The Wrong Trousers

27 Dec

As the sun was setting on Christmas Day, Bunty and I took the long drive through the hills to his mother’s cottage. It is always a beautiful journey, and this was no exception. The twilight allowed us to still see the darkening mountains and forests, but enhanced the fairy lights on the eaves and trees of houses that we passed.

There was no snow, but it had been raining solidly, and what had once been fields were now lochs. A stream had broken free of its bank and plunged across the long winding lane that was the last leg of our journey, and we forded it with difficulty. A deer watched us from the woods, its eyes glowing in the headlights.

The cottage windows were all lit up, a beacon in the wilderness. We could hear Pipkin the haggis hound barking her welcome as we got out of the car. The combination of smooth grass over a sheet of rainwater had created a skating rink effect, and as I slammed my door shut I careened forward across the lawn then fell backward into a pool. My lovely Christmas clothes were drenched.

I had to peel off several layers, and hang them up to dry. Bunty’s mother handed me an old pair of tracksuit bottoms to cover my legs, and sat us by the fire with mince pies and hot mugs of tea. Pipkin and her cat Mewla immediately cosied up to me, because they know I am a soft touch. Pipkin is normally as terrified of the fire as she is of sheep, but she overcame it for the sake of my company; this flattered me.

Flambeau is not scared of the fire at all. He spent the evening sprawled in front of it.

He made sure the flames heated him evenly all over, holding his various poses for five or six minutes at a time.

Mewla was not so tolerant of the heat, and after a while she retired to her favourite shelf to cool down.

After the exchanging of gifts, the pulling of crackers and wearing of paper crowns over a roast dinner, and drinks, and warm conversation with Bunty’s mother and brother, my Christmas clothes were dry. But not before all of the photos of me had been taken, in the wrong trousers.

10 Responses to “The Wrong Trousers”

  1. Maria December 27, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    It is always a joy to read your pieces – thank you so much for bringing us into your life like this!
    Love / M

    • Snailquake December 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

      Thanks, Maria. I’m pleased you enjoy the read. :-)

  2. Murfomurf December 27, 2011 at 10:51 am #

    That sounded like a great Christmas (except for the trouser incident)! I was of course entranced by the kitties: are they an Abyssinian and a red Burmese? They’re gorgeous! We had two Christmas feasts- one was on Christmas Eve about 1km West and the other Boxing Day 1km East! One dinner had about 8 courses, including traditional glazed ham, Aussie barbecued prawn skewers and plenty of roasted beef fillet followed by a cherry Pavlova Roll for dessert. The other had my contribution of Dukkah & sourdough bread, then grilled prawns, quails with wild mini-figs and a dessert of Champagne jelly filled with berries, homemade strawberry icecream with almond bread.
    I hope you didn’t suffer any after effects from the fall!

    • Snailquake December 27, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

      The cats are mixed-race siblings. Bunty and I were just now trying to remember what breeds they come from – there’s at least one very posh expensive one, thanks to a liaison with a neighbour’s cats. Abyssinian and Burmese do ring bells, so you may be right.

      That’s quite a feast you had there! Are barbecued prawns traditional Christmas fare in Oz?

      The ground was very soft, and I didn’t suffer.

  3. Elaine Morgan December 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    Lovely story,lovely pics. I hope you didn’t catch cold!


    • Snailquake December 27, 2011 at 6:56 pm #

      I have been very lucky with colds this year (touch wood). I didn’t even catch Freshers’ Flu.

      I’m glad you liked the story and photos.

  4. Jigme Datse Yli-Rasku December 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Curious about the mince pies. We have a thing called mince tarts, which are little tarts with what we call mince meat filling. We do them without tops, but some people put tops on them. The mince meat has at most some suet in it, but I think these are vegan. Something similar?

    • Snailquake December 28, 2011 at 1:06 am #

      I think they are the same sort of thing, but with lids. There’s a plate of them in the foreground of the first picture. The mince is a mixture of preserved fruits and spices, and is often made with suet.

  5. Bella Remy Photography January 20, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    This is just brilliant ! Don’t you just love cats. Of course, I’m wondering how the cat got up on the high mantle on his own. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and hope to see more of you!
    Bella Remy / Hoof beats and Foot prints

    • Snailquake January 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      She’s one of those hovercats, obviously. She levitated up there.

      Thanks for coming by – I enjoyed browsing your blog very much.

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