Good morning dear reader and welcome to an overcast Sunday in North Yorkshire. I hope you are well and enjoying our mildly autumnal weather. The flowers in my garden are gradually dying back and I feel like the Red Queen in Alice In Wonderland, as I wield the secateurs and say 'off with their heads', but I hope I'm not as aggressive as that good lady.
Speaking of ladies, I must tell you about Elfina and Ruth, the extra two in our marriage! Elfina is our house elf. We have never seen Elfina, as she always operates in our absence but she certainly makes her presence felt. I think she parties with her friends when we are out and we come home to find an array of plates and glasses left about. Spouse is always wide-eyed when asked about them. 'I never left them there ...' 'Oh, was it Elfina again?' I ask. Spouse nods solemnly. 'That house elf, she's very naughty.' 'She might have to go,' says I. 'Oh no.' Spouse is most emphatic. 'We can't do without Elfina, she's a treasure.'
And she is a treasure, dear reader. Shirts get scorched on the ironing board, socks go missing in the wash, there's no tonic left to go with the gin - it's all Elfina's fault - she's been partying again! I know I have teased Spouse with thoughts of letting her go, but in truth, I could not do without Elfina. The times she has saved my bacon!! 'It's Elfina's fault,' I say, when I've burnt the dinner. 'She was supposed to watch it and she's skived off somewhere', or if his favourite sweater has been shrunk in the wash, 'Elfina did it. I told her to put it on a wool wash. She never listens.'
Spouse would be lost without Elfina too. When his den becomes too chaotic to the point when even he can't find things, Elfina's shortcomings are brought out into the light of day again. 'That house elf, I swear she does it on purpose,' he says. 'I had this room all tidy and organised and now look at it. I only went into town and she's wrecked the place. I'm going to have to sort it all out again now' he says nobly and sets to work. And when his mega-shed is upside down, 'Elfina's been partying with her mates again,' is the reason given.
In spite of all her quirky ways we would not be without Elfina. All accidents, mislaid items and catastrophes can be laid at her door. She gets the flack for eveything, so for me, she can party all she likes - just leave a little gin and tonic for us will you Elfina.
Adn then there is Ruth. Ruth is a very beautiful life-size French grey and white pot statue. She is named Ruth after Ruth in the Old Testament when she was gleaning corn in the fields and met Boaz. John Keats wrote about her in Ode To A Nightingale - 'she stood in tears among the alien corn.' Our French Ruth stands contemplatively among the alien laurels in an English garden, looking wistfully out from their lush green leaves. But - I am not too keen on leaving her outside to the mercies of the winter frosts and so I asked Spouse to bring her indoors at some point. I imagined we would park her in the garage for the season.
All I can say, dear reader, is that I appear to have a strong heart as it has had to withstand a severe shock this week. (Note to self - was that Spouse's intention?) Hopefully not, although I suspect the mischevious part of him was uppermost when he did what he did. Instead of parking Ruth out in the garage, he brought her into the house and positioned her in my writing den. As the nights are now drawing in, we have dawn to dusk lights plugged in around the house, so that we do not stumble around in the dark looking for a light switch. Spouse had positioned Ruth in front of one of these lights in my den, but didn't tell me. In the dark of the late evening, I walked into my den and there was Ruth, only I didn't know it was Ruth. In the dim light I saw the glowing grey ghost of a woman hovering in the corner of the room. I shrieked and almost passed out with shock. I turned tail and fled, gibbering, into the arms of Spouse. When he finally understood what I was wailing about, he rolled his eyes and roared with laughter. Taking me by the hand he led me back to my den. 'It's not a ghost, you numpty. When did you ever see a ghost in this house? It's Ruth!!' 'Ruth???' 'Yes, Ruth. You asked me to bring her in and I have. I think she looks great there and she can keep you company when you're writing this winter. Look at her lovely face. she's so serene.' 'Well I'm glad she's serene because I feel anything but serene right now,' I retorted.
Spouse swears black, white and blue that he did not deliberately light Ruth up in that ghostly way. He says he just forgot to tell me she was there. Mmm, I think my jury's out on that one. Well, dear reader, Ruth and I will journey through the winter together, with Elfina doing her worst in the rest of the house. We could be in for an interesting time. I hope you have a good week and that I survive any more shocks my week can throw at me. I see we are forecast some heavy rain later in the week. Let's hope it's not time to build an Ark just yet. My very best wishes to you and I'll see you next week.