Rose is a rose is a rose
Of course the word ‘historic’ is very much overused, but some weeks do seem to be more significant than others – Monday saw the birth of our future King, for example.
And then there are other things which make one think there’s been a fault in the space-time continuum in the last few weeks:
- a British man won the Men’s SIngles Final at Wimbledon
- a British man won the Tour de France – that is, the second British man for the second year in a row
- England are beating the Australians in a Test series to retain the Ashes
- we have had four consecutive weeks of proper hot sunny weather, as in the season generally known as summer
The list goes on and it’s all very un-British, actually to be successful at things and to enjoy an actual differentiation between one season and the next. Even my own small efforts are paying off – this week I have run a full 5k, three times, really running the whole way.
There’s definitely something wrong, and clearly we’ve fallen through some cosmic hole into a parallel universe.
They are clearing the house across the road today, where Miss H died a few months ago. It’s uncomfortable to see the lifetime’s belongings of a solitary spinster piling up on the grass verge and being loaded into an anonymous small van. There are numerous black plastic bags, then items of furniture which I don’t want to look at long enough to work out quite what they are. Squares and oblongs and ovals in dusty blue upholstery or made of wood or metal, propped up against the garden wall and in the wrong place.
Of course it makes me look round at the contents of our house; the stuff, the endless stuff that we hang on to now because we (might) need it. Until the day we won’t be needing it all and there it’ll be, bagged up and ready to be moved on in the van. Just a bother for those who have to sort it out and dispose of it.
For now, it’s only a moment’s memento mori on a warm bright day in midsummer, the roses – our and hers – nodding their heavy full-blown heads in the sun, and lushness all around. The neighbourhood winding down as the school year comes to an end in drowsy anticipation of a few weeks’ rest.
Oh how we laughed, little Alfie and I, as the waves came over my sandals. It’s been so long since I was at the seaside that I’d forgotten you have to take your shoes off before you reach the shifting water. He, a seasoned two and a half years old was better prepared with his sun-suit, hat and plastic shoes. So I stepped back to slip off the damp but unharmed footwear and then such an absorbing time we had choosing and washing the ‘seasholls’ – oysters, razor shells, cockles. Smooth, sharp, rough, ridged, lined, pitted. It’s a serious business, examining, testing, discussing the merits and demerits of each one – mostly in words which were unfamiliar to me but which always made sense to him. The damp sand the colour of salt caramel, the little foamy waves lapping around our toes. Once the collection was complete, in his opinion, we carried the treasures carefully back up the beach to mum, swapping the firm caramel for bleached smooth running sugar-sand.
A perfect English summer seaside day, sun, with a breeze to keep us cool, blue sky, blue sea, a quiet beach, but enough activity on the water to inspire speculation and conversation. The house behind the dunes to retreat to for a picnic and a glass of cool wine. The extended family meaning there were always enough small children around to give you the excuse to focus for a while on finding just the right seashell.