The afternoons were getting harder to get through. The time dragged and it felt like waiting for paint to dry. I had tried to fill the time with watching TV, gardening and looking out of the window.
Still though, I caught myself dozing off sometimes and even woke myself from sleep, confused by what I’d missed.
Maybe, it was lack of sleep in the night or the strangely warm autumn. Perhaps, it was a sign as there had been others, of the old age I hated admitting too. I brushed it off, blamed it on other things.
Sleep though didn’t seem to want to let me go. I felt like I was having an never ending battle with keeping my eyes open and my thoughts in one place. I would nodded off and jerk myself awake, I’d get up and shake off the blanket sleep had tried to wrap me in.
Sometimes though it was too easier to give in. I didn’t have the fight like I use too and my energy was lacking after morning activities. So, a little sleep helped me to get through the rest of the day.
The days were getting shorter and darkness always seemed close at hand. My excuse for sleeping was justified; it’s cold and dark, I liked to be warm and feel safe. Plus, the growing aches in my joints were eased when I laid down. – Not so great when I stood up though!
Stretching in my basket, I looked at the clock then the TV and tried to see if it was time for a walk. The old man had fallen asleep in his chair again, his head was on his chest and his hands were in his lap. It seemed unfair to wake him up.
I was comfy and too warm. I yawned and snuggled back down. Maybe, I should just give into these day time naps? They didn’t seem that bad really.
I didn’t find autumn cold like most people did. I found it warm and cosy. I loved pulling on a soft jumper, curling up on the sofa with a hot coffee or chocolate then burying myself in a thick novel.
Outside, the wind might be howling and the rain might be pouring but that just made perfect background noise to my reading. As the early darkness covered the sky and lingered by the windows, I pulled a blanket over my knees and wonder how the hero was going to escape this time.
The bubbling of stew and dumplings called to me before I could get there. It was a hearty meal with bread for soaking up the gravy at the bottom of the bowl. I felt hugged from the inside!
Sleepiness drifted like the night upon me and I took the book to a fleece lined bed and goose feather pillows. Safe from the world, I disappeared in between the words till I was dreaming I was adventuring alongside the hero.
I looked up at my neighbour’s apple tree and my mouth started to water. The thought of the first bite of sweet crispiness called to me and it was a temptation I answered.
I pressed against the wooden fence and cast through the leaves. There were a lot of apples on the branches that over hung my garden. A few apples were in easy reach too but I wanted one that was ready.
The lowest apples were the ones that had seen less sun and they were not ready. The highest ones were but they were out of my arms reach and it would be too suspicious if I stood on a ladder.
I choice an apple that was at the height of my reach. It’s red and green colours were splashed together and it felt heavy in my palm. A quick twist and it was mine!
The barking started before I could officially claim my prize. I looked across my neighbour’s garden and saw their dog. It was a terrier mix and making one hell of a racket.
I swiftly lowered my arm and put the apple into my pocket. The dog bounced over, knowing he’s territory had been entered and he slammed into the fence.
Shooing the dog away was useless and I know my neighbour would appear to see what the noise was about because their back door was open. Hopefully, they would think it was a bird the dog was chasing after.
I rushed back to the lawn mower I had abandoned and turned it on. The engine drowned out the dog’s barking and I hurried about my task once more.
A few minutes later, I had finished and packed away the lawn mower in the shed. The dog had stopped barking. Sitting on the shed’s step, I took out the stolen apple and had my first bite.
It’s September now and six months since I last held you in my arms. I don’t know if you have been receiving anything from me. Your mother is probably withholding all my letters and gifts. I forgive her. She was angry but I hope one day, to get a note from you.
The leaves are falling against the cabin’s windows. The river is running cold and I am more alone then I have ever been before. I miss your sweet smile and small, warm hands.
We are having a great time here. Yesterday we hired bicycles and rode around the town and countryside. We stopped at a pub in the evening and someone stole my bicycle! Well, we didn’t know what do to and I decided to walk back to the hotel and let the others go ahead.
Then a local man pulled up on a bicycle, he was drunk but happy and apologised in broken English that he had taken my bicycle instead of his own! I was so happy, I forgave him on the spot. We shook hands, collected our correct bicycles and went on our separate ways.
This would never have happen back home and just shows how wonderful this country is!
The snails had been eating Burt’s plants again. He signed and plucked away the nibbled leaves that reminded. Hopefully, some of the plants would survive if he give them some extra care.
As for the snails, Burt got some plastic sheeting out of his shed and some metal rods he had made for this job. He constructed a mini greenhouse cover over the plants and put wooden planks on the floor to weigh the sheet down and stop the snails getting underneath.
Burt would never put out poison. He didn’t believe that was the correct way to deal with nature. The snails were just hungry and they didn’t mean to eat his plants, it was just their way. So, he wouldn’t kill them but he would stop them from getting access and encourage the snails to move on.
The heady scent of lavender sent me to my sleep. I dreamed I was waking through fields of the purple flowers. My fingers brushed the delicate blooms and their scent swam around me. Bees buzzed by and birds sing from the trees whilst above the sky was pink and orange, the sun just a smear. I could stay forever in this dream.