In the little wooden house in the garden live my neighbours chickens: Salt, Pepper, Tommy and Twm (all female). Tonight they are the only residents in Tanygrisiau with lighting. The first bad weather of the autumn, torrential rain that seems excessive even in this little microclimate it he highest rain in the UK, and the power lines are down. The house is littered with magnetic lights running LEDs on batteries and torches in every room and the power cut came after we’d Skyped with Seth in South Africa, but it’s my least favourite feature of life in this remote village – the all-too regular power cuts. But a line of fairy lights and a cluster of blue flashing lights around the hen hut continue to twinkle on and off, powered by their own batteries to warn off foxes.
It’s been a bad day. Cottia, Jake and I dismantled and emptied my wardrobe to get into the loft (silly little hatch in a stupid place) so that we could store away some of Cottia’s boxes while she’s home for a year doing a post-grad certificate in mental health care. The boxes never made it up there. Jake discovered instead that he boxes already stored are all piled in one spot on boards that haven’t been properly laid on the joists – one of the bodged jobs that Meirion House suffers from that we inch towards righting year on year. We did get a rather gorgeous book cover designed and chatted to Seth briefly – I was about to transfer some money for him when I noticed a large bank account transaction for some sound equipment I’ve never even dreamt of buying. Two extremely long phone calls later and bank card blocked and destroyed I’m looking forward to filling in fraud forms and trying to puny account back together. I managed a bit more conversation with Seth before the lights went out.
I’ve just finished reading Booker short listed novel, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng. It’s exquisitely lyrical prose, bitter-sweet and never loses sight of ambiguity. One key phrase is, ‘Tomorrow’s rain is already on the horizon.’ It is. But even with the rain pouring down, the power cut and the darkness deep, the chickens still have their lights.