The first trace of morning arrives, filtered through cobwebs behind the oak shutters and despite the door of the lit clos being firmly shut the feeble light is determined to welcome me into a calm winter’s day. Through the fanned fretwork of that door I detect the vague forms that resemble the sun’s rays and know it’s time to rise and shine. I fumble for the switch and the harsh lamplight floods the black interior of the six by four double panelled. My box bed is more akin to sleeping within an old wooden coffer and if you’ve never tried resting your weary bone with wood then I recommend you try at least once before the coffin arrives. It would seem a shame to have missed the conscious experience.
For almost a month I stopped winding the clocks and returned to daylight hours as far as dawn rising. Although the evenings are noticeably drawing out, the mornings seem to persist in a sluggish grey awakening. Now with the old long-case clock once again ticking I am dragged from the fruitless dreams of shallow slumber by the rowdy bashing out of the hour.
Having recently discovered that I am of pensionable age there followed a few days of sluggish retirement redundancy blues and a feeling of no real urgency to do anything. This was followed up smartly by a degree of discomfort in that for the first time in my life I was being paid for doing nothing. Should I think about doing some voluntary work, was I truly old enough to help out at the local charity shop? Then my own list of things to do rather quashed that idea. I might be slightly richer in monitory terms but with each day that passed I was becoming time poor, so slide open the lit clos door, no time to linger with the trialling of coffins, get up and get on with the day. First ritual job is to empty the ash along with any success of last night’s mouse trap and then relight the fire followed by a full pot of green tea while I consider whether to glue more feathers or continuing where I left off with last night’s stitching. I find mornings are a case of keep calm and carry on, ease into the day preferably in silence, there will always be plenty of time to catch up on the rotating or perhaps rotting round of world news. Last night the high winds roar within the chimney and rattled the door but here within the confines of thick granite walls my one room existence stays warm. On gusty mornings skeletal trees flail wildly while the neighbour’s cockerel leads his four hens to their favoured scratching spot beneath in the leaf litter. The blue winter iris huddle in the lea of the low wall and snowdrops in full flower seem strangely taller as we head into February. Yesterday a confused peacock butterfly awoke and fluttered briefly in the afternoon sun and I noted that a second cut of rhubarb may be possible in the coming days.
Beyond the dawn of the morning comes still silent Sunday, even the birds seem to have made their chorus brief. The sun slips low across a heavy mist that sits dank within the valley of the river Ellez. Beneath the pin oak lay soft moss covered pebbles and unfrozen puddled water, the trunk vertically defining westward with a liberal covering of silver green lichen. Standing waste high in the abandoned neighbouring garden golden grasses static and yet not frozen. Within, shutters open and table as yet uncluttered, the old clock bashes out the noisy hour signalling time for coffee and decisions; inside or out, studio or garden, framing or feathers?