Fans of ‘Withnail and I’ will recognise the above quote instantly as a seminal moment in the film. On arriving at a cold, damp and dark cottage in stormy Cumbria (which would have been Northumberland when the film was set) Marwood dispatches Withnail to research the fuel and wood situation. Two minutes later Withnail stomps in bearing a damp twig.
‘What’s that?’ demands Marwood.
‘The fuel and wood situation,’ announces Withnail grumpily.
I am happy to announce that the fuel and wood situation here in Grosmont is much better, consisting of a shed full of logs plus boards waiting to be chopped up by the reciprocating saw. I’m not sure why it is so-called – maybe it’s because if you cut it, it cuts you, being a slightly less lethal version of a chainsaw which can take your arm off should you push it too far. Anyway, there it sits and if I should run out of tongue-and-groove floorboards I can wield it to cut some more to size.
So now that my guru has departed I have, like the early Christians, been left with a Bible in which are various epistles concerning the Aga, the dogs and what to do in case of a power cut. So far I’ve managed not to kill the dogs by leaving the gas on, which is an advantage. I’ve not had a minute to be lonely either. Following sister’s departure airportwards, I had a Facebook friend come to visit, walked the dogs, had a phone call from a friend of sister’s to check I was coping all right and about two minutes after that my nephew and his girlfriend came in. They are newly arrived back from Australia and are staying the weekend to celebrate his birthday.
So the first time I shall be alone will be Monday. At the moment I have so many things lined up to do I shan’t have time for them all in the few short weeks I am here.