Since golden October has declined into sombre November (I’m quoting TS Eliot), it seems the perfect time to start reading ghost stories. One I’ve always wanted to read is Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black. And so I will. There’s nothing better to read on a dark chilly November night than a good ghost story, a cup of hot decaf Earl Grey steaming, the rain drizzling at the window.
I also love walking at dusk in November, as the darkness swells up, protuberant and dizzy. I live in a wood by the sea and there are no outside lights and no sounds except for the slosh of the ocean and sometimes an owl or a dog barking or if I’m lucking a fox yelps. And it’s fun to head for home after doing a short walk and see the lights in my window, one of my two cats stretching, or the head of my daughter as she dances around. It’s exciting to look into a lit world from a dark one and imagine yourself in the warmth and comfort, arriving like a stranger.
And the best part, just before I step inside, is seeing an erratic bat unfurl out of the sky with its wind-up, mad, clattering flight and dissolve in a heartbeat into the rising moon.
Then I know it’s time to go in and read a scary tale.