We couldn’t see the moon


although we knew it was there, a couple of hours ahead of the sun.

(Click a thumbnail for the gallery)

The significant custard journey


I passed Winchester’s ancient gate (bit of a lump)

to make significant custard

and play cribbage.  Don’t think I’ve seen two players have identical hands in the same round before (though one of these got one-for-his-knob).

These simple pleasures were made possible by the NHS staff, who, with their usual aplomb, briskly excised the very nasty appendix of a nearestanddearest.  Bless them.  It’s hard to regret The Old Days, knowing that there was no NHS in them.

“Suddenly” we are GOING to *emphasise* and ‘use’ speech marks FOR no *apparent* reason as “if” we were randomly *shouting*


Hmm.  Seems you can’t use italics in a blog post title.  Please take them as read between * and *.

See?  They are even on the cover.

It’s a long time since I was so comprehensively annoyed by typography.  The excessive use of inverted commas sometimes makes it difficult to tell if they are random noise or indicate a genuine quotation.  And then there are the italicised words plopped without apparent purpose into every sentence.  And the capitals.  Add to this the authorial voice, at once matey and preachy….  all so distracting that I found it almost impossible to grasp the content.  Whatever happened to formal prose?  I wish he had had a strong-minded editor.

I developed a technique for following the argument, in the end.  This consisted of hopping briskly from one quotation to another, like stepping from tussock to tussock in a bog.  Luckily the quotations were numerous and often full, so I read a certain amount of Buber, Tracy, Arendt, Schillebeeckx, Derrida, and such, and the merest modicum of Veling.

The prose came alive once, though.  Veling gives an account of a time when he attempted to actually apply his practical theology in a tricky social situation.  “No miracle of peace occurred”, he notes sadly.  Yep.  Ain’t that the truth.

The march of the blue labels


They have reached W now.  Hurray!

In another vein, I found this little treasure.

I expect everyone else knows about Tan, but I didn’t.  Grandpa’s story had great charm, and Night of the turtle rescue was brief and bold (and tough).  But I think my favourite was Distant rain, about the reciprocal gravity of unread poems; close to my heart.



On a southern wall there’s a bit of equinoctial burgeoning going on; the only thing which could render mass-production brick and ageing concrete attractive.

Let’s not mention – well, yes, let’s mention the fact that on the other side of the house a harsh wind is mashing my favourite narcissi down flat.  I salvaged a few buds and brought them in to scent my work tonight.

Paper bagged


The day was conducted in several keys.  At midday the car wheels decided for themselves and took me off to one of the other beaches, parking neatly by the greasy spoon kiosk.  Accepting the admonition, I wandered, eating chips like hot salty treasures from paper, and trying not to drop the beaker of tea.

The tide was well in;

I missed the acres of pale treacherous sand, but the combination of lilac clouds and green sea was a winner.

This beach has many shells, unlike best beach.  They are mainly cockles, periwinkles, oysters, wedge shells, and slipper limpets.  Slipper limpets are a most ungraceful shell:  nothing to be said for them

until you suddenly see one in a new light.

The lilac clouds intensified.  Drivers were turning their headlights on at half past three.

It’s all relative


Not entirely sorry to say goodbye to my room this morning.

Plain living and high thinking

Perhaps I should warn any casual readers that Sarum College is emphatically not an hotel. The double rooms are modest, the singles are spartan, and the ‘standard’ rooms are tatty … don’t think I’ve ever seen a carpet as bad as this in public accommodation.  These rooms are awaiting renovation, and goodness they need it. But for those on a strict budget, the tatty rooms have to be the cheapest way of getting clean sheets, warmth, hot water and a large breakfast in the centre of Salisbury (and the better rooms are relatively inexpensive too).

The College itself is a very human institution, and you wake up and walk out past the massive chunk of oak which is the front door straight into that amazing Close.

Uniquely privileged

The houses of course are gracious and you wonder how anyone can afford to maintain and live in them (maybe they too have tatty rooms that the owners can’t afford to update).  But I suppose that my own undistinguished brick box would look palatial to many in this world.

For wall fanciers, here is one of the reasons I forgive the place for being so up itself – a little piece of random wall from the Close:

A stone

and another example.  Look carefully and the numbers will pop out.

A long, long, long time ago

Books and legs


Oh – and choirs and fudge.

Sitting between Salisbury cathedral choir on one side and a powerfully-singing companion on the other was a novel experience.  I squawked away happily under cover, as it were, only to have companion tell me later that he could hear every croak. Sigh.

Then legging it round the city so other companion could get her bearings. And tea. And a couple of happy hours in the Sarum College library. We had it to ourselves, spreading strange items out on tables, crawling about on the floor in the darker corners, reading out good bits to one another, and finding bizarre treasures in the bargain sale box.

My suitcase is going to be heavy tomorrow.

Photo update:  from the Chapter House.  I am usually so wowed by the ceiling I forget to take notice of the Genesis story.

So like being back in halls


… that I found myself cheerfully snitching mugs from an as-yet unoccupied room as we hadn’t been allocated enough. Last in would be mugless!

In damp March weather the river was full and fast and the cathedral pleasingly and literally green.  The day’s miscellany was interesting and the grub has been good, but now I am only too glad to curl up in a mangy armchair with the latest book. Wishing the walls were thicker though. It is not halls, whatever the appearance, and one can’t very well bellow SHUT UP through the partition at a total stranger.

Photos when I get home… I hate posting off my phone.