view from our bedroom window
This picture has nothing to do with the promulgated subject of this post; those that I have taken associated with the topic are too boring and you might switch off - you might anyway but I'll take a chance on that. Normally, at the time when I took this photo, I would have been at my desk, writing; but I am 'between years' and re-organising myself, at the same time as (supposedly) downsizing. Whilst I was in the throes of so doing, right outside our window flowed The Hunt (our house is so old and low-set in relation to the present road that the huntsmen can look right in to our upstairs windows).
Baying of the hounds, the followers behind in decrepit cars, muddy land-rovers and even quad bikes with trailers in which rode chaps in ancient tweeds and caps the like of which my grandfather would wear, pretending to be a gentleman farmer, which he wasn't, though he was a gentleman. And all those sprightly men and women, young and old, spic-and-span upon their horses; the women with netted hair below their hard-hats. They congregated outside the pub (The Norman Knight) milling around, dogs barking. I decide to record this moment, for any second they will be up and away. Only vantage point is our bedroom window; I lean out precariously regardless of my feet already slipping on the polished wooden floor. If I fall, I'll break my neck for sure, landing on the flagstones below. Hence, the photo has a) camera shake, b) a telegraph pole that appears at a rakish angle and c) the mist and rain of a typical November day. I close the window against the rain, and continue with downsizing. Later, as dusk falls, the huntsmen return, clattering up the hill to where they have no doubt left their horse-boxes. One young man (is he 'master of foxhounds'?) rides back and forth alongside the village green, hallooing. Have the hounds gone missing? One elderly gent rides past, out-of-breath and red in the face, his horse a slather of sweat.
Such an English scene, never mind what the Hunt had convened for; I could write plenty on that, but end the evening with the sound in my ears of another English tradition: the ringing of church bells - for Tuesday is practice night. It takes my mind back a few years to the Millennium when Raymond and I went along with others from the village to see the final two of eight bells cast (at a bell-foundry in Loughborough), and subsequently transported here and hung in the bell-tower. That was in my pre-digital-camera days, but somewhere I have negatives and prints of the whole process; when - in my downsizing - I find them, I'll post them on this blog. Of course, if I was wearing my journalist hat, I'd have ferreted them from wherever they are stashed, along with my photos of the Church, and even, perhaps, those of our village Millennium celebrations when we turned a farmer's barn into a feast house for a medieval gathering. Ten years ago; it seems but yesterday.
But that's another story, as is 'downsizing'; and the bells are lulling my senses as I turn back the years. I'll leave you with the photo that begins my saga of de-cluttering this old 16th century farmhouse. It's surprising the unfulfilled dreams you uncover when you reach below the surface. Just the two of us now, rattling around in so many rooms, so many nooks and crannies; and all filled with memories that have to be disposed of - or at least the visible evidence of so much of our life here.
beginning downsizing (I'm rather ashamed of this)