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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Pitfalls and distractions.

These last two days the weather has,mostly, hovered around ninety, dropping to the low eighties at night.In  other places and at other times it's certain it has been more testing.
I find this scant consolation.
I have poor circulation.I complain and the concerned or irritated touch my forehead or hand.The general response is "good lord".This is neither here nor there really.Its all relative and if you feel hot you feel (expletive) hot.

What to do then?
Well,not much judging by the quietude that's hit round here.Streets and roads are largely silent. To see a solitary figure somewhere in the distance feels like coming across a stranger in the desert.

It's as silent here as if we have been snowed in.

That's probably as well as it takes so much effort to stay civil in this weather.
The Saxophonist and I are convivial and kind with one another because,well,because we just are.Outside of that I seethe inside. The heat makes me critical,illogically so.
Its not dehydration as I'm drinking tea by the pint and what feels like water by the bucketful. No,its the long list of things you want to eat, wear and do which would be disappointing and / or miserable if you tried them now.Frustration, I suppose. I ridicule people in my head.Oh dear...

Last night I sat down with a pile of cookery books. The idea was to rough out  weeks worth of light and tempting food.Not too much involving the oven and perhaps a picnic or two.
What I actually did was leaf through the illustrations of about a book and a half in a dilatory fashion.I scribbled down a couple of lacklustre ideas and then has to stop.
Every thing seemed to be "warming,"hearty",rich,sickly or sometimes all four. I snapped the books shut before I felt any more bilious than I already did.

Distractions. Aah distractions:

I am reading some Jonathan Raban at the moment.Another of his watery volumes. He speaks of "smashing your own reflection".He means diving into that reflection.
I sat there quite sometime ,flinging myself from the side of the boat,savouring the shock of the cool water and soaking off the sweat in the waves.

Yesterday I got given a promotional balloon.A bit embarrassing  as it bobbed along beside me like an excitable puppy.Once in the car park I simply let go of its string.I thought it would just end up under somebody's car.Instead it went straight up.Caught a thermal and gained momentum.Up and up until it was a tiny yellow dot and then nothing.Gone higher than I could see.There was a release and a relief in that.Illogically,a clarity that felt cold.

I thought, today,what would I tell a child about managing this temporary time of sweat and thirst.I decided I'd tell it about angels.
About how,if its deep snow,you can lay down in an unblemished field or a car park.Lay flat on your back and scissor your arms up and down along the snow.
When you get up the image is left of a full skirted figure with wings.

Sunday, 10 July 2016


Sometimes crowds and queues make you listless.You ache for space and silence.Or at least I do.

So I looked at the map,turned what was in the fridge into an old fashioned picnic and we struck out into the landscape.

Where water is concerned a map can be ambiguous .Here is Blackwater estuary but what of the routes to the water?The little pathways and tracks that take you from countryside to where the masts show in the distance.
Oh lucky day.It was one of those where you turn the corner and there's a dagger of water in sight.Hurry to its hilt and a whole vista emerges.Lagoons,bobbing boats and a vast vista of shining water.

Water that breaks into shards in the sunlight.Shattered mirrors and broken diamonds.The smell of salt and seaweed is intoxicating.Lingering like a child that does not want Christmas to end.
Then a further thought.

There's a remote Saxon chapel built by St Cedd.The plague got him in 664 AD so its been there a while.

We park and start to walk.Its half a mile along a track loud with bird song.The wind is strong but warm.The air sweeps your body and seeps into your spirit for that whole half mile.
The chapel itself is swept by the continuous wind.Once inside you hear nothing but the wind.The only light is from windows very high up.There is space and silence.

I thought of people down the centuries sprinting in and slamming the huge wooden door against pelting rain or icy blasts.

Sanctuary,succour and consolation.It had been that way long before the first king of all England took the throne in 802 AD.

It is that now.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

It's hot.

Slick,sleek,black,oiled.Two young cormorants perch a pole a piece.Side by side.There is the air of leather jackets and I wonder if one will pull out a comb and slick back the thick oily plumage on his head.

An Egret floats across the lake like a table cloth on the wind.Listless in the heat.

My sweaty elbow slips off the shelf in the hide,the binoculars slip.And into view slides a lapwing.He picks his way along the edge of the lake.Halts to preen,halts to think,halts for halting's sake.Its hot.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Seaside Sunday.

At certain times of the year the tides and currents move and a causeway opens up .It goes far out into the sea.
You can walk out over purple and vivid green strands of seaweed a long,long way.So far you can see round into the next bay.
Boats and yachts are yards away.
You can stand next to a man with a huge hand net catching his tea.
Solitary walkers are lost in their own thoughts like me but as we pass we nod or smile.Its greeting and mutual appreciation for the place
I breath ozone and salt into both nose and mouth.It clears my head and fills me up like a good dinner.
The slap and jump of waves.The wind ebbs and flows.
Your hair is blown about and there's the clink of a few shells in your pocket.
I think you get it too.