15 – 17 October 2014
With so much work to do at home on the blog salvage project it was hard to drag myself away and do some paid work on Wednesday morning. Actually I was feeling a little grumpy. It was one of those horrible drizzly, misty mornings and I set off with my iPod playing cheery music to try to lift my mood. When I got to the boardwalk though I saw something that did the job so much better.
When it comes to being happy it’s the little things in life that make me smile. No matter how bad things are it’s a rare day when I can’t find at least one. On Wednesday it was cobwebs, fairy cobwebs. Everywhere I looked they were draped, shimmering with water droplets more beautiful than any diamond. Ok so I had a blog disaster going on at home, a manic day in the office ahead of me and a house full of reminders that Commando Senior is no more. Even so, for that moment, the world was a beautiful place.
Unfortunately the bubble burst shortly after I got to the office. Angry calls are a fact of life. Some people have good reason to be angry, others not so much. My first call was one of the latter, a man shouting incoherently about dogs. He wanted to know the policy about dogs on buses. I began to explain that dogs were allowed on the bus at the driver’s discretion but he cut me off.
“Why didn’t your driver let my daughter on the bus with her dog yesterday then?” he screamed.
Again I tried to talk but again he shouted me down. This went on for some time until I stopped trying at all and just stopped talking.
Piecing together the story from the stream of invective liberally peppered with swear words it seems his twelve year old daughter was not allowed on the bus with her Staffordshire bull terrier. I’m guessing the dog was a bit snarly, the girl was small and the driver didn’t feel comfortable that she could control it. The fact is the driver has a responsibility to the other passengers on the bus and, if he doesn’t think the dog is safe, he is within his rights to refuse to let it on.
There was no way of telling Mr Shouty this though because he didn’t seem like a man who would listen to reason. He didn’t seem like a man would listen at all. I took the details as best I could all the time wondering what kind of parent sends a small girl out to catch a bus with a large and rather frightening dog? Yes I know Staffies can be lovely, good natured dogs but they also look rather scary and have a terrible reputation due to the idiots who breed them for fighting. If you own one you really should be well aware of that and act accordingly.
There was no rain on Thursday morning just that beautiful golden autumn light that comes from the sun being so much lower in the sky. On what passes for a lawn in our garden one small clump of daisies caught my eye as I left the house. Once we have the first frost they’ll be gone but, until then, I’m enjoying them.
Crossing Cobden Bridge I looked out at a river so still it could have been made of glass. The low sun burnished each little ship and their prefect reflections while, on the bank, trees showed off their autumn clothes. Who could ask for anything more from a walk to work?
Much as I’d have liked to linger by the river I had to drag myself away and walk along the street of little houses lining the bank. Here bright rowan berries dripped with heavy dew and firethorn showed how it got its name with a cascade of orange berries weighing down the branches. The slipway was filled with swans and cygnets basking in the morning sun. Seven almost grown cygnets, feathers just starting to change colour, with two watchful parents. Long shadows elongated elegant necks but, out of the water, they look somehow ungainly and awkward.
Winter colds have decimated our office and there were just three of us manning the phones. Emails went unanswered while we struggled to deal with calls. One man rang to complain he’d sent an email over a week ago and hadn’t got a reply.
“It’s totally pointless writing to you people if you don’t even answer,” he grumbled.
“I’m so sorry we haven’t dealt with your enquiry yet,” I said, “unfortunately we’re very short staffed at the moment due to illness and we haven’t been able to respond as quickly as we’d like.”
“That’s not my problem is it?” he said. “I want a reply to my complaint. Tell me how long it’s going to take or deal with it right now!”
Ironically, when he finally stopped shouting and bullying, he was complaining about a rude driver. It seems to me some people go through life being treated exactly as they deserve to be treated. Perhaps if he changed his attitude people would be nicer to him.
It was much the same on Friday except I went in an hour early to try to make some headway on all the outstanding work. This meant I was walking along the board walk as the sun came up, giving me a wonderful start to the day.
The leaves on the lime trees in the desolate park have finally decided to give up being green. On the river a lone swan greeted me at the water’s edge wings puffed up in a classic pose. Wild mustard is still flowering, if a little ragged and the heavy dew clung to it, sparkling. The rising sun, hidden behind a cloud, gave a gentle tint to the water.
As I stepped onto the boardwalk I pulled my jacket about me against the chill in the air. The old hippie ship, half submerged, was silhouetted amid the glowing river. Half way across I stopped for a moment to watch the rowers on their morning practice. As the sun finally rose above the cloud a burst of honeyed light enveloped the scene and the river turned to liquid gold.
Autumn may not have all the bells and whistles of spring or summer with fresh green growth or bright flowers but it certainly has its charms. Of course there are the jewel colours of the leaves but the misty mornings, golden light and first frosts bring a breathtaking beauty all their own.
As I slowly work my way through two and a bit years of old blog posts covering two redundancies, deaths, stress and goodness knows what else the thing that really stands out are those golden moments. Over the coming weeks, months, maybe even years, I will try to share the best with you. If you’ve been with me since the beginning you may recognise some of them but I think they can stand a second look. After all, we all need things to make us smile.