We’ve had some good, hard frosts here in Dorset. Mr S is an early riser, and has persuade me to get up and walk with him across the fields in the ice and frost before breakfast. I love crunching through the frozen grass in my wellies, it triggers some childlike glee. We’ve been preparing for winter all around: a ton of logs were delivered from the woods on Bulbarrow and we then stacked them around the stove and in the woodshed. The winterhouse is so cosy with its shiny new radiator, and I feel a little guilty, sitting inside warm in my fingerless mittens and listening to the radio, whilst I watch Jeffrey pheasant strut around outside in the cold.
My parents have recently replaced their laptops (in white so as to match the fridge) and have complained that my blog was not on their new computers, so they’ve not been able to follow my progress on Fred. My father in particular is worried that the ending will not be happy enough. He is addicted to happy endings; he likes his stories, whether movies or tv shows or books or dinner party anecdotes, to end with an avalanche of happy endings. The hero must always get the heroine and there must be a happy-ever-after on a triumphant scale. For a while he was concerned about even reading Mr R, just in case there was a sneaky miserable ending.
In the pub last night, he suggested that if there is any ambiguity over the ending in Fred, that I write an alternate version just for him, where everyone lives happily-ever-after, surrounded by plump grandchildren, golden retrievers, chocolate cake and goes off sailing every Saturday in perfect weather with beer and a picnic. My father is a huge fan of Jane Austen. Though interestingly, his favourite is Persuasion which, I would suggest, has one of the least happy endings in all of Austen. But don’t tell my father – or he’ll never be able to read about the adventures of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth ever again.