Posted by Tania Kindersley.
It was a rotten day. The slush slushed, and then iced over again so that it was perilous underfoot, and a low, persistent sleet fell from a melancholy sky. My internet connection filled with glitches. I flew into computer rage and started stabbing at the close button in a vain attempt to get rid of one maddening page that would not shut, the screen flickered, and I had, quite by mistake, shut the file I was working on without saving the changes. It is almost impossible to do this unless you are very drunk, or blinded by fury. Six hundred words were lost. I was in the middle of writing something utterly fascinating about the mountain people of Bhutan. I know they are not really called mountain people, but I think of them like that because where they live is undeniably mountainous. I was getting all smug because I had managed to talk about Marilyn Monroe and the people of Bhutan in the same chapter. And then it was all gone.
Sarah called, at the very moment of catastrophe.
'Yes?' I shouted.
'Are you all right?' she said.
'No,' I said. 'I lost my morning's work. And I was making that kind of argument that hasn't quite solidified yet, you know the kind you only really understand once you have written it, so of course I can't remember it at all.'
'Oh,' she said. 'Yes I know that one exactly.'
'I was writing about the people of Bhutan,' I said. 'Then the internet started going glitchy and I flew into a temper.'
'It's probably the Chinese,' Sarah said, obscurely.
'Oh my God,' I said. 'The Google.'
We pondered this for a while.
'I don't expect it really was the Chinese,' Sarah said, eventually.
She then made some jokes, cheered me up, gave me permission to take the afternoon off (on a Thursday, it felt so subversive) and said I should clear my mind and start again tomorrow.
At four I went out, still rather grumpy, expecting the horrible weather. The dogs must be exercised though, so on went the boots and the gloves and the hat and the two coats, for insulation. But instead of a glowering sky, I found a magical gloaming, as blue as the sea. A mist was hovering at the base of the hills, and there were mysterious cloud formations in the sky, and the air was as fresh as mountain water. I found myself smiling all over my face.
I had a mild frustration today. I did not, like the people of Haiti, lose my house or my living or my family. I still have running water and a roof over my head and all my arms and legs. I just lost a few words, that is all.
This is what I saw:
These ones are a little fuzzy, for which I apologise, but I wanted you to get a sense of the magical mist: