The Good, or as good as I can make it... Since childhood days, after finding out I actually was Father
Christmas, the festive season has always been a stressful occasion. For most of the year I go shopping knowing exactly what I want and where to get it, then back home on the very next bus. Come Christmas I spend hours wandering around town looking hither and thither, not knowing what presents to buy for who, always hoping the right ones will magically jump out and choose themselves. I'm useless at matching the right gift with the right recipient. This year I haven't done too badly, though most presents are still in a hidey-hole waiting to be taken out, wrapped and labelled ready for dispatch. In addition, all cards have been written, calendars designed and printed, overseas items sent merrily on their way, my wonderful partner's Christmas tree installed and decorated, secondary glazing screwed to windows and doors to keep out Jack Frost - so Father Christmas can come just as soon as he jolly well likes. Though I should warn him, the chimney needs sweeping....Ho ho ho.
|Christmas is coming.....|
|Brother Billy 1936 - 2013|
Of seven siblings, Billy was the one I was closest to, spent most time with, had most in common with. Many were the times we'd be out poaching together at break of dawn with guns and dogs, and returning home with 'one for the pot' before most local farmers or gamekeepers had stirred from their beds. People jokingly ask "Is that when you learned to run?" and I jokingly tell them "Yes". But I never saw Billy run for any distance in all his life, though he was built for it. He would stand his ground. He was Mr Fight while I was Mr Flight.
In those days Sunday morning bells summoned us not to Church but to dog racing. Maybe dogs could read
|My type of dog, a lurcher for hunting and racing...|
But what moves me most is remembrance of him finding me in an emaciated state, lying with the dogs and barely able to walk, having lost 1½ stones in a very short space of time when diverticulitis flared up, and rushing me to hospital where I was put on drips in a side ward and fed all the right things until I recovered. In that respect I maybe owe my longevity to Billy. It's ironic therefore, and doesn't seem fair, that the elder sibling survives whilst the younger one has passed away. So Rest in Peace Billy, and thanks for enriching our lives and leaving us with so many wonderful memories.
|Ugh...what I have to run through|
The Ugly... Well, it isn't much really, and I shouldn't complain under the circumstances, but the photograph will show you what I mean. I'm heartily sick of returning home from runs plastered with mud and having to dump everything into the washing machine, including shoes. I cannot understand why local farmers still have their beasties churning up fields and gateways when their barns and silos are bursting with fodder after one of the best haytime harvests on record. It's enough to stop me from running - though I'm sure I'd suffer painful withdrawal symptoms if I did. People might say "Think yourself lucky you're still able to do it" - and I do - but at this time of year, between summer sunshine and winter snow, such slushiness only adds to the misery of raw winds and driving rain. It's almost enough to drive me back to the treadmill. Now there's an idea, why didn't I think of that before?