I can't sleep and have crept down to the kitchen, to be followed by the dogs galloping down the stairs, and asking to be let out. They have hared across the lawn, in hot pursuit, I assume, of a fox. I can hear crashing, snorting and barking, and no doubt, they will be back soon, tongues lolling, their quarry far away over the fields.
At this time of night, it is so quiet, not a sound in the house, nor outside. The walls of this house are 18 inches thick, made of Northamptonshire ironstone, and not much sound seeps through. It is almost eerie. I am glad I am wrapped up in a ghastly, unflattering, but cosy fleece dressing gown, with sheepskin lined slippers on my feet. There is a definite chill in the air - I am not running the central heating for more than a couple of hours a day, even though the temperature has dropped considerably these last few days. As the philanderer has stopped paying me any maintenance at all, I shall have to get used to the chill as I cannot afford to pay the heating bills!
I have just looked at my e-mails to see that the senior daughter has sent me a lovely photo of her chums, H and M, who married recently. They look so happy - they came here for lunch during the summer when the daughter was at home, are quite delightful, and I wish them all the joy and happiness in the world.
I am feeling reflective again looking at this picture of happiness. I feel sad - how, 41 years down the line, can a man behave so badly and not have a twinge of conscience, and how can his ghastly ambitious young lawyer excuse her encouragement of his lies, and concealment of his finances and his health problems? Not a pleasant scenario, Mrs M in MK, perhps you are hoping for a promotion, for destroying my life?
I muse on the nature of the philander's present relationship - she thinks he is 'the one'. he, behind her back, true to his nature, says he feels nothing for her, she is available, he does not intend to marry her, he quite likes her! I wonder if she knows this! You see, he behaves true to form. A leopard never changes its spots. Not my problem. Watch out, dear.
The dogs have come back, scrabbling to be let in, and have flown upstairs, to stake their claim to a large share of the bed. I just love them, their warm silky bodies, which smell of starch and clean sheets, their soft ears, their dear brown and golden eyes, looking so warmly and lovingly at me. Dogs are definitely man's best friend. We used to own a wonderful Golden Retriever called Bertie, short for Albertine. She had the most gentle nature, and she and I belonged to an organisation called PAT Dogs, Pets as Therapy. For years, we visited hospitals, hospices, geriatric rehabilitation units and sick people, it was such a privilege and pleasure. Bertie brought so much joy to sick and elderly people, laying her soft head with its big brown eyes on laps, gently accepting tiny bits of biscuit, and allowing herself to be stroked and petted. We also helped at a drop in centre run by Headway, a charity for people who had suffered head trauma. She was a diamond, my Bertie, and we miss her. She mentored Maud when she was a puppy, and also dear Violet, she was the mother hen of our dog fraternity.
The stillness - absolutely nothing to be heard, the sound of silence. When we first moved here, all those years ago, I was left on my own a lot, and was absolutely terrified. Over the years, the house has gathered me in and closed itself around me. I feel utterly at peace here on my own now, this house is like an old dear friend, protecting me.
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