Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Setting out

Each morning I follow the same routine; as I leave the house, I pull the front door shut behind me, turn left and look down the street. The terraced cottages form a guard of honour as the road makes its way slightly downhill  towards the river. Beyond that, the view opens up across the fields to the other side of the valley. From this distance I can't see the llamas grazing, but as I look up I can see the lights glowing from the solitary house on the hill. I'm intrigued by the round  turret like wing at one end and always think it could be the setting for an Agatha Christie murder mystery, a deadly dinner party with Hercule Poirot as guest of honour; 'Villainy at the Vineyard' perhaps, or 'The Shocking Shoreham Shooting'?

I have a long commute to work, so it's still dark when I leave. There's no-one else around at this time, but as I look along the road I can picture the other Crown Road residents waking up and preparing for the day ahead. I know the house where the toddler will already be awake, chattering away to her Dad before he sets off for work in Tunbridge Wells. I can imagine the scene where our champion of the allotments will be slowly stretching, bringing the life back into his aching shoulders. I can almost see each of the dogs and cats bending down to their individual breakfast bowls.

Then I turn to walk up the road towards the car. Parking is never easy in this small narrow street, so it's usually a bit of a way from the house. I never mind that though; this is sometimes my only chance of the day to feel like I'm really part of the village. At the top of the street is the hill leading up to the woods on our side of the valley. This is the slope where so many people rushed to test out their tobogganing skills when the snow fell heavily in December, I can still almost hear the excited shrieks of delight and fear. Sometimes the field is empty, at other times there are sheep or cows grazing there. I remember the reaction of my son when he first saw them clinging to the steep incline "why don't they roll down?"

As I walk up the road I continue to imagine the scenes behind each front door. The young couple a few doors up are expecting their first baby. It was due earlier this week and I wonder if anything happened in the night. But there's no way of knowing; everything looks peaceful and it's far too early to knock and find out. As I reach the top of the road, the first car reverses past me on its way to the station. The driver smiles and waves through his rapidly de-misting windscreen.

Just a few minutes later I reach my car, but in that short time the darkness has lifted a little and the sky is a lighter grey. I know that each morning for the next few weeks this will happen slightly earlier until the day when I walk out for the first time this year to the bright morning light of Shoreham. On that day I'll walk even more slowly to my car.

25 comments:

light208 said...

Shoreham sounds lovely. I hope you get the chance to make the most of it during the summer. You seem to have such a sense of community there.

caterpillar said...

To develop a story from the day to day happenings is an amazing talent...and you have been blessed with it in abundance....a very charming post...

BarkyMag said...

Sounds like a lovely place to live. That early morning time can be precious, just you before the world wakes up.

Rohini Prasanth said...

I am a sucker for descriptive writing. I love how you have penned your thoughts about what would otherwise seem a routine. It was so good, that now I want to walk that walk down to your car atleast once! thanks for the magic.

Robbie Grey said...

A lovely description. There is something magical about that early, even if one does not always care to be awake for it.

Sandy said...

Wow, your description was amazing. I felt like I was walking through your neighborhood with you. I just started taking another writing class (I'm an addict) and this one is called "A Writers Guide to Descriptive Writing." My first assignment is to walk around my neighborhood and describe, not show. But, its raining and too cold and your in a much prettier place, waahhhh....

legend in his own lunchtime said...

I love the way you can spin a story from such everyday occurrences, and do it with such skill.
When I lived in France, I used to have a rooftop garret, and my favorite time in the evening was to sit by the window and gaze out over the pan tile roofs and imagine the goings on beneath their thin shell

jerrod said...

Amazing descriptions... It of course makes me jealous of your surroundings.

Those green fields.. beautiful.

Bth said...

Walking to work as it's getting brighter, is one of my favourite times of day. It's a familiar route, peaceful, and a time to think.
I loved the way took us with you on your route and let us into your thoughts - you have such a talent for painting the pictures around you. Lovely post!

otherworldlyone said...

Gorgeous, Sharon. The writing and your home. Just gorgeous.

Liz said...

We live in a little corner of heaven too. Somehow, leaving for work each day isn't so bad knowing at the end of the day, there's home.

Happy Frog and I said...

Beautiful writing, makes me feel like I am right there with you.

Starlight said...

Amazing description, as always. Your routine sounds so lovely that I wish that I would wake up early in the morning and watch the sunrise; but I'm not a morning person and when I actually have to get up early in the morning I'm to cranky to admire the sleepy town. That's why I enjoyed reading this post even more.

Olga said...

How lovely to live in such a beautiful place! Also it must be wonderful to describe all that you want so easily.
You mentioned one name which is sacred for my Russian heart - Agatha Christie :)

Seré said...

I love waking when it's still dark. It's my favorite time of day, and you've captured the magic of it here. I've never been to Shoreham, but it almost feels like I have, thanks to you and the care you take in getting the right words down.

CAS said...

Lovely words about your daily routine. I could picture you doing this and enjoying your day before it started in earnest. The only thing that worried me was the dogs and cats "beinding down" to eat. It did not feel quite right to me. Does M bend to eat? Expect he can tell you.

One Girl's Story said...

You are very descriptive. It was almost as if I could see the village. You definatley made me WANT to see it.

Your writing is so eloquent, it has this effortless feel about it that I do not see in a lot of other bloggers, and certainly do not possess myself. It may be the subject matter that I am writing about. It is very intense,and I am writing to sort of purge all of the ugliness...

I hope one day, when I have cleansed away all of my demons that I can try a different style of writing, something like yours, or maybe some fiction. Somethting that makes people smile like your work does.

Thank you, I really enjoyed this

Jane said...

So simple, elegant and lovely.
Your words conjured the houses and their occupants waking to another day. It's great when you love a place that even the walk to your car can inspire so much.

Sharon Longworth said...

Light208 - thank you, it is lovely! Philip always calls it 'the best place' and he's right.

Caterpillar - you are too kind, but I'm very glad you liked this.

BarkyMag - there is something very nice about being up and out while nobody else is around, I just wish I wasn't on my way to work and could stick around to enjoy it a bit more.

Rohini - hello and welcome! Thank you for such a smashing comment. (And I can't believe that you went all the way back to my first ever post and left a comment there as well - that is so great)

Sharon Longworth said...

Robbie - I love the early morning, and don't mind being awake then. Mind you, I'm rubbish at the other end of the day.

Sandy - thank you for your comment and good luck with your writing class, hope you really enjoy it - and it would be nice to read some of your descriptive outputs in due course.

Legend - how simply brilliant it must have been to live in a rooftop garret in France. Never having lived more than thirty miles from where I was born, I am now deeply envious.

Jerrod - thank you. Despite my comment to Legend above, I do know how lucky I am to live here and wouldn't swap it for anything.

Sharon Longworth said...

Bth - it would be great to have a slightly longer walk in the morning - it's not quite the same once I'm in the car and stuck on a motorway...!

OWO - thank you :)

Liz - and yours is also a corner of the world I'd love to see - it always sounds like heaven from the descriptions on your blog.

HappyFrog - thank you, that's a lovely thing to say.

Sharon Longworth said...

Starlight - I know what that's like - my other half isn't a morning person either - he can barely put two words together before I leave. I'm glad you enjoyed the psot, thank you for your comment.

Olga - it is beautiful and I know I'm very lucky. I also have a big soft spot for an Agatha Christie story.

Sere - thank you - it's really great to think I might achieve that with my writing and very kind of you to say so.

Sharon Longworth said...

Cath - your comment did make me laugh. As you well know, Martin is far too fat to bend down, but he does lower his head to eat, and I guess that was what I was thinking of.

One Girl's Story - thank you for saying such supportive things about my writing. I've been really moved by yours - which has a naturalness and heartbreaking honesty to it. I hope one day soon that you will clear away all those demons.

Jane - thank you. I'll probably never tire of saying it - it is quite simply a lovely place.

Barbara L said...

Excellent post, lovely photo.

Maryx said...

How beautifully you described it... Thank you. I live in South Africa by the way. And your words have the ability to take me all the way to your world =)