The housemate went off to a conference and calls from time to time saying how disappointing the hotel has turned out to be. She believes hotels should be fun, with huge beds to bounce on and big high-definition TV screens and room service waiters popping in every few minutes with trolleys of cakes and silver trays loaded with roast turkey and pink champagne, jacuzzis brimming over with bubble bath, a yellow bucket and spade waiting near the door to be taken to the beach the next day. Life, James, but not as we know it.
The pup is adorable but hard work, dogs all playing together now, feeding routines in place, where they sleep etc. Joyous volleys of barking through out the day. I so like wandering around the garden followed by three dogs, like a contemporary badly dressed Artemis or huntress Diana.
Home alone so I made myself a smoked salmon and sour cream, capers, horseradish, yum yum supper, just enough for one person. Because I travelled so much on business at an earlier stage of my life, I have no hotel envy. Planned to stay up reading and listening to jazz which the housemate doesn’t like, but got sleepy at about 10pm, so put the dogs down and went off to sleep. Woke up just before dawn, thrilled with the silence and an owl’s thin cry. It is odd that when I am alone, I revert to the person I was when I lived alone in my 30s, enjoying the quiet morning, creeping around and hoping the dogs don’t wake while I have a pot of tea. Going to the living room window to stand and watch the dawn, the sunrise in African mountains, a fast blaze coming up in the east. That soft blued-over haze of mist on the fields, mountains black and aureoled by sun.
Then the dogs began to bark and jump around and the housemate called to say she wants to get home earlier today, has found a small Italian deli with good biscotti, is off to walk on the cliffs overlooking the sea — and for me, mouth full of toast, it is time to come online and find out what America etc has been up to overnight.
Thought that the real appreciation of sobriety is so rarely there at the time — why stay sober again this afternoon, why not have a drink this evening? but it is always there in the long term, to have stayed sober so many evenings and to have witnessed so many dawns, so hopeful that chunk of life reclaimed, more dawns to look forward to, more evenings with books and Horlicks, more laughter and conversation, more clarity and simple living –