December 19th, 2009

Isn't It Grand, Boys...

So cold! I turned a tap on this morning and all I got was a trickle. I know what this means; it means the water has frozen in the pipes. But this isn't a horror story- the water gathered up speed and then came bursting through- I tell it to emphasise how cold it is.

I just lit a scented candle in the hall. I like to keep a candle burning there through the winter months- partly for the scent, but also for the small, friendly flame- a reminder of the king in exile- by which I mean the sun. The inlaws came to the door last week, saw the small friendly flame flickering through the glass, and thought the house was on fire.

My mother-in-law is given to thinking the worst.  For instance she doesn't want us to go down to Kent next week because- well- in this weather it's dangerous. I call it displacement anxiety. She worries about a multitude of little things so she doesn't need to worry about the one big thing. You know which big thing I'm talking about. Its name begins with a D.

My father-in-law acknowledges his fear of the D thing, with humour, with a certain gallantry. Struggling to get into the car the other night he said- half complaining, half joking- " I feel like an old man."  "Sorry father," said Ailz brightly, "but I don't know where to find you one at this time of night."

Ailz is currently revisiting her youth by playing the Clancys and Tommy Makem all the livelong day.  By a remarkable stroke of synchroncity they've just kicked off with that song that goes, "Isn't it grand, boys, to be bloody well dead."- which, of course, they all of them are now. I prefer the gallows vein in the Irish tradition to the stirring invocations to rise up and fight the English, because, frankly, I don't have the energy for that right now. You shoulder your pikes at the rising of the moon if you like, boys.  I'd rather stay in where it's warm.