Truly The Substance of Contentment by David Seagrave
Devereux was a self reliant bachelor who had retired from his position with Durcaster Borough Council. He lived in a charming period cottage with a huge garden built long before Miriamsfield was swallowed up in Greater Durcaster. He awoke to Phantom Limb Pain and recalled that it was the 40th anniversary of an accident when as a young man he had set off from Durcaster to Swineherdsford on a frosty February night and been hit bya drunken motorist. He had a hot bath and the pain abated He had to see about his broken kitchen window which faced the local primary school
In his boyhood those ring pull cans had yet to be invented Boys high on Atombombade had hurled full cans of it at his window and smashed it He rang successive glaziers Someone would call at two With the kitchen light full on he did his best to clear up the mess Two o clock passed He would scorch the glazier Off he set to find absolutely nobody in the glaziers premises in the old railway goods yard .
Now he is livid, as he watches a Miriamsfield bus slip past He has an hour to wait. He sees a green finger post with a sign “Miriamsfield , 3.5 Kms “ which he had never spotted though he has lived in Durcaster for most of his life. He follows a wide former railway trackbed which leaves Durcaster for beckoning open fields. The rain which assailed him has abated as he strides through a cutting where shy primroses peep beside outcrops of sandstone where whin is in bloom He leaves it behind to find himself high above a broad valley dotted with farms. Low cloud still clings to distant hills as from time to time odd spots of rain fall on Devereux’s balding temples. The wind brings aromas of Britain awakening from winter in this February of 2012 On he strides noting observing a pile of rusting farm implements. Ferns grow in crumbling walls A stream chatters over miniature rapids.
The freshening breeze makes him feel forty years younger as he strides on, absorbing the totality of his surroundings and grateful to live in Durcaster where from its hilltop high street he can see the open fields This experience ,of melting into the countryside ,he would declare,to his friends that evening is truly the substance of contentment.
David Seagrave 15.30 Glasgow to St Andrews 21-2-2012 Amended 16-12-2013