right on me, enabling me to stay a bit longer riverside than the cold air funnelling down it might have allowed.
I go into the craft shop for a wee look, and a man comes in looking for a present for his wife.
"It has to be wood, and not an ornament.
I had spied a wooden acorn box, turned wood in the shape of an acorn, just big enough to hold a nice piece of jewellery, and tapestry needles later. They had silver heart earrings. I was thinking that those inside the acorn with a corny card about love growing like a mighty oak would be nice, and was swithering over making the suggestion with busy-body thoughts as I heard the door closing again. He had left after the shop assistant suggested that the wooden banana he was considering might not be the best idea.
Are men just born clueless about gifts? Don't they know it's about how they see us?
A wooden banana. I mean I ask you. Even if the sparkle has gone out, not the way to rekindle it.
She was a rubbish sales person though. I'd have got the sale and he'd have got laid. No silent huff for him. No sarcastic bowl of banana porridge for breakfast.
Or wooden one stuck where the sun don't shine.
I bought the acorn. Coz I like wood too.
I asked her if she knew what kind of wood it was.
She takes so long I have been able to upside down read the description in the book.
'Acorn box.' There is no wood written beside it, but the other boxes say 'Sycamore'.
She says, "Box.
"No, I think that's what it is. I was asking what wood is it made out of?
"Box is a type of wood", she nods, like she's speaking to a retard.
Just as well it was so pretty.
I walked up to the melting yew, and the tenacious beach on the cliff face in Caroline's garden. All inspired.
I saw a heron, and a red squirrel. People who drive to the car park don't get to see the red squirrels.
Two ducks, a heron and a squirrel.
Marriage, maintain inner balance, self-reliance, intuition, patience, gathering, preparedness for the future, trust.
Good day I'd say.
Today I had an urge to go to the sea. Down the beach in the freezing golden light to a calm but chilly North Sea, as tomorrow, I'll be sitting by the Med. GW WP.
I have some chores to do first. Euros, a new toothbrush, return the CDs to the library. I love a day off, when all I've got to worry me is getting a new toothbrush and some dosh for my hols.
Post office. Fifty Euros is thirty-five quid. Which means a fiver is 3.50 and a tenner is 7. Am sorted.
I get the toothbrush and have a look in Ottakers for the perfect beach book. But I don't want to go to the beach. Ungrateful, but I long for low sun snow and chill and woolly sox and a good Winter read. Not scent of Bergasol and sand between my toes. It's all wrong.
The only book that interests me is The Winter Book. Short stories by a Finnish author. I'm going to Lapland for New Year. It seems suitable. I buy it, and walk to the library. Wolf librarian isn't in the media centre. Am disappointed, so I don't take anything else out and go and see if Annie Bell has been returned. Not on the shelf, not due back to 25th now. And here he is checking out books as I go to make a reservation. The Vegetable Book. For the detox I'm intending for when I come home. He wanders over to me at the counter but a middle aged woman is serving me. I say serving me, between conversations she manages to charge me 50p for the privilege of standing with her back to me most of the time. I hate that, it's so rude. He walks past as I'm writing out my own card.
I'm off on an internal rant 'Bloody librarians. What the hell is she getting paid for? Four of them hanging about chatting and me writing out my own reservation card. Perhaps I could come in on the 24th and take it to the post office for them as well. Save them the trip since they are so busy', I nearly write my old address in Glasgow. My student address. I'm shocked back into reality as I wonder where the hell that came from, when I smell him, catch his plaid shirt out of the corner of my eye, he's facing me, close enough to grab and plant a big kiss on. Now that would give them something to chat about.
He has very white skin and dark hairy arms. Silent. That masculine scent. That pulse.
And is too young.
Still, it never stopped Joan Collins.
I walk home but don't go into the flat, I get into the car and go down the beach. I'm walking the prom with my vanilla ice cream oyster when two journalists stop me and ask me if I'm scared of the vicious seagulls. They both look about twelve. The girl has an ace camera, the boy is really annoying. They've heard about the Aberdonian seagulls attacking people, but have been unable to get the seagulls to fly in a malicious manner, even given the bread they're trying to feed them. He's leading and leading,
"Were you scared they'd steal your ice cream while you were walking along there?
"Why not, haven't you heard that they attack people?"
"Well, yes, but you were feeding them.
He's non plussed by that and I feel sorry for him. So I tell him how the huge horrible birds have gone now or have diminished in size because we don't leave bin bags out any more. The council put wheelie bins and big skip bins in their place. So there are no more seagulls in the city. They used to wake us up a first light with their calls, ripping the bags open. What a mess it was. Now there's not the food supply to support the numbers there used to be. At first there were reports of children having cones taken out of their hands, but I'd not heard of that recently. I tell him my own personal theory that the overnight reduction in food supply plus a few bad winters have culled them. The big birds can't survive and smaller ones have come instead. I suggest the RSPB might be able to confirm the new smaller breed.
"Were you afraid of them when they were in the city?
"No, I was in my flat. I heard them outside.
"Were you afraid though?"
I eventually tell him to stop making up stories. They take my photo. Fame at last.
I hope I didn't have ice cream all over my face.
Packing done, then half of it taken back out again, I watch Gardener's World, in the hope that one day I'll get off my behind and get back into the garden. Yesterday in the walled garden in Crathes, the gardeners were digging the soil, the scent of it was glorious.
Back to Monty, it's been a bumper year for fungi, I saw so many huge circles of them in Crathes yesterday, you couldn't walk between the trees. They are incredibly useful apparently. Breaking down the dead grass and twigs on our back garden and Crathes forest, making the next generation of humus to feed the trees and plants to come.
Everything has it's place.
Not so sure about journalists though.