1024 hard-written words today. Sometimes, when I am really motoring, I can do five hundred in an hour. Some days, I have to pull each phrase out of my head with tweezers.
The Younger Brother calls from Bali, where he lives. ‘We must pat each other on the back,’ he cries, for no special reason. ‘We must cheer everyone on.’ (This is the kind of thing he suddenly says, overcome with his own exuberance.)
He is so filled with optimistic certainty that I can practically see the pom-poms. I was feeling a bit grouchy; the weather had turned dour again, I have a dull head cold, the words were hard. Now, thanks to the unfeasibly happy voice of the Balinese Brother, I feel my spirits lift. I contemplate the miracles of the Skype.
Through my work storm, news from the outside world filters in. The economy seems to be recovering. Dear old Blighty is growing again. Ordinary Decent Britons know better to throw their hats in the air over one set of figures, but I can’t help but feel a small green shoot of hope. It’s so long since we had any good economic news.
A Republican politician has said something unspeakable about rape. This appears to be a pathological daily occurrence, so I’m not sure it counts as news. It never ceases to amaze me, though.
Donald Trump has done something idiotic and self-promoting, which is also too usual to be worthy of print. What should be news but is lost below the fold, because the papers are still obsessed with the Jimmy Savile scandal and bashing the BBC, is that two soldiers were shot to death in Afghanistan.
That’s the one that always stops me in my tracks. I don’t know what to say about that. It’s where words fail; even the language of Shakespeare and Milton is not good enough.
Here, in the far north, the trees are turning and the weather is coming in over the hills. There will be snow tomorrow. I feel the faintest flutter of apprehension at the arrival of the serious winter chill. It is time, I think, for stew.
Autumn colours on the hills:
And in the garden:
The impossible dignity of Miss Pidge: