An unseen guest and worries about snow…

THE man I’ve never met is asleep upstairs and I am sitting here worrying about snow.

He arrived yesterday before anyone was home. After a spot of phone messaging, he got the spare key from our neighbour – thanks, A – and let himself in, then shot off to watch the snooker. He returned after we were asleep; now he is asleep, or so I am guessing, and I am awake (sort of).

This sometimes happens with guests who arrive late. If this visitor has a lie-in, we might not meet at all, as I am off to work in an hour or so. Incidentally, the guests still come and go, not talking of Michelangelo. Well, I was going on about old poetry books the other day, and a scrap of TS Eliot just flapped into my mind there.

Last weekend’s visitor was a lovely young man from India, now living in Birmingham. We chatted about food over breakfast. I showed him a favourite recipe for spinach, coconut and lentil dhal.

He read the recipe, nodding approvingly. “That’s a good recipe,” he said. “It’s from southern India and you can tell that because of the coconut.”

Not so much southern India as from a book by the ever-reliable Simon Hopkinson. Other pages remain pristine, but that one has spills and spatters. I guess Simon must have got the recipe from southern India; now we make it on the outer western fringes of York.

Snow is forecast for tomorrow – “Coldest weekend of the year…” says the Daily Express, which keeps a weather eye on the seasons, telling us it will be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Where would we be without such useful advice?

In the old days snow didn’t much bother me. Sometimes I had to push my bike home; sometimes I booted up and walked. Thanks to having to drive now, more notice is taken of snow. First thing Monday, I will be on the road to Horsforth in Leeds. If the forecast is right, snow will be lying on the ground.

My usual route is devious and ends with a swoop down a steep valley that, oddly, then winds into a suburban road close to the university. That way will be out, so it will have to be the A64 and then all those horrible roundabouts on the ring-road – otherwise known as the Leeds traffic jam, a study in lack of momentum.

On good days you get nowhere fast on that road; heaven knows what it will be like in snow.

Life was easier before I shuffled onto this ledge all that time ago. But life is what it is; living on a ledge is what it is. The life I once led is disintegrating a bit more now for those who are still there.

Other than imminent snow, this morning’s papers are Brexit-blasted, a swirling storm of words adding up to not a lot. “Huge Brexit boost as last,” says the non-snowy part of the Express. “The price of freedom,” says the Telegraph – pompous and nonsensical in four words. “Rejoice! We’re on our way,” says the Mail.

Never has one tiny step forward been celebrated with so much pomp and wordy ceremony.

Well, I’ll be on my way soon. And I’ve still not heard a sound from our guest.

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