Inspiration is everywhere on Exmoor. And yet, and yet, I find I cannot put pen to paper, finger to keyboard, brain to mouth. A hundred blog posts started. None finished. It is a lonely business, living in the countryside. Beautiful but lonely. I talk less. A million less words a week. Endless evenings of drinking and talking and laughing. Now, the only people I talk to ‘in person’ from Monday evening to Thursday evening are my colleagues and my clients. I am that lonely lady who talks to the checkout attendant. Even the teenage boys who have long greasy fringes and blink through long lashes.
I drive home, west along the coast road, although the sea is hidden until I reach my village. You can see the change every single day here. Now, at the end of August, the hay has all been brought in, the sheep are back and the shadows are longer. The swallows have left, the sunsets are deeper, less orange and pink than early summer. The seasons are definitely changing. The light is more golden, more grainy, the moon clearer, the trees silhouetted against the evening sky. The nights are starting to draw in.
I burst a tyre. Heading back to our village after dropping husband at the station for him to return to London, skirting round the moor and then suddenly. The strangest noise. I’m such a girl; I thought it was engine failure but knew I couldn’t stop at the top of a hill on a blind corner. I coasted to the bottom and pulled over, shaking. I turned off the engine. The noise stopped. Funny, that. My mind went blank. It’s amazing how quiet it is out in the middle of nowhere at twilight. About as quiet as my brain.
Thankfully, in all of the places to break down I at least had mobile signal. I fumbled with the phone, all thoughts of how it worked out of mind and I struggled to make a call. Husband’s phone was off as no signal; parents in a boat somewhere in the channel. Faux-Bro didn’t answer. Thankfully, my father-in-law did.
By that point I’d got out of the car, frightened it was engine failure and the car might explode. Something smelt bad too. By the time father-in-law answered I’d realised it was just a flat tyre. My panicked self told him I’d last been taught to change a tyre by my father when I was a girl guide, aged 13. I didn’t think I could manage it in the gathering dust on the side of a road. Thank goodness for mother-in-law’s who buy their sons roadside cover for Easter presents. And thank goodness for Minehead MOT who were with me within 15 minutes of my call for help.
A charming young lad changed the wheel and informed me it wasn’t just punctured it had burst. He seemed surprised I’d kept control of the car. I was more worried that I hadn’t noticed a bang. He took the old wheel away and I arranged to give him £150 in the morning for a new set of front tyres.