Last night it was minus 6°C in parts of the United Kingdom. There are homeless people living out there in this country, huddled in doorways, or visiting foodbanks. People are buying sleeping bags and hot water bottles to use when it’s cold (for children too) rather than put their heating on.
It’s all become normal in these days of austerity. People are working in the gig economy and are so low paid, or get so few hours work, that they have to claim benefits, and yet the take up of benefits is lower than ever.
What to do? How can things be like this? I’m scared it will only get worse. I heard a homeless man froze to death in car park last night. I could understand if it was a polar explorer, but not a man in a town or city centre. This has to be wrong.
The sun fades,
There is more night than day.
Change of season.
Leaves that were green change,
First pale then golden or red and russet.
Chill air frosts spiders webs.
Rain falls cold and drenching.
Flowers that were bright fade away.
Fruits ripen and fall.
Golden grain is harvested and brought in.
Stored and dried.
Winter is not here yet but gradually
So gradually, time leaps on.
Autumn shades will fade in turn.
I’m trying to watch (and understand) a 1957 film by Ingmar Bergmann called ‘The Seventh Seal’.
It’s in Swedish with English subtitles. The language sounds complex and ancient. It’s in black and white. A Knight comes back from the crusades and finds plague. Then he plays chess with Death and Death gives him time to get his life in order. Well that’s what it appears to be about but I’m not sure. What I might do is look it up on Google, but that seems wrong. I shall continue to watch it. Its beautifully photographed and very interesting and very strange.
Sandstone is a beautiful stone, soft and porous, it can be carved into fine shapes. But as this gravestone shows it also dissolves, especially in out acid rain environment. In this case the stone has turned black, probably from pollution, as Stoke-on-Trent was a very smoky place, due to the coal fired potteries. And yet the church is clean. I don’t know if it has been cleaned but it has had some restoration.
The lettering on the headstone is almost lost. Its almost as if a layer has peeled off. Gone but not forgotten? It depends on whether the family still exists, and whether they still live in the area.
Other stones in the graveyard are in worse or better condition. Some have been turned into steps, gradually wearing away under foot.
The candle flickered and guttered as the front door opened. Jim entered the room with a flurry of snow. The cold air made a hole in the warmth.
‘You OK’ he asked? ‘Yes just about’ , said Sarah. ‘I kept the wood stove burning all day, but the power went out half an hour ago so I lit a candle ‘.
The weather had been mad since the 20’s. Global temperatures had continued to increase, but this winter had been wild. Snow had fallen for three months now. Sometimes they managed to get out to the shops, but they had to walk down the hill over the fields because the lane was full up with snow. It was one of those deep lanes which had been worn away over the centuries. The land around it was about 6 foot higher. In this snow it was impossible to get along because of the drifts.
‘So how many tablets have you got left?’ asked Jim. ‘Five’ she said. ‘I will have to get down to the village soon’ he thought for a second. ‘What about the weather?’
‘I heard the report before the power went off – bad for two days, then it might break?’
Jim looked at his wife, pale and thin. She was shivering with cold. ‘I’ll fetch you a blanket’ .
Later as they lay on a mattress infront of the wood burner, he looked at the ceiling and watched the last glimmers of the candle. He listened to her uneven breathing, a harsh rattle sometimes breaking into the rhythm of sleeping breath. ‘ Oh lord ‘ he thought, ‘let the snow stop, let me get her medicine, let things get better’ .
Three weeks later as the snow turned to rain, and the land flooded, the local police came looking for them. Inside the living room they found their bodies..
A note was on the table under a burnt down candle. ‘I can’t live without her’ was the simple message he had left.