Friday 23 October 2015

Emergency Minivering

But this time, at any rate, she was safe.
There was the house,
as neat and friendly as ever,
facing her as she turned the corner of the square. . .

Except that the house has had at least one window
missing for every day of the last week.

And inside is far from neat and friendly,

because more than a century's worth
of grime, soot and brick dust

has been released into the house,
and deposited on every naked surface, 
meaning that,

'the feel of door handles and light-switches,
the shape and texture of the bannister-rail under one's palm;
minute tactile intimacies,

has mainly consisted of grit.

The key does not turn sweetly in the lock
because builders do not believe in closing doors
and prefer an unimpeded passage through the building site
which is what your home has become.
All the furniture is shifted from room to room as they progress
and I cannot at present access
my writing-table with the letters that have come for me this morning
or the
three new library books lying virginally on the fender stool

their bright paper wrappers unsullied by subscriber's hand.

So I did the only thing possible to mitigate this discomfort,
which I know to be only temporary
and ultimately a Good Thing
because we will have a warmer winter as a result of this work,
I bought three

chrysanthemums of the 

big mop-headed kind,
burgundy-coloured, (not quite)
with curled petals. . .

and if I can clear a path through the debris
I might even make myself a Miniver tea:

honey sandwiches, brandy snaps,
and small ratafia biscuits;
and there would, she knew, be crumpets.

 but if not I can at least listen to this,
the missing piece from Mrs Minver's jig-saw puzzle,

the familiar sound of the Wednesday barrel-organ,
playing with a hundred apocryphal trills and arpeggios,
the Blue Danube waltz.

There is no clock 
on the mantlepiece to chime

very softly and precisely, five times

but there is certainly

a sudden breeze bringing the sharp tang
of  a bonfire in at the (gaping) window

because my neighbour has purloined the old windows
to burn in his stove.


  1. Ooh my! You know it is worth it but.....the flowers are such a good idea always. I wondered if this was a result of Kondoing?

  2. Hmm, well... I'm sure it'll be lovely once it's all over. Meanwhile, sniff those chrysanths and keep your eyes closed for a bit.

  3. Oh my, those chrysanths ... they're stunning. I can't say I'm envying you the cleanup when all the windows are in, I'm thinking you'll deserve to surround yourself with flowers after that.

  4. Fix your mind firmly on the resulting warmth and comfort and carry on minivering ...
    Making some brandy snaps sounds like an excellent idea , actually , and would keep you cosy . Just don't let the builders eat them all .

  5. that was an abrupt sideways shift at the end.
    All gone up in smoke!

  6. Lucille, you really have taken me far away from where I sit, as I took my time reading this post and gazing at those transporting images.


  7. Having suffered the new window experience, I shall refrain from commenting, other than to say that the lighting in your image of the Chrysanthemums is superb. I admire you greatly.

  8. You just have to love Mrs. Miniver don't you and of course when the work is finished you will wonder what all the fuss was about. Gorgeous mums just like my granddad used to grow.

  9. At least it's only builders and not a wartime bomb! Although perhaps you could treat yourself to a Mrs Miniver's Domestic Help when it's all finished?

  10. I thought this post was going to be about small cars driving out of control, a wee search of old posts led me to blokeish and a conversation in a garage forecourt about wheels..........

    Enjoy your beautiful flowers and the peace and quiet when the builders have departed and you can close your doors.

  11. Oh deal. This brings back deep-sigh-inducing memories of dust. I found some in a cupboard the other day, 18 months on. (That says a lot about my housekeeping skills...) But it WILL be worth it and you will hopefully be all cosy for the winter. Keep your thoughts on the end result and enjoy your lovely flowers.

  12. Half of my house needs new windows too but as I read your post I could feel them sliding further and further into the indeterminate future. But I wish you joy of your soon to be warmth.