Saturday, 10 January 2009

Frosty Fields

My car said it was -3 degrees as I drove to the Post Office today, hoping that it was open after the armed robbery yesterday. Sure enough, the post mistress was serving concerned and inquiring customers, although no other ladies were working there today, neither was the Post Office cubicle open for business. I asked if she was okay and could I help in any way... but she was resolute, and grateful for supporting comments and offers.

I then went to the Gym for a good workout followed by a swim... (the water, showers and changing rooms are piping hot), before going out and about to take lots of photos of frosty fields. The reason? I would eventually like to know how to paint frost with watercolours, and to that end I've been trawling the web again for courses. Painting white frost on white paper is a talent beyond me! But I'd like to know how!

Tonight there is a full moon and there will be rain by tomorrow, hence catching the frosty pics before it's too late. I can do rain... in watercolours that is! I found out by accident when holding up the pad of a wet freshly painted sky. Most of my success at anything, is due to accident.

Roll on some happy accidents for 2009!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Village Life

Nearly four years' ago, my husband wanted us to buy a house in a quiet and 'safe' area away from crime and vandalism... he'd spent over thirty years dealing with criminals of one sort or another, and being now disabled after a stroke felt all the more vulnerable.

I used to bring him out of the Nuffield hospital at Headington every weekend until he was eventually discharged in May 2005, by which time we had viewed and bought a house in a little hamlet, attached to a small ancient village that has just one post-office cum shop. He constantly insisted that all doors were locked, even though we lived in a quiet lane. He knew that if we had intruders, he was no longer physically able to defend our home, himself, or me. It was such a shift of thought for a man who had always been tall, able and strong.

When my lovely man died, I felt even more vulnerable, and consciously and continually locked all doors, including the garage door, shed door and car doors. When waiting at traffic junctions I would press the internal locking system of my car.

Today, I walked to the village Post Office to fetch my paper only to find the door shut and a few villagers mingling outside. I was told that an armed robbery had just taken place and that the van had sped off and the police were on their way. My immediate thoughts were with the few ladies and the Post Mistress, who have become my friends and who must be in an extreme state of shock. I left to walk home as the police arrived.

I also heard on the National news tonight of a Post Master's son being shot dead at a Post Office in Worcestershire; also, on local Oxford news it stated that a gang that had committed armed robberies in an area of east Oxford had now been caught.

It seems that even in quiet backwaters, or because of being quiet and secluded, our little shops and post offices are prime targets.

I can hear my husband saying, "Lock the doors and make sure the car is locked away in the garage, and don't bother getting a paper."

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Cold and Quiet

When I peeped around the Roman blind in my bedroom at seven thirty this morning to look outside, I first noticed the swathe of ice across every surface, but what grabbed me most was the quietness; no cars, no birdsong, no wind gusting across the open field and more noticeably, no banging doors from my immediate neighbours. They must be having a Sunday lie-in, thought I. The quiet was short-lived, as the neighbour's back door banged - as if on cue.

I have become used to their door-banging, but my Christmas visitors were not. What to do in these situations? I've already mentioned to my friendly neighbour, in passing, and lightly, with a smile, that their door banging did sometimes wake my visitors up, and was assured that they would try not to - bang, that is! But, somewhere along the path of daily life their assurances were forgotten. While I do not wish to fall out with my neighbours, especially over a trivial matter, I do wish they'd be a little more considerate when I have people staying. I know there's nothing wrong with their back door, as I've tested it out myself while cat-minding. I suppose some people just like to make sure the door bangs shut.

Elsewhere, outside the air is calm and still. It's on days like this I wish I could really paint well.