The moment I awoke and opened my eyes I should have realised all was not as it should have been.
A chill wind scuttled down the valley from the moor like a pinch faced, sex starved, school ma’am chivvying wayward waifs of leaves and mist before her. Their wispish tongues flicked along lank wire fences dripping with last evening’s jewels. From my window, fields and woodland had dressed in mismatched purple pants and jackets cut to the flank in rich brown tweed. There were hedgerows and tracks swathed in hose of deepest shadow, blue at the fringes, with pale bone buttons sewn at the cuff with cuckoo spit.
And trees, magnificent still, against sodden slate skies in their second best shirts, frilled with saxeny lace, their arms stretched aloft and chests puffed from habit, on the off chance Lady Sunshine should stroll by.
Here and there, in the blackened earth, daylight’s careless brush would within an hour or so flourish streaks of yellow. Then, later, patches of rare light would develop wrinkled by scratches and burns and birds bobbing and hobbling in drunken tomfoolery, squabbling for worms. The buzzards, the blackbirds, herons and geese they are rock stars and poets, just not very good ones.
I sat with curled spine on the edge of the bed, a puppet waiting for strings, my head to the side and ears straining to hear through the chorus din and droning hush in the house, the click of the switch and clink of cups that would announce the imminent arrival of tea.
After a while, from the corner of my eye it bothered me I could see the bedroom clock. After even longer, from the corner of my eye, I saw the hands click forward a single minute.