Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Dies Atra

No pic today, although the sleeve in fact progresses well.

Today is the darkest in the calendar for me (despite St Andrew's cheering presence), because of a grim family event 45 years ago.

Two years ago, the anniversary picked up some extra baggage.

We were in Kirkmichael. Walking back from the village in the morning, I met a friend who told me that our nearest neighbour had cancer.

Relations with the neighbour's family had not always been easy. They were already there when we bought our house, Burnside, in 1963. There was -- is -- no access to Burnside except over land owned by the N. family. Well, I suppose we could buy a helicopter. In retrospect, the lawyer who acted for us on the purchase should have attended to the matter of access, but he didn't.

All went well for 20 years or so. Then the old generation of N's passed away and the new ones began objecting to our driveway. We were happy to make a new one, entirely at our expense, out of sight of their house. Even so, it had to cross a field of theirs.

It is hard to remember now how this situation could lead to years of expensive bickering, but it did. Finally we got our new driveway.

Then a couple of years after that, our water supply failed. In order to connect to the village water, a pipe had to be laid across that same field. Our contractor dug a trench along the line of our old water pipe. The N's were furious -- the trench should have followed the line of our new driveway. They kept us without water for a year while we bickered some more.

But I had always liked I., the woman who now had cancer. I think she was sorry about what had happened, which was the fault of her brother (driveway) and her husband (water). So I resolved to knit her a chemo cap.

That afternoon I slipped in the dank grass, fell and broke my right arm rather badly just below the shoulder. An uncomfortable winter ensued. I was able to knit again in time to knit I. her chemo cap in February or March. She liked it. She died in June.

We hoped her husband would move away -- hey! we might even be able to buy that blasted field. But he's still there, and indeed we are going to a little drinks party this coming Sunday up there, hosted by G. and his new bidey-in. Should be interesting.

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