Wednesday 30 November 2016

A Poignant Moment

Last week the heater on my van suddenly went cold. Initially I was simply annoyed (and chilly) but quickly the penny dropped and a memory from the days of ancient motors past reared its ugly head and said "You're losing coolant, old son". Sure enough I was, and rapidly. So, right now I am vanless until a crucial new part is delivered and fitted.

Being unable to work is a nuisance but, with the outdoor temperatures at finger-numbing lowness just now, I can live with it. So what have I been doing instead? Earning a few brownie points here and there. Also cycling. Wrapping up and getting out on the bike is highly satisfying. Yes it's cold, but the sunshine and scenery more than compensate. Mind you, today I kept mainly to gritted roads - the lanes were decidedly iffy where the sun hadn't melted the frost. It's a long time since I've properly fallen off my bike, and I'm quite happy to extend that period indefinitely.

Early this afternoon I walked into town and completed a couple of errands. On the way back I strolled with deliberate slowness along the little river that runs down the valley just east of our house...

This is the River Asker, one of Bridport's two main watercourses
I was looking for fish. The Asker contains small trout. I say small, but who knows, perhaps there are big ones in there too? As expected I spotted one or two darting for cover as I meandered along. Then, rounding a bend, I saw something quite unexpected: a piece of wood the size of a book floating downstream towards me, with a blazing fire aboard! Watching its progress were a woman and two young boys, aged around seven and five. I could hear the boys' eager voices from some distance, and naturally wondered what it was all about. I had my quip ready for when I drew level. I was going to say "That looks just like a Viking funeral ship!" or something along those lines...

Before I could say anything though, the older boy turned to me and said, quite matter-of-fact: "We're burning it for our dead daddy's birthday." As you can imagine, I was not expecting that. After exchanging a few appropriate words with the boys and their mum I walked on, my mind suddenly on quite other matters than fish...

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