Kettle on, I began my chores while the water heated. I don’t mind winter’s darkness being punctual, but arriving too early is plain inconsiderate.
Before long, my cracked fingers smelled of orange peel and smoke from the wood-fire I built, with kindling so fine and fair it swelled my hands to cut it. My tea, too, was smoked – black tea once carried with great difficulty across Mongolia, Siberia.
Still in my work clothing, I stood looking out through glass and viscous gloom, as the cat relieved himself. He inspected his production before covering it with snow, and bounded back to the door, rabbit-like.
I retreated to the lamp-lit heart of the arthritic house to get out of my boots, praise the luxury of soap and hot water, and begin cooking.