After a day spent fighting virtual fires within the software leviathan I have been constructing for the last six months, I’m now sitting in the garden, slowly feeding kindling into a chiminea, gazing into altogether more real flickering flames.
There’s something about tending an open fire. I’m not sure if it’s the smell of wood smoke, or the hypnotic pops, crackles, and streams of light that leap, bend, and consume the twigs, branches, and leaves within. A part of me imagines Mr Tumnus playing his flute, and Lucy Pevensie falling asleep in the corner.
Today wasn’t a complete slog though – a wonderful friend that lives nearby put out an SOS on Facebook for somebody to help her lift something heavy (which appears to be one of my useful purposes). A few minutes later I arrived in her back garden, and somehow lifted a huge wooden table onto the roof of a Landrover defender parked on the driveway. I can only imagine how the new owner removed it.
Helping out led to an hour sitting in my friend’s kitchen, being fed wine, and grown up conversation. After the last few weeks, it was a perfect hour – an hour away from everything and everybody, just emptying my head with a trusted friend. She perched on the kitchen counter, I sat at a breakfast-bar stool, and the world seemed to fall away for a little while.
Of course then the whole escapade came crashing to a halt, when my other half arrived home – and without me present our girls had apparently launched into a fairly accurate recreation of “Lord of the Flies”. I received an angry text message just as my wine glass was being re-filled.
It’s funny how families do that, isn’t it – how the rug can be pulled from under you. One moment you’re enjoying some much needed peace, quiet, and a brief glimpse of how things might be, and the next you are pitched back into the shouting, the arguments, the mayhem and the chaos.