I think I overdid it yesterday, for I have been unable to think in a straight line and can hardly walk in one with my aching joints. It started with a visit from the chimney sweep. This year I knew I had to get round to having the chimneys swept before we started on our domestic burn-ups. It was only when I called and he asked when we last had them done that I started to hum and hah. "Erm, I think it was your dad who came." Secretly I knew perfectly well that in fact we have only had the sweep here once in nearly 30 years. Turns out that the old man has been dead for two years and was ill for several years before that.
The sweep duly arrived today 20 minutes early. My goodness that man had some energy. After five minutes he reminded me that it was traditional for the sweep to be given a cup of tea. It would have been foolhardy to refuse. Then he set to. After a little while he called "It's out" and I was urged - twice - to go and see the brush peeping out all Mary-Poppins-like through the chimney pot. The chimneys, it seems are in fine enough fettle too, which was a relief. By the time he left, after a second cup of tea, I knew all about him, some of which you can read here, and more. I can tell you where he went to school, how many kids he has, his philosophy on life, all about his clothes, his cars, his homes, his health, his wives. But I liked him, I really did, he seemed completely wysiwyg, even though I had to sit down and have a quiet cup of tea when he left. The two rooms were spick and smelt mildly of soot, rather nice, and today there has been the occasional gentle fall of dustiness into the hearth. I think it may be a spell.
He was gone just after eleven leaving me with time to visit the dentist, the supermarket, meet a friend for a late lunch, look around the Whitechapel (more to say about that), show my friend around my childhood stamping ground, come home and make a heart-stopping bakewell traybake - rather nice but so very much butter - and get along to the WI for a talk by the generous, funny and gently inspiring John-Paul Flintoff on how to change the world.
So I've been very tired today, but I think it is the chimney sweep who's mainly to blame.
It's asparagus fern and some rosehips on the mantle piece. Never before have I witnessed such a forest of fern. And the Bakewell looked very pretty all studded with raspberries but had to be taken in a rush to said WI meeting.