Monthly Archives: March 2016



The localest local:

1 localThe cliffs show their best colours on the first sunny day after rough scouring.

2 scrubbedA boulder offered a superlatively tailored bottom-shaped recess to sit in (though rather damp) while I admired the delicate cross-bedding revealed in another.

3 cross beddingBeyond, the sea, placid now, though still heavy with the clay ripped up by the recent storms.  Every now and then a parcel of more energetic water elevated itself into long parallel corrugations,  subtly striped, purple-tan on each wave face and shining blue in the troughs.  They splashed and frothed with a pretence of fierceness, then gave way to the sighing indolent wavelets behind.

4 elevate 5 splashHome, with token bits of driftwood.

6 many eyed

Coming over


Isn’t it lucky that phones and computers know when BST begins?  I minded some very small retail premises and watched the showers go hammering by, and for each one the roof squeaked and boomed and strained to get away.

1 coming overReturning home, I found some Easter cheerfulness had arrived

2 cheerand while the next fifteen rumpuses of hail and howling passed by I played with clay:  a new handbuilding body acquired by accident, with whose properties I’m unfamiliar, but certainly quite unlike my usual smooth throwing clays.  I fear that most of the experiments so far will be going straight back into the recycling bucket.

3 handbuilding

Too many worlds,


1 lifeand too powerfully written to be ingested in one go, which, nevertheless, I did, emerging, gasping slightly, from one short story only to plunge into the violently contrasting next. This pastel cover should not be believed; the short story form has often tended to the disturbing, and these are no exception.  One of my favourites on first reading: A weight problem by Elspeth Davie, concerning a thin man, an aeroplane, and a short shopping expedition. Life is part of a three-volume collection.  I’ll try to take Love and Loss in smaller chunks.

2 geologyThe literary loopiness consequent upon narrative greed obviously required mitigation, and after some thought I settled upon Earth Story, as geology, though as exciting as anything in Life, is usually conducted at a steadier pace.  This series has the usual vices of popular science, and is now out-of-date, but the pictures are pretty.  There are also some entertaining scientists.  My favourite is the one who described early deep-sea dredging, when it was only possible to tell if the dredge had actually arrived on the sea floor by sitting on the cable winch to feel for bumps being transmitted up the cable from, as it were, one bottom to another, a method at once risky and curiously intimate.

The moments in between


All that busy stuff.  While the hands work, the ears have been getting their Herman Melville.

Moby DickThree discs in and we aren’t yet at sea, and the 19th century attitudes are, shall we say, interesting.  I note that the last few discs are much shinier than the first ones, and wonder if I am to be another listener who falls by the wayside before finis can be reached.

Saturday was a raw grey day full of cooking, taxi-ing, talking, cleaning, arranging, planning.  There was a happenstance fifteen minutes to sit in the car above a wide fall of land, where the wind played a sort of visual counterpoint with the branches of a tree.  They moved subtly past each other and back again, over and against one another but united at the root.

I should have been in bed an hour ago.

Hating it

Today London was in a bout of nothing weather. Over Waterloo Bridge I dutifully recalled Dunbar, looked up to Westminster and down to St Paul’s, saw a few bits of Wren poking up into the smog among a countless swarm of cranes and constructions. A cormorant sat on a pile mid-river, unconcerned, and a surprisingly large tree drifted downstream.
1 Thames
Drury Lane was away from the worst of the traffic, but still the city stank and shambled around its landmarks like a dull dirty bun studded with a few half decent currants. No change from Pepys’ day, then.
2 Drury
Heading back to the station later, what might have been the same cormorant flew across the river, looking ridiculously like Graculus.
The first available from Waterloo was the slow train. Luckily I baked some experiment biscuits last night, which emerged from the oven with approximately the same specific gravity as brick, though unlike brick they are stuffed with wholemeal flour and butter, brown sugar and mixed grain cereal, dried fruit and almond slivers, egg and spice. No dirty buns there, I believe; and two were enough to sustain me on the long run home.
3 ballast

A watercolour day


It started chill, then ameliorating sunlight and soft bleached colours washed through a fine shawl of mist.  A few white leaves hung on in the hedgerow, and the sea had no horizon.  I combed the pond with aching outspread fingers, pulling out the first handfuls of blanket weed and discovering the water lily’s rolled tongues.  They looked as though they were tasting the light.


Things to do when you can’t sleep: lxi


lxi : Consider  the inner miser

So I considered it, while drinking Ovaltine.  The role includes some significant advantages, though no doubt annoying for everyone else.  Soothed by these reflections, I nodded off about 5.30.

I indulged a different role later in the day, attempting respectability with a garment upgrade, and indulging myself with a parcel of card and paper goodies.