Notes from a Crisp & Cold Saturday

Last year we were standing under the star-ridden skies in Northampton. My in-laws were visiting and we had concluded a day in Blenheim by trundling to the Racecourse on a crisp and clear but chilly night. It was July 4. Guy Fawkes Day. Guy Fawkes. Guido Fawkes, the prop-up man who had failed to blow up the British Parliament on Nov 5th in the year 1605. The failure of that plot meant that the country celebrates it – the Gunpowder Plot – annually with bonfire and fireworks, mulled wine and hot chocolate, under starry skies.

The passage of time. Today we are sitting and watching Stranger Things, an American sci-fi show in America. I have developed frozen shoulders as a result of the show because I am thrilled and creeped out. We are hooked, okay? We watch it late into the night and I cannot wait to catch up with it the next day. A strange fever.

On a complete aside, I was out for a run on a windy cold evening and watched the waters of the Hudson transform into a sheet of molten silver from a distance. As I neared it, and Adi joined me later on, we were mesmerised by the silhouette of a solitary duck emerge with a big fish in its beak and scoff it within a second, just like we would a plate of scones. We watched it slowly drift away across the waters into the lavender-grey sky.

There are many squirrels out there in the park still. A lot of babes with their tiny bodies and sprightly personalities. The chill in the air seems to have made their tails bushier like they own their personalised coats of sable. One particular boy was busy in his alcove on a trunk. He watched us but he was not that bothered. There was the business of chomping which he did with great precision. About 40 chomps in a minute. Then he stretched his tubby body across the bark, hung off it with those tiny hind legs, and continued devouring his nut like a little yogi.

On another aside, this weekend’s instalment of my pre-birthday gift is a throw soft as butter, silver with undertones of beige showing through. Needless to say, I am thrilled. It is the build-up that makes it count. Here’s to November!

2017-11-04 06.32.27 1.jpg

2017-11-04 06.32.25 1.jpg

2017-11-04 06.32.24 1.jpg

2017-11-04 10.42.52 1.jpg

In the City of Hearts

The birthday month has been kicked off by dinner and dessert at Denny’s. We stopped at the diner last night on the way home from Worcester when Adi observed: ‘You have the heart of a trucker. You want to drive a RAM And you have taken a shine to Denny’s. Now all we need to do is set you up with a farm.’ I do not think I need to quibble on that, cuz really, I will take all of that. The RAM, the farm with a menagerie that shall comprise an elephant, a horse, a pair of Cotswold sheep, a donkey, a hippo (highly smelly, so what) and a couple of big dogs, please.

The RAM, if you are not familiar with all things American, is a breed of pick-up truck that appropriately enough has a logo of a ram with massive curved horns jutting out from its bonnet. Its maws tower over you – it seems taller than Adi who stands at 6’2″ – so that it made me gawp the first time I laid my eyes on it. Is there any doubt that one should want to sit at the wheel of a RAM – to look down its substantial nose upon others? The fact remains however that before daydreaming about pick-up trucks, I have to polish up my antiquated driving skills. Soon. In the meantime, a woman can and will dream.

I spent my a brand new November day roaming around the city of Worcester in Massachusetts. Now this was the central part of Worcester which was several degrees pleasurable to the eyes than Downtown Worcester which had looked threadbare when I explored it a few weeks ago. I found a local bakery where I gagged upon a cup of maple cappuccino (I never learn not to experiment with flavours), redeemed only by a flaky multi-grain croissant stuffed with eggs and cheese. Then I walked its streets which were not cramped by the practicality of boring numbers but sported signages with names like Fruit Street and hearts adjoining them. The logo is a nod to Worcester’s status as the Heart of the Commonwealth. Also Valentines’ Day business in America took off in the city where a local stationer’s daughter, Esther Howland, started selling Valentines’ tokens.

On Sunday, a couple of days before, a magnificent storm had ripped through Massachusetts. On that evening we had chosen to drive through it because Adi had to reach work early the next morning in Worcester. Torrents of rain came fast at the windscreen buoyed up by furious gales, and the poor wipers were hard pressed to handle the onslaught of the night. I was imagining uprooted trees, cows and pigs flying through the air because the ranting and raving of the wind was overwhelming. It was not as dramatic as that however. No cows or pigs or even trees flew but trees were veritably uprooted and leaves stripped mercilessly off trees as you can well picture on that night of extremities.

The effect of the storm was visible when I sauntered into Elm Park in Worcester. The park was rambling enough to create the illusion that I was in the middle of the woods. I shuffled through beds of yellow and red autumnal leaves and then beds of spruce spines strewn with nuts and pine cones. As I became aware of the presence of the others – chubby squirrels who with their shyness made me think that they really need lessons in nonchalance from their counterparts in Bayonne – I contemplated about the ways one can use those nuts to make squirrel nut butter and sell them in stores. I cannot claim originality to the idea because the night before I had watched a pair of girls on a reality show called ‘Shark Tank’ ideate about their brand that they had called Squirrel Nut Butters or something like that. (By the way, if you watch Shark Tank, have you seen how fantastically gruff that bald fellow Kevin O’Leary is? He is wonderful! He made me guffaw when he called a girl in a yellow coat a flat yellow pancake because he thought her business idea was gobshit.)

Anyway, so I picked a few nuts which I believe are macadamia, ferreted out scarlet leaves that showed promise of ageing wonderfully within the pages of my book and soaked in the blessed quiet of the canopy above my head along with that brand of fresh green fragrance that is typical to the woods. It is a delicious feeling that – to be cocooned in the solitude of nature.

2017-11-01 04.27.16 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.17 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.18 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.30 1.jpg

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

2017-11-01 04.27.32 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.19 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.29 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.30 2.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.28 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.26 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.24 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.21 2.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.21 1.jpg

2017-11-01 04.27.25 2.jpg