By the Photographer’s Assistant
The daughter and the Assistant were dressed in everything you can think of to keep warm and dry. The forecast for the Moor was dreadful. The dog attempted to walk beside them, but it was trying too hard to be good so that however hard it tried, it went around in circles. It was funny, but not helpful. Eventually, she was let off the lead. It wasn’t quite autumn, but it felt close. It began to rain and the rain became so hard that they knew they would be soaked. Cars passed. They were so pleased as here came the Photographer, ready to pick them up.
They were just around the corner from the church and they all quickly entered out of the rain. They stood and surveyed the scene. In four weeks time, the Daughter’s wedding would take place here. Observations were made. Where to place greenery, particularly the ivy from the garden? How many were coming? Where would everyone sit? The discussion went on and Zaney, the dog, attempted to join in by sitting knowledgeably on the floor, sighing, shifting and attempting to direct proceedings. Eventually, the church door was shut and the foursome drove home to a cup of tea and a “warm up” by the kitchen range. The whole event had brought home something other than wedding arrangements. It had brought home the arrival of autumn. There was no denying it.
Here was a reminder to put the coats through the washing machine and apply some waterproofer.
The Photographer thought of the boots and the need to work on them, so that they were warm and waterproof. Laces would be checked and the thickness of soles would be reviewed. The lawn would need cutting at every opportunity. However, this was the last day of real rain. The local reservoir was dry and old buildings stuck out above what water there was left. The Assistant spent hours clearing the garden stream out, as weed unexpectedly took over. The pump inlet for the Victorian water system had stopped filling. Their own bore hole, which was shallow, could dry up, for there would be no warning, just a sudden cessation of the water supply.
On the following Monday, the Photographer and his Assistant went for their usual breakfast at Blacks in the little town. It was slightly chilly, but dry. They sat outside enjoying the fresh air, when a man in shorts walked past. He always wore shorts and the two admired his bravery. They met a friend who had arrived in a full winter coat, large jumper, thick socks and full winter regalia. He nodded towards the man in shorts and exclaimed, “Nutcase!” as he left for the high moor in his giant 4×4. Opinion on the arrival of Autumn was obviously divided.
Returning from their walk, the two decided to carry on gardening and washing windows, whatever the state the house was in, it would have to wait until the weather finally broke. Frequently, when this happened on the Moor, the weather shut down completely and only the brave gardened until the spring. Your fingers could freeze in just a few seconds. The Photographer decided to mow rather than strim for now. He spent the day mowing neat paths and clearing debris. The Assistant, being of a lazy frame of mind, picked up a small box and started to collect apples. Both the Assistant and the Photographer remarked on a pear possibly missing from the pear tree. Surely not? They decided they must be wrong. The next day, one of the three remaining pears in the garden was missing. There was no sign of it anywhere, not even a core! They sat in the garden and thought about this for a while, over a cup tea of course, there is no point in making a martyr of yourself in the garden. Alan Titchmarsh always said spend time looking at your garden. Now that the two were getting older, they certainly did a lot of this. Having carefully watched Springwatch over a couple of years, and seen a badger climb a tree, they decided one must have taken the pear. There was a back entrance to their home in the garden, and only a few years before the whole family of badgers had driven through the sweetcorn like a bulldozer! The two remaining pears were picked by the humans and the badgers were left some apples on the ground together with the evidence that Mr. Fox had also paid a visit. Some wonderfully coloured jays continued to occupy the same stretch of lawn. The humans began to wonder whether they should sit on their seat at all, considering the number of animals who considered this to be their domain. Zany the dog, meanwhile paid a late visit to the garden and made her presence felt. The two remembered dear Marcus, who died around this time of year. That dear spaniel had taken no prisoners, even tangling with the badgers when really enraged. The two sighed and visited his grave. Life was just not the same without Marcus, then they remembered how very depressed he got in the winter, sighing when it was raining and grumbling during the evening as he lay damply by the fire. You have to be incredibly tolerant to actually live with a proper springer. Their moods are those of a prima donna, no matter how many badgers they have a punch up with!
It does, however, go without saying, that the little town is well up to the arrival of autumn and winter. The aforementioned Blacks was filling up with Chris’s fresh home made soup only this morning. The man from Endacott’s arrived with a fresh load of pasties, they’ll keep the cold out. Casa Magnolia has clothes to keep the ladies of the town looking ravishing, while actually not exposing too much skin to the elements. Bowdens has a large number of individual heaters all ready to go with the frosts that are now arriving. The town’s inhabitants try out various winter garb while surveying the hills for clouds and storms. Spar has had a wonderful offer on various soups. The town is paused, coats are on and The Courtyard Cafe is stuffed full of regulars, some of whom have just arrived from foreign summer adventures and some of whom will now go abroad for the whole of the winter, returning only when friends have told them that spring is here. They will miss the lovely log fires, the smell of the wood wafting out of the wood store as they fill their baskets. Poor John, the wood supplier, will, as usual, together with his team members, pray for a rest on Christmas, as his phone continues to ring in the corner. We will all have a moan, but we’ll really enjoy the chance to catch up with friends, sitting by the pub fires reminiscing about the summer of ’16, when the streams dried up and you had to strip off to keep cool, how the gin and tonic flowed and the beer cooled the working breast. What a summer we had as we await the winter to come.
Answer to the quiz:
It is the dry spillway from Vennford Reservoir, waiting for the rain to come and fill it up again
and the blog title is by John Lee Hooker from the album Best of Friends
Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental
Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford