The early morning rain and blustery wind which I heard as I woke has gone and in its place is stillness and bright sunshine. Every day, the trees along the street lose a few more of their leaves and this morning our back garden has a light covering of purple leaves from the flowering cherry tree which grows beside our garden wall. I’ve had a busy morning; the second load of washing is in the machine and the contents of the first (which included Coco’s favourite toy ‘lamb chop’) are drying on the clothes airer in the utility room.
The oven is still warm from my earlier cooking, and a batch of newly made rock cakes are cooling on a rack on the breakfast bar. All downstairs floors are washed or vacuumed and I have opened all the windows slightly to let the fresh air in. If the weather forecasters are correct, this may be the last dry sunny day for a while and I want to make the most of it. The mobile dog groomer arrived a short while ago and the van is on the drive with the bright and cheerful ‘mucky pups’ logo on the side. Coco couldn’t wait to get in there and in about another hour, she will return to the house, soft and fluffy and smelling of doggy talcum powder. If I go into the garage I can hear the muffled conversation between groomer and dog from the van just outside the garage door. The groomer is chatting to her, telling her what a good dog she is and how beautiful she looks. There is a soft hum from the hairdryer and I can imagine that Coco is enjoying having such fuss made over her.
In the peace of an empty house, I think I have earned my right to eat my lunch in solitude, without the pleading big brown eyes of a hungry pup by my side. An empty tin of Heinz cream of tomato soup is on the side and its contents are warm and comforting in a pale blue bowl before me. I dip my spoon into the delicious creamy soup; I have tried other makes in the past, but none compare to Heinz. To accompany it, I have a slice of soda bread and I enjoy every last crumb.
Soon the sun will start to dip and temperatures drop and I prepare to go round the house closing windows and closing blinds. The central heating switches on and the radiators start their gentle clicking as the warm water starts to flow through the system. In the silent house, this tiny noise is very noticeable. It is rare now for me to have the house to myself and much as I love the companionship of others, I do value this quiet time to myself.