We bought a pumpkin and I was going to carve it into a jack o'lantern and I forgot all about it. So now there's an untouched pumpkin sitting in the kitchen somewhere and I need to figure out what to do with it. Pumpkin soup, I guess, which makes a nice meal whatever day of the year it is.
So Halloween passed me by, but I've been deeply affected by the putting back of the clocks. I grumble about it but I like it really. I get up earlier and I go to bed earlier and feel good about myself.
Early to bed and early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Yesterday I noticed the windows darkening at four and it shot me right back to the winter evenings of my boyhood. I'm sitting at the kitchen table and the window is throwing slanting rectangles of light up the grassy bank outside. And the ragged black silhouette of the wood at the far end of our garden is slowly merging with the sky. Maybe there's a star hovering just above.
Maybe it moves and is an aeroplane.
Or I'm sitting by an open fire and we're roasting chestnuts. (Yes, really.) We line them up along the top of the grate and behind them the coals yawn to reveal great caverns of incandescence and I think, not exactly of hell, but of some mythic otherworld- perhaps of that place in Norse legends (yes, I'd read all that stuff at a pretty young age) where the fire giants live.
I had to look that up, of course. I open my copy of Myths of the Norsemen and the information I need sits across from the scary picture of Sutr the giant with the flaming sword who stands at the gates of Muspellsheim and chops up approaching ice-bergs.
He has stiff pointed moustaches and a low sloping brow. He looks like the sort who would chop first and ask questions afterwards. Or maybe not ask any questions ever.
The book was my grandfather's and it still smells of his tobacco. He's been dead now for 25 years.
The chestnuts, anyway, are lined up along the grate and I sit well back because once in a while- thrillingly- one of them will explode.