Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Matter of Contrasts

On Monday, when we were moving offices, it was bitterly cold, but brightly, brilliantly sunny. Thank God. This meant we could move furniture out into the courtyard while we decided what to do with it.

On Tuesday morning I lay in bed and listened to the rain rattle the windows and batter on the skylights. That same rain, heard on the Monday morning, would have filled me with dread. But somehow, the move accomplished, curled warm, indolent and be-catted in a soft bed covered with a bought duvet, inherited bedspread and wedding gift quilt, that tappety-rappety sound was infinitely soothing.

There were only five minutes until I had to get up, but those five minutes encompassed the world.

I've spent some of the most calming, loving moments of my life listening to rain beating, if not on glass, then on canvas. In Cornwall, in Cumbria, in Essex and in Suffolk. Beaches, hillsides, woodlands and fields. In the old tent with the busted zip, done up for the night with ranks and rows of wooden clothes pegs, in the new frame tent you could stand up in, borrowing Dad's mountain tent, and inheriting his back packing one. So many variables, but one constant: Husband.

Our honeymoon was spent camping. Visiting castles and historic sites, shopping and eating out. Exploring Shropshire and each other, playing cricket in the sun, and Scrabble in the rain.

Now we have a new tent. We bought it cheap at the end of the season last year, and never had a chance to use it. It's light, easy, quick to pitch. It's a, "let's get away for a night," tent. It's an escape capsule.

And on Tuesday morning I lay in bed listening to the rain, and longed to take the new tent for a test drive.


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