I’m just back from walking round the village with Misty. It seems that it is one of those days for counting blessings – the right time of the year too. When we do the inner village route, Misty has to stay on the expanding lead. She likes to do her regular round of sniffing and scenting, so there is plenty of time for me to look round about.
When I was a child, walking to and from school, the route was through an estate of houses with front gardens. I amused myself by giving them marks our of ten. Tidiness didn’t count for as much as colour, but during mid-winter it was interesting shapes that caught the eye. I never wrote anything down, so I had no record of scores year by year, but it certainly made the walk to school seem less onerous. Come to think of it, I must have been on my own a good bit of the time. Oh yes – I kind of remember that it was boys from my class at school who lived in the same street, and it would not have been the done thing to tag along with them. I sped off as soon as the closing bell was rung, anxious to get home though I’m not sure why.
Playing out time was a favourite with me. In those long ago days it was considered safe for children as young as five or six to play out with friends. We used to play tig, skipping, dodge-ball (that hurt a bit too much. . . . . ) or tip-it-and-run. This last game was one I really enjoyed. The wicket was a lampost, the bowler had to make the ball bounce once before the batter had a swipe. Even a tiny hit meant you had to run to the end of the wicket. Everyone else was against the batter, and it was amazing how quickly the next turn came along. We rarely damaged windows and there seemed to be plenty of room on the street for there were few cars in those days.
In the school holidays, we played out for hours. Those were the days when the milkman, the coalman, the rag&bone man. . . . . . . . Yes – they were all men… all had a horse and cart each. When the horse deposited a pile in the road there was a race to see who could be the first to collect a bucket and spade. I never really minded the earthy pong of the dung, especially as I knew my father would be pleased to have the manure for his roses or rhubarb.
If someone came to visit in a car it was a huge event. It would be either the doctor or a well-off relative. We children, all used to hang around the car, polishing it with our jumper-sleeves, some of the tougher boys used to kick the tyres and talk knowledgeably about “Tyre pressures” and “punctures.” I didn’t know what either meant, but it was good to be involved in the excitement.
Blessings then, meant a good slice of bread and jam and a cup of Ovaltine at bed-time. Nowadays we tend to look for the more sophisticated. I wonder who or what it is that has changed? Today in our village the sun shines through the bare and tangled twigs, there is a damp smell from the fungi in the verges and someone, somewhere is burning wood whilst another has a peat fire. Misty and I turn for home and I muse about what I might write on my blog. Today, then, it is Blessings from Dalamory for you and yours.