By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
“There should be laughter after pain, there should be sunlight after rain, these things have always been the same, so why worry now?” (Mark Knoppfler)
The last day of winter happened last Friday.
The Photographer went for a walk to the furthest extreme of the garden. He found that the wild plum tree had been pulled and pushed out of the ground by the wind and a large rambling rose. It was a very sad occasion. The rose had been given to them when The Daughter had been away a great deal and they had loved to sit and admire it in early summer. The Photographer hated using chain saws himself, so he rang up for a tree surgeon and began the process of cutting the brash away. It was the last sad act of the terrible wind that had driven them mad on the moor all these months.
On Saturday the temperature spurred up by an extra six degrees and the sun came out. It shone so brightly that it hurt their eyes and pointed out the film of dirt on the kitchen window. On Sunday the Assistant walked 12 kilometres in the sun, lapping up the heart of the heat. The Photographer took his camera on the first walk of the Spring. For the first time in the year he was able to take pictures of the hills shrouded in that most beautiful of blue mists, which makes your heart ache.
The change of weather had an amazing affect on the little town. During the winter the town had suffered the premature loss of some dearly loved inhabitants. This had brought a mood of depression amongst the desperate rain and flooding. The remaining inhabitants huddled in the cafes dressed in dull, but warm clothing, covered in worn scarves and hats, weighed down by wet shopping. At home coats were permanently hung to drip over baths and on shower rails. It was the worst of black winters. The shades were drawn and the town was suffering. It wanted light. It wanted colour. It was worse than having great snow drifts or heavy ice. It was quite simply bleak.
How did things change? There seemed to be a sudden miraculous shift. A couple of weeks ago, Luna, who is a favourite at the organic cafe, at last,had the baby she had been carrying in this long grime winter. The news spread faster than any bird’s flight . Luna had had her baby. The rain stopped and it became a little drier. The baby made a very early appearance amongst the newspapers and coffee cups. The customers were ecstatic. They actually smiled and laughed. Then, somebody else had a baby. That was it. Luna said her baby had become old news! Another baby. All that hope for spring in two little bundles. After that, the little town lost the score of how much good news there was. The sun began to shine every day. Never mind that it was cold!
Coats began to be unbuttoned. The swimming pool committee put up a notice to say that this wonderful, natural water pool, which would now also be heated, would be having an opening ceremony in May. You could see the end. You could go for a swim in a heated pool. Hope! More clothes were flung off. Daring souls, who didn’t even smoke, were to be seen outside cafes drinking coffee and even having breakfast. One house held an “Open Garden” really early so people could have a stroll around its delights. The Cyclist bought a new van in anticipation of a good summer trade in his beer events sales. Gidleigh Church is busy preparing for their Flower Festival in July. Soon there will be Annual General Meetings of all sorts of clubs, of which there will be more than we can possibly mention.
Last of all the town has colour. At the Spar shop, there is a blousy display of flowers and huge Easter bunnies. They are outrageously colourful and not too expensive. The Assistant, though, has privately got her eye on the animal eggs. In fact, it would be a shame to eat one of those, they are so outrageous, and, anyway, she is on a gruesome “Mother of the Bride” diet.
At the dress shop a frock has appeared with amazingly bright colours. It can be seen from across the Square and will suit someone who is attending a cheery event.
At Blacks, you can buy a sophisticated egg surrounded by straw which is truly beautiful. You wouldn’t dare eat one of those, it’s so pretty, but you could have a delicious saffron yellow hot cross bun instead, if you weren’t on that diet! It would simply drip with butter and make you shut your eyes in joy!
Everyone is making a huge effort so Easter will be lovely. The little town will celebrate. We hope that all of you faithful readers will enjoy Easter too.