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.