It is Saturday morning and the little town is quite still. There is very little traffic about. The Photographer has collected the papers. The Assistant has been helped to a simple breakfast by Chris, who, as always, has arrived early, has his apron on and is getting down to making delicious smells emanate from Blacks’s Deli kitchen. Fresh coffee is on and Catherine arrives ready for the Saturday rush. The Photographer and the Assistant sit quietly contemplating the birds which hang out on the chimney opposite. They are always there, definitely rebels without a cause, but they wish they had one. Until now, all has been quiet, but a little queue is building up. Dogs are hooked up to the outside of the deli, and are complaining . Various customers have been in and out, but they have not been able to collect their favourite Saturday treat. Some customers have sat down to quietly wait. Endacott’s are late. This is unknown. This is not meant to happen. The Photographer and the Assistant are enjoying a second cup of coffee when THE VAN arrives. Out jumps the delivery driver and, avoiding the customers, manages to bounce into the deli without being confronted. The delicious bread and treats are unloaded and he is on his way. Disaster is diverted and there really is no need for Catherine to arrange the goods, they are simply disappearing.
As the two finish their coffee, a magnificent mobility scooter appears up the hill. This is the little town, so the scooter enters with an air of triumph. It is driven by a war veteran and sports wonderfully coloured British maritime flags. What a hint of cheer! The sight is most definitely going to wake you up.
This is all the start to a typical day in the little town. As the two leave the town, they are distressed to see a fire service van, two police cars and a doctor’s call out car, all parked up in various positions all over the centre of the town. There had obviously been some sort of incident, and living away from the town, the two thought that they would never hear what had happened. Four days later the Daughter appeared for supper and reported on how stressed she had been on the Friday night.
She had arrived early on a scene in the road. An early responder had just arrived on the scene and was trying to control everything. Someone was lying unconscious in the road, and she had found the sight upsetting, but had started controlling the traffic. This was in the real spirit of the little town and we were proud of her. She does not know what had happened to the person, but she and the first responder had done all they could until more help arrived. In these circumstances, the fire brigade will often be the first to arrive, having been trained in emergency care. Otherwise, the little town is too far away from the emergency ambulance. The little town likes to think that it takes care of its own people and it must be said that it does this splendidly. There are many people living here, who have everyday kindnesses from the community.
On a less serious note Autumn/Winter life goes on. We have enjoyed a wonderful autumn. The Assistant picked her last raspberries at the start of November. She picked and served her last courgettes on the 7th November. The work in the garden has never been so advanced at this time of year. Shrubs have been cut down and moved. The Photographer continually cut the grass and the Assistant was able to prevent the leaves from blocking the stream. Her shed had really benefited from new tool hangers erected by a very busy Photographer.
After a long break from keeping the house up to scratch ( everyone who visits has been enjoying the sunshine in the garden) the Assistant had turned to work with a will. The house was stuffed with out of date magazines, newspapers, and total disorder. How did that huge saucepan get stowed away there? The Assistant had reached the stage where only the very closest of friends could possibly come through the door! Fortunately, as long as he was fed, for his work was exhausting, the Photographer was too busy having a doze to notice. After she had actually uncovered the kitchen range, which was covered in drying washing, the Assistant unearthed the necessary cleaners and spent a fruitful three hours cleaning it. She was full of pride when her neighbour popped in and complimented her on how shiny the kitchen was! The work continued apace. You can now see through most of the windows, though not all.
The Photographer organised the logs, have started using them late in the year. John’s logs were as good as they had ever been. The two were often to be found fast asleep in front of the telly, the Yorkshire vet solving animal illness as they slept through the evening.
The Assistant filled the empty bird feeders and indeed went to the extravagance of buying a new nut feeder. The birds returned in their droves and were such an enjoyable sight over breakfast. As the weather has grown colder, cooperative feeding is taking place. There are goldfinches, robins, chaffinches and all varieties of tits, all feeding together.
The apple crop has been an average one in the garden this year, but there are still enough to go around. The Assistant has eating apples of all sizes stored in her shed. They nestle in kitchen paper in old recycled veg and fruit boxes. There were enough potatoes to store in sacks, nestling in the corner against the wooden walls. These crops will last until Christmas. Spinach, kale, carrots and leeks are all available in the garden. Best of all, the Christmas sprouts are coming on a treat, even if the birds are enjoying their tops! Being able to feed the family and friends at Christmas is always a really lucky bonus and we enjoy it.
The apples are the big bonus. The Assistant uses the cookers to make granny apple, named after the Photographer’s mother, who spent all of the autumn preserving and cooking the apples in whatever way that she could. The apples are peeled, and lay in a little water with mixed spices. Often it isn’t necessary to add sugar. This simple mix is put in the oven at a low temperature to cook away to its heart’s content. If you over cook it, it can still be used, just don’t burn it. You can use it in pies, crumbles and as it is. It is an excellent winter warmer. The apple mixture can also be frozen. It may sound a boring thing to do, but it is a good excuse to have another Yorkshire vet program on in the background. The apples that you don’t use, plus peel and cores can simply be left on the ground, where, even now, the blackbirds are enjoying the feast. When you have eaten an apple simply throw it out into the garden, the core will be eaten.
Last of all, what a delightful time of the year to get together with friends. You can feed them and they can feed you. We had a lovely meal with some new neighbours where the first course consisted of all the samples of food that they could find in their new garden. A delightful piece of pork was enjoyed with another neighbour. Just as the two could not be bothered to get a Sunday lunch, another friend invited them for a most delicious chicken and fruit hot pot. After a twelve hour day at work and in the gym, the Daughter managed to muster enough energy to cook a delicious venison casserole. Shortly friends and acquaintances will disappear on urgent Christmas missions so this is always a wonderful time for a catch up with one another.
As we all disperse, and we say this not we hope in a self righteous way, lets enjoy all the preparations, because nobody really cares if you get it wrong, they just want to enjoy your company. In the next blog, we will tell you how all the preparations are going.
The full quotation from St David’s final sermon to his monks
“do the little things, the small things you’ve seen me doing”.
And finally, we have added a link to the Facebook page
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