By the Photographer’s Assistant
Christmas is a strange time on the Moor. Of course, it is a lovely time, a time of comfort, rest and joy, but it can also be a time of disturbance, and indeed, a much needed time for reality to invade our own little world, which is usually full of sheep, cows, a little shooting, and not much reference to anything out there. In actual fact, many people live in the little town in order to avoid the real world, especially if they have been subject to the massive car parking charges inflicted by Exeter Council. Indeed, when one has had a trip in, particularly at Christmas time, you wonder that place does not have golden streets!
However, I digress, to those of you who did not dare open your e mail, or post over the holiday, let me reassure you that that was the correct thing to do. Now, come on, you have loved ones out there and they most certainly need you. We must try not to think that everyone will mention their terror as the day of Mr. Trump’s inauguration approaches.
We have had much sad news from friends and family this year and we have had sad happenings in the little town, but we have also had good news. The Photographer and his Assistant have been sad at some of their news. A friend, who lost her 25 year old son a year ago, has buried his ashes in one of the most beautiful graveyards in the South Downs. This was sad news, but it brought some comfort to know in what a wonderful place he had been put to rest. My good friend, has been abroad for some years now, and I was able to remember the times we had together, when her son was in the pushchair and we would go for walks and cups of tea together as we waited for our older children to appear off the school buses. These were our halcyon days when we just needed to hold everything together while our husbands travelled the world to earn the family’s keep.
Another old friend wrote to say that her husband had had a bad fall down the stairs and that his neck was going to be in a brace for some time. A dear cousin was busy writing wonderful books together with her husband. She was attempting to hold their whole world together while her son, out of his own volition, was spinning out of control like a spinning top on the edge of his own universe.
We were rung from an airport by a friend, who had to fly away to attend a funeral because an aged relative had died. She simply wanted someone to be in her house while a large musical instrument was being delivered.
Meanwhile, in the little town a lady, who would always read the Assistant’s poetry on public occasions, had simply just died. She had been very old, but she was one of those people who you thought would go on for ever. Now, we shall go to a church services and she won’t be there in her splendid purple velvet hat, sitting at the front, so the priest would not have to face that awful empty pew!
There are, no doubt, other instances we could name, but there is one more we shall mention. On a day between Christmas and New Year, a man aged only 36 died without any warning, in a local pub. The Photographer and the Assistant had seen the Air Ambulance pass over their house and hoped so much that this would not be bad news. The young man had suffered an aneurism and there had been nothing that could be done. He served the community wonderfully well and will be terribly missed. And so we could probably go on, but we won’t. To those of you, who have found Christmas very hard to get through, we wish you a much better New Year.
Oh! What of good news though. The Assistant has been very busy studying photos of her new great nephew, about whom she is very excited. He is the first baby to be born in her branch of the family for over thirty years. What a perky little fellow he is, and of course, the only person he resembles is himself, which is as it should be. What fun selecting sleepwear for the young man.
Should his clothing have a giraffe motif or a monkey or a bus or ——–.
Jim, the Artist, has undoubtedly, had an enormously successful year. His drawings creating a set of tarot cards, have been HUGE in every way. He has almost had to hide on his trips to the Courtyard Cafe. He plans to spend 2017 fishing from a boat on a lake.
The Daughter ended the year with a new permanent job, which she adores. This had been a real slog to find, so it means a lot to the family that her two degrees, so hard earned, are at last being used.
Many older members of the community survive and remain incredibly fit, indeed some of them ended up looking after their own children, who being exhausted by the outer universe and all its strange demands, have ended up, once more, being looked after by their elderly parents for few days, or a week, while they regained their sanity in the fresh air on the Moor.
If you do come to visit, and forget your walking boots, even deliberately, remember that Bowdens will fix you up. This is not a good move. The number of men and, indeed women, seen returning to inner cities fixed up with hunting or shooting gear, never to be used again, are innumerable. The boundless energy of the staff at Bowdens will so enthuse you, that you will not be able to resist. It’s far better, to just remember your boots. You must also eat whatever you are given, however hideous, the old person will have spent many hours wandering about the little town, even tasting this very special whatever it is, half demented with thinking about what you eat in town. Be kind and eat it, whatever it is, even if it is something indeterminate to do with sheep.
As usual, the staff at the little town’s surgery, have kept many a pensioner going with special clinics and ideas. They now have appointments for patients, who are otherwise healthy, but would like to have their toe nails cut. The Assistant has only recently managed to turn down a trip to Oakhampton Hospital for some Physio. Not likely! It’s strange how her leg has begun to improve!
Lastly, there is a very special word for Maureen, who is the wife of the Photographers cousin. For years we have written to one another at Christmas, and now, she too has an iPad. She sends us the most wonderful sun fueled family photos. There are loads of family, out there in Australia, beaming and bonny. Why didn’t we get that brave and just risk the adventure like them? Who knows, but we love them all. The Assistant, though, has just heard from her own great aunt, who lives in the States, (remember Trump?) The Assistant isn’t in the least bit worried about him. Her aunt informs her that having emigrated with 4 children in 1956, she is now matriarch of 22 members of that branch of the family. Amazing! We’ll see what Mr. Trump has in store for them. Some of them have kept their British passports. We are clearing the spare room right now. After all, from the day he takes charge, they will be immigrants or from a migrant family. Watch this space.
To all our readers HAVE A GRAND NEW YEAR and keep your tin hat on as my granddad would have said.
FootNote If you have soft fruit like apples left from storing, please remember to spread it on your lawn for the birds and animals. It is so very cold at the moment.
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