65. Is the Grass Greener? Papier-mâché birds, caffeine overload and thick frost

Thursday 23 February 2023

Good news on the poo. We have found a farmer (licenced) to empty our septic tank. Annoying news is that I had been planning to go to Edinburgh today, maybe even meeting a couple of friends there, but now I can’t as Chris has Zoom meetings today. Instead, I’m planning on going to Selkirk and Hawick this morning for a short, early shopping trip before the 1pm suction.

My main disappointment about not going to Edinburgh today was that I had it in my head to go, I wanted to go and I need to go out at least once during the week. I probably feel a need to get out of London less than I have that feeling here, but with London I feel a bit claustrophobic sometimes and the need to leave, if only for a day, is stronger. Here, I don’t need to go out because I don’t want to be here, I think I want the stimulation that only a town can give you. A quiet village wouldn’t quite cut it. I won’t be out in town long before I start looking forward to coming back here though, especially as it’s sunny this morning and there’s a frost on the ground, making it look gorgeous outside.

I have been using Assam tea leaves that I bought in Delhi. It’s taken me all week to get the right amount of tea. This morning’s, which I’ve just finished, was the best yet for taste but WOW it has much more of a caffeine punch than I appear to be used to in the mornings. I am buzzing. I should be doing chores not soon to drive to Selkirk.

House-wise, yesterday I hung some papier-mâché birds I’d bought in Delhi. They are somewhat underwhelming, but anyway, a bit of colour. At one point, standing on the stairway landing thing (roughly where the bottom right orange flower is) with one foot reaching across the stairs to the top square of the newel post (in the photo, yes, quite a bit higher than the shelf-of-sorts), I did contemplate how worthy and heroic an injury it would be, falling down the stairs trying to put up a papier-mâché bird. Anyway, I emerged unscathed, though one bird needs moving as Chris hits his head on it.

We moved the former-make-do dining table out of the annex. I think I will sell it, though ‘collection only’ sales from the middle of nowhere are unlikely to spark a bidding war. The table is now plonked in the living room. The annex, or niche as we keep calling it, now looks much better.

I had a walk above the house. It went from coat-open warm but grey to wind and small hailstones to glorious, beautiful blue sky and warm. Two rangers drove past on the track so I asked them if I could get to the nearby loch if I carried on (another day). I had gone on that particular track to see if I could see a pathway around or through the valley and trees but had just turned back as I couldn’t make out a track from that distance. They pointed out roughly where it goes, which is up and over the hills (in the opposite direction to the photos below) and they estimated about an hour further than the twenty or so minutes I’d already walked. They then checked which way I was heading, in the context of safety, and they and I said goodbye. I felt comforted knowing that there are rangers around, particularly if I went on a longer walk on my own. It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve walked anywhere where the likelihood of seeing someone else is very, very slim. I suppose in summer a few cyclists or hikers might follow some of the logger paths, but for now it feels like ‘our’ forest and hills.

Right then, off to scrape the car of frost and set off for Selkirk and Hawick.