I went out of the house at 8.15 this morning, a bit later than I’d meant, but still in time, with my car keys in my hand. I had seen the heavy frost from the window and thought bbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrr (actually, I forgot to move my finger and the shiver wasn’t as awful as that) and decided to drive. Howsomever, when I got outside I thought it wasn’t that cold and I got out my bike after all.
At about 10.30, I left Tim in charge and toddled off to the library, where I renewed my books, borrowed a new one about knitting and was on my way back, intending to make tracks towards a coffee shop, when I met a friend. She’s another fellow churchwarden, but of another church in the benefice, so rather than a Fellow I’ll call her a Bellow, although she is quietly spoken. Anyhoo, she invited me home for coffee, so I said ‘What Ho!’ and followed her.
And light may have been shown. Because, after general chit-chat and all, I told her and her husband, in confidence (which she merits completely – yeah, yeah, I know I’ve talked about this all on the interwebnet, but I can delete it you know, unless you use a feedreader or know what you’re doing, in which case I’m a bit fucked – about the mysterious turner-on of the church heating. And she wondered if it was *’Imself*. I didn’t know whom she meant (grammar) but when she described the man, who is always about on his bike, I did know. She has had occasion to wonder if he sleeps in her church. Things are slightly different from how she leaves them. She knows he’s in a lot during the day, and it doesn’t matter how early one visits in the morning, he bobs up from somewhere. The heating controls have sometimes been changed (access has been denied there now).
I had rather changed my mind from it being a vagrant when it had occurred to me that money left in the collection bowl had not been taken. I’m not at all sure that it’s the same person in our church, but I think it could well be a village person who thinks of the village church as part of his ‘territory’ and therefore his to sleep in if he wants. Imself has a home of his own and sufficient income to keep himself, but he’s eccentric. There are plenty of people like that around. An old lady called Vira L. used to live in this village and often would sleep in my in-law’s big wheelbarrow (which we were lucky enough to inherit, I put up a picture of it once. I might look it out), which she lined with leaves. She often left a banana skin as a calling card. Imself, or someone like him, can cope with life as long as he’s left alone, but he needs a lot of tolerance. This suggestion gells better with me than someone who is a true vagrant and homeless person. I can’t help feeling that the latter would leave possessions or something rather than carry everything around all day, giving a clue that someone had been there.
Anyway, after that, I went into the bakery for my lunchtime ham and salad roll in granary bread and was also tempted by their home-made soup. I bought a cupful each for me and Tim and took it back to the shop and we ate/drank it nummily between customers. After Tim left, I heated a kettleful of water and filled the hot water bottle I’d providently taken in. The thought had occurred to me yesterday, and was reinforced by Dandelion’s praise of her HWB, which reminded me to put mine in my bag. It was wonderful. I warmed my hands and knees, them tucked it between my knees, inside my coat against my chest, then between my feet, then, slipping my shoes off, under my feet. When I served a customer, I put it on my stool so that I could sit back down on a lovely warm stool. I giggled with happiness.
Tomorrow, I will have to drive in as I have to deliver Meals on Wheels at the end of the morning, and the Sage has the Annual Appointment with the Accountant. Fortunately, he will deal with my stuff as well as his.
Oh, and when I have a minute, I’ll go to the hot water bottle shop (would you think it would be the ironmonger or the haberdashery?) and buy one for Al. Because I think it would Transform his Life. I filled it three times during the afternoon, and a customer was tempted to steal it. His mother had to fight him for it.