Dear friends and readers,
A wonderful song to cheer us up — listen to the lyrics — Yvette, the Admiral and I listened to and danced to this band our last New Year’s Eve together (December 31st 2013):
7:30 am: We’ve had anything from 6 to 10 inches of snow. Everything shut down in the DC area and a winter snow-laden scene out my window. 24 degrees fahrenheit. Never mind the snows of yesteryear; will the snows of this year never go away? I am glad I saw a local girlfriend yesterday though towards the end the day turned as dank and raw as a Leeds spring afternoon since today I cannot make the local coffeehouse where I had another friend I could have seen. I carry on reading Austen and watching Austen movies, reading The Claverings, P.D. James’s Death Comes to Pemberley and Gorra’s Portrait of the Novel (Portrait of a Lady) to say nothing of my studies of screenplays (Callie Khouri’s Thelma and Louise compared to Julian Fellowes’s Downton Abbey, first episode first season).
All Nature ministers to Hope. The snow
Of sluggard Winter, bedded on the hill,
And the small tinkle of the frozen rill —
The swol’n flood’s sullen roar, the storms that go
With crash, and howl, and horrid voice of woe,
Making swift passage for their lawless will —
All prophecy of good. The hungry trill
Of the lone birdie, cowering close below
The dripping eaves — it hath a kindly feeling,
And cheers the life that lives for milder hours.
Why, then, since Nature still is busy healing,
And Time, the waster, his own work concealing,
Decks every grave with verdure and with flowers,
Why should Despair oppress immortal powers …
— Hartley Coleridge (STC’s son) — put on Trollope19thCStudies yesterday, Sunday
9:15 am: Downright wailing bawling Ian pussycat. Izzy and I broke down and decided to vacuum. What else is a snow day good for? This poor cat became so frightened and since he is now out of a shell of apparent indifference he used to practice, he began openly to cry — it’s just like a baby’s sound only lower in pitch so more plangent to human ears. Izzy tried to pick him up, but he does not like that (Put me down said the fish … I do not want to fall ….) and his claws came out automatically, so she had to drop him as he scuttled hysterically away. He is now calmer and I was able to pick him up and cuddle him but he is keeping strictly near the walls on the watch for the monster vacuum. You see when we vacuum we vacuum under the beds so nowhere is safe …
The ironic joke is that when he becomes frightened he sheds his beautiful tawny ginger and white hair even more: as we vacuum he sheds away. He has calmed down now and is contemplating trying to put his paws on Yvette’s door and mew so as to get back into her room and in her shoe closet again.
Meanwhile Clarycat stays close to me.
The weather had changed in the UK too: in Hartfield, Herriford and Hampshire Hurricanes happen; what could be described as mild version of raw cold, rain, warm sun all year round is now extremes of flood, cold, hot in summer (people have air-conditioning) as Zadie Smith turns Elegiac:
Pure nostalgia of course: I remember Leeds in winter: no sun for a couple of months was the usual regime. But now that’s accompanied elsewhere in the UK by fierce weather events.