Waking early in the wild dawn, twenty past four, gazing up at the great stormy cloudbank of the sky, wind-tossed birds, all the house peaceful.
Going downstairs to fetch a bottle of delicious spring water from the fridge – Hildon water, I love it – and an orange juice popsicle from the freezer. And the last handful of sweet Spanish cherries (our Kent cherries are still shivering, small and green, the summer has been so cold and wet).
This week in our house we have feverish colds – a Godsend, worth the price; it’s left the Badger to ill to drive up to Oxford, so he’s worked from home this whole week. Where he should be. And I, burning up and pouring snot, have been obliged to cancel all my people duties, which has allowed me to get on with editing this book – thank God, thank God, it needs all the time I have. It will be a fine book once the prose is tamed.
That picture at the top is our house, but not this one. It's a picture of the dawn Hebe took through the window at Gezellig, the tiny apartment we lived in long ago, before the Badger and I got married. Outside the window a bush grew called Rupert - we knew that was his name, because it's what he used to say in his scratchy little voice, twigs against the windowpane, in the wind. You can see the shadows of his leaves in the morning light. After we left no-one trimmed him any more, and he's grown into a massive tree now, right up beyond the ridge tiles. Some kind of hazel or willow, I'm not sure what.
But this sunrise from this window is different. Look:
Why does getting up in the quiet dawn always feel like Christmas?