Monthly Archives: August 2016

Small blisses


I think I may have made my perfect ice lolly today.  I’ll share the recipe in lieu of the lollies.  I’ve written the recipe in international units of measurement, based on a process which involved a lot of spoon licking.

  • Very large dollop of crème fraiche
  • A number of pieces of stem ginger in syrup, chopped small
  • One slurp of the ginger syrup
  • Two (or thereabouts) slobbets of honey
  • As much milk as makes it reasonably easy to pour

Combine, fill lolly moulds, freeze quickly to keep ginger suspended.  I’m trying not to eat them four at a time.  Oops – there goes another.

Put out the night


Neighbours left: out.  Neighbours right: on holiday.  Neighbours down and across: gone to bed.  Cars few, intermittent.  Moon not yet risen.  Stars.

And clouds.  In this hot hush they scarcely move, but loom pallidly upwards into the night, trailing wraiths and rags.  They collect to themselves and exhale the house lights behind, the street lamps over the hill, the Moon below the horizon.  They extinguish the stars; and worse, they put out the dark.

Yes, there you go …


… I said it was faithless.  Today the grim grey rollers loomed, fell on the land like a thousand of bricks, burst mightily when they crossed one another.  Watching from behind the sea wall was prudent; not wanting the English Channel to grab me by the knees, nor yet to assault me with flints.

1 rightThe beach where I sat yesterday has been ripped away.  No doubt it will turn up somewhere else soon.

2 leftI wondered how the samphire is getting on.  It doesn’t seem to mind the odd flint or two.  I hope the hoverfly left in plenty of time, though.

3 yesterday

Perfect timing



The rain had cleared the coast;  the sea was that wonderful translucent faithless Atlantic colour, neither blue nor green, which gives you fair warning;  the wind had partly dried the pebbles of the steeply-canting storm beach.  Time enough to sit and develop a damp bottom, and let the waves wash out the inside of your head.  Walking back to the car, small drops began to plit into the puddles again.

(Click through the gallery if you like waves)

Ahead of the weather


A nearer beach, slightly less favoured, but also charming.  (Click for the gallery)


Do you know what it is yet?


Far too many photons dashing about last night; it was a push to find even Vega by eye.  But there was sky, so waste not want not – take out the big scope and the camera.  This is silly for so many reasons, relating to deficiencies in all the equipment, in the observing conditions, and in the photographer, but as dear Mehitabel would say, wotthehell.  (The pictures may be more informative if you click into one for the gallery. Or possibly not.)

Why thin books of poetry are expensive


(I’m guessing here.)

It takes two minutes to write the first four lines.

It takes an hour and a half to write the next five and a half lines.

It takes three hours to revise the nine and a half lines.

It takes three days to find the correct epithet for line 7.

It requires a currently indefinite period to decide what to do about the half line.  Options:

  • Rewrite it to become a whole line (but will that weaken it)
  • Take a half line out somewhere else and join up the two remaining halves
  • If so, which half line should be axed and how can the disjointed be conjoined?
  • Think of some extra statement and incorporate the half line into it so that there is an even number – say twelve lines
  • … but what’s wrong with odd numbers and anyway I like asymmetry
  • Say sod it and keep the half line to give it prominence and clunk
  • Put the nine and a half lines in the bin

Since I really like three of the lines and the half line this debate may take some time.  Indeed, six months on I am still searching for a vital word in another short poem.  No Complete Works to be published any time soon, I think.  And then it may only have eleven pages.

The quickness of the fish deceives the eye


Bluest sky, warm and cool, breeze and calm, long but not daunting.   (Click an image for the gallery.)

Muffled incandescence


Twangling in the dark, the recliner and I arranged ourselves with feet pointed east, a posture dictated by Perseus and the fat descending Moon.  Conditions were not ideal, as, apart from the lunar lightspill, the thin patchy cloud must have been masking many of the fainter meteors.  But this is England; and if you can see any stars, however fuggy, out you go.

There was time to do a little binocular wandering, and to tuck the blanket in well about the edges.  The main event began with a show stopper:  a long meteor right through the middle of the summer triangle, burning white and fierce and leaving a long smoke trail behind it.  It always seems curious that these energetic phenomena should take place in total silence, but so it is.

When the Moon finally took itself off the sky darkened, a blurry Milky Way appeared and I began to see a few satellites bustling past.  There was a steady incidence of meteors, though not a rich fall, and nothing as spectacular as the harbinger.  I watched and dozed, dozed and watched, and finally came to with a dim awareness of half past three, the Pleiades and Aldebaran, and the fading of the short summer night.   As I bundled through the door, damp with lying under a drizzle of interplanetary dust, the second-brightest of the night flew emphatically south.