It snowed last night, so I gave the fire its head for the first time this year, and woke up to the boat at a decadent 25 degrees.
The coal man had promised to come round 'late morning', so I cleared the snow off the roof where the coal goes, and sat in front of the fire drinking tea and listening to the radio in anticipation. While I was waiting I dusted things and cleaned things and read books. Eventually there was a tap on the window, just as the sun was at its brightest and the snow melting away.
The Tills are lovely people and it's always a pleasure to get coal from them. They'd noticed that I'd written a blog post recommending them and were very grateful. They deliver direct to the roof despite the trouble it takes to bring a coal lorry onto Midsummer Common. We stuck half a ton of Taybrite on the top. That should last the winter with some to spare.
Once they'd gone I changed out of my coal clothes and sat in front of the fire again, meaning to go out, but the radio had become enchanting.
Ruby Hughes was singing Schubert's romantic songs live from the Wigmore Hall in a thrilling voice.
There's something about a soprano singing German well that takes the breath away.
How cruel the world is to make me so in love with such sounds; a platonic ideal, of which birdsong is only a shadow on the wall; and yet unable ever to make them.
It's bizarre to find yourself sitting completely alone, crying and clapping and shouting brava at the radio.
But it did make me feel like I'd had a part in bringing her back for her encore, just as the announcer had given up and was handing us back.
She sang a Benjamin Britten arrangement of various sentimental songs that I know from childhood. I've always thought that Britten's arrangements of folksongs rather missed the point, but when Ruby sang O Waly Waly you could see what he'd been driving at after all.
I had to turn the radio off once she'd finished. It seemed a terrible shame to overwrite the memory of something so beautiful with any further music.
I have gone for a walk in the snow.