Out he marched.
Out of the stuffy house and
Away out into his garden.
Off he went with his belly full.
Off with a lightness of step.
It was a good feeling to take into the new day.
Now Dan was no spring chicken.
Well to tell the truth, he was closer to ninety than eighty.
But a wee bit of a creak in the joints would surely only be improved with a jaunt out into the fresh air.
Out into his beloved veggie patch.
And there he would stand, arms crossed over his chest and lovingly survey his domain
with the pride of a king,
a ruler of nations.
O.k....that might be a bit over the top that last thought.
But nevertheless his pride in his garden abounded.
Mags, in the home, was a great cook.
There were no two ways about it.
She could take a few wee ingredients, throw them in a pot, add a spot of water and a smidgen of a stock cube and produce a soup to knock your socks off!
And when it came to breakfasts, well there was noone, not man nor beast could beat her breakfasts.
So on this morning she had truly excelled herself.... and Dan's expectations... and had presented him with the breakfast to beat all breakfasts.
Here's a taste of what lay glistening on his plate.
Two slices of best back bacon, crisped on the edges where a spot of fat lingered smelling of heaven.
Two fried eggs winking at him from eggy paradise with whites firm and yolks soft and runny enough to dip a toasty soldier in and bring it up to his mouth with the delicious chance that a golden drop might roll gently down his chin ...to be savoured at a later time.
A plump red tomato, halved and left sizzling in the pan 'til the edges browned with the crustiness left in the bottom of the frying pan from the cooked bacon.
And succulent sliced mushrooms sauted in butter and placed gleaming on the side of the plate.
But....creme de la creme, there on his plate a fat slice of his favourite black pudding, peppery and salted.
That was surely to replace the iron in his system.....just call me "Ironman", he thought.
So with a belly content with a full Irish breakfast and a pot of strong tea heavily laced with a spoonful...make that two or three spoonfuls...of sugar....
Out he marched.
Out into the sharpness of the January air.
Frost had left the grass with a grey green hue.
It reminded him of the colour of the classroom walls in the old school where he had been caretaker for fifty years.
It made him stop and consider how lucky he had been in life.
Well ...except for the times the school toilets had blocked, or that time the lab had been set on fire by the mad scientist of a teacher or....
Ah, that's what he would do this fine morning.
He would take all the dead wood and the autumn gatherings of dried bean stalks, dead asparagus grass and the sweetcorn stooks and have a fire.
A really big, glorious, joyous bonfire.
He would take two of the old wooden garden chairs and set them together upwind away from the smoke.
He would pop back down to the kitchen and bring Mags up and together they would sit and watch the sparks make their way up into the grey January sky.
He gathered the thinnings of autumn..
Stuffed paper into the empty spaces, laid the wood in a pattern as he had learnt as a boy from his dad, and who had in turn learnt from his dad.
So history progresses.
So skills are passed on.
So he took his lighter, the redundant lighter since he had given up smoking, and lit the paper.
Watched with anticipation as the dried vegetation caught fire and listened as it talked to him of times gone by, as it crackled and popped .
Mags looked out of
the kitchen window and sighed.
Another bloody bonfire!
So no washing hanging on the line again today!