Friday, 26 February 2021

You can keep your hat on .


Two beings have seen me through the worst of these times . A young barn owl that fluttered in the gloom and a magnificent stag that stared me out . Their beauty and sheer indifference to the virus helped . 

Those days of gun metal skies and numbing cold. In that persisting gloomy light and ice all you could make out was hope running into the distance with his arse on fire .

The wild things helped - that and any song or piece of music that could make me cry . It was like blood letting .

Today was different.

 The alert level has been taken down by the medics . The demise of the virus has been more speedy and significant than they expected .

Under a very blue sky I have seen snowdrops , primroses , catkins and pussy willow . 

I have had enough of augury and omens , none of them good .

 Instead I look at small green buds and I have to tell you that this years are particularly fine . 

Note to self .

Buy lamb for Easter feasting .

Put date in diary to purchase frilly knickers and a new straw hat .

Plan to wear the two for breakfast and then leave one on .

Further note to self .

Buy hat pin .

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

A call to action ?


One of our regular routes takes us past an unassuming semi with a driveway . The driveway has pots of all shapes and sizes with a surprising array of plants in them . A leisurely browse will generally yield several gems . 

The owner is short and well rounded with her hair in a white bun . She is strangely elusive . She will exchange a few remarks with you and when you turn round to reply she has vanished . Scuttled away like a hedgehog . More than once I have not seen her go towards the road or behind a bush and certainly she has not passed me for her side gate or her front door . She has simply , inexplicably disappeared . 

Today we stopped in the wet and dark and I walked gingerly through the pots to the front door . 

I rang the bell prepared to have made a gesture and left . 

After a minute or two the front door opened a crack and two piercing pale blue eyes appeared . The eyes were an unusually pale blue ( mine are bright blue but not as piercing or that shade of ice blue ).

I explained I had bought various plants across the year and paid through the letterbox . I said that I wanted her to know that my garden was flourishing because of her . I wished her a happy Christmas and held out a rather nice jar of jam .

The door opened on a lit hall and she stepped forward . 

"Do you have rosemary " she said . I said I didn't ( which was not true as I have planted a whole hedge from rosemary and lavender cuttings )

She looked at me very intently and I felt she could see everything I had ever done .

"Wait here " she said shortly and scuttled away . I waited . She scurried back .

" I did not grow this rosemary tree  " she said . "my friend did , she planted it with love and tended it until it grew into a tree , with  love ". 

"She gave me five of these and told me to give them to the right people ". " I cannot charge you for this because it has love in it - do you understand me ? "

I said that I did and took the tree from her . We regarded one another squarely . 

This was not at all what I had intended or expected to happen . She stepped back , I thanked her and turned . The door shut .

I said to the saxophonist " do I look needy ? " He said i was probably one of the least needy people he knew . 

I will never know who the other four " right " people are and I am still thinking through something which feels like much more than a sum of its parts .

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Agreed ?


I have gathered sea holly from the wilder parts of the estuary . Just enough to mix with the traditional holly from the garden . The sea holly is blue grey and has no berries . The garden holly has lots of red berries . The two sit oddly well together . 

The sea holly has sharper points and they come off invisibly . I climbed shoe - less on furniture to put the two hollies over picture frames . I need not , I am sure , go into detail of what ensued . 

The butcher in the village nearby does the very best herb sausage meat to compliment a bird . The ride home goes into the wilds and just after the goose farm four firs sit on a bank . 

A cry went up "back up ! " , "back up !".

The thick branch I choose was , the saxophonist said  , too  thick to come off clean . I looked disappointed and it came off clean .

I went to the recycling centre for a new tea pot and some paperbacks .There , amongst the bric a brac was a gold and opaque glass sphere . Flat bottomed and open necked . 

They never slaughter the geese at the goose farm. They are a constant feature  of the landscape ,  year round  .

I am writing this by the " tree " in the sphere nursing " sea holly feet " . A pile of paperbacks sit enticingly nearby and a large brown tea pot sits on the draining board . 

Life can be water and dry bread . Or it can be a mug of good strong tea and thickly buttered crunchy toast .I believe you can choose and probably a lot more than you suppose .

The geese have no reason to disagree .

Friday, 11 September 2020

Comment verification nonsense !


Blogger had put on comment verification I gather . Assume this is standard on " new blogger ".

I have taken it off .

Gammon and Larkin .


Larkin , in his poem " An Arundel tomb " makes the point that

" They would not guess how early in
Their supine stationary voyage
The air would turn to soundless damage ,
How soon succeeding eyes begin
to look not read . "

When the monuments went up ,  the person it commemorates and the person who paid for it were known to the viewer .
Now , we don't read it like that , we concentrate more often on the skill of the maker , the boggling amount of children on the plinth or the beauty of it and what it unexpectedly reveals says Larkin , or something like it .

These lovely things can be a record , a form of respect , vanity , resultant of a promise kept .
A rewriting of the history of a man who was less than he might have been in some areas of his life .
A humorous or political point made and now lost or partially obscure now .

The monument to Sir Anthony Rowley sits in a church I sometimes visit in Suffolk . The poem " a frog he would a wooing go "is about him . 

"A frog he would a wooing go
Hey ho says rowley
Whether his mother would like it or no
With a rowley , powley , gammon and spinach
hey ho says anthony rowley .

There are local families called Rowley , Powley , Gammon and ( unusual ) Spinach .

On Sir Anthony's statue he wears an earring . It is of a frog .

The full significance of the poem and the frog earring are not known .

The Larkin poem is ( of course ) very good  - if you don't know it , have a look .

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Serenity .


As the light fades the sky is overcast with peach and dark blue clouds . Here and there the sunlight and sky blue of the day show through . On the dull blue water sea gulls sit swaying on the tide . 

When the sunlight breaks through it rests on the white backs of the gulls . It makes them golden and lit up .

In the fading light they look like so many fireflies . 

Monday, 10 August 2020

The way the sun sits .


The way the sun sits this evening gilds the birds . There are silver seagulls on the wing . Their gleam will only be extinguished by the night . 

Meanwhile I wait for Friday when , they say , the heat will abate . 

Till then I languish . A melting ice lolly . languorous . lazy . Letting the book on my lap fall shut . 

By the end of the week I should be able to watch the rain wash the dust from the blackberries and elderberries . For now though the preserving pan and my attendant plans can wait . 

There is silence and a slight breeze to keep me occupied .