and since I only had one I did not linger. (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)
Time for a re-read. This is anecdotal and identifiable-with; at some moments deliciously so. I particularly cherish Manguel’s Endpaper pages, in which he describes the history of reading which he imagines himself to be writing; it runs to a minimum of sixty-eight chapters. (The version he did write has ten chapters, plus the Endpaper section).
Favourite anecdote: In the tenth century … the Grand Vizier of Persia, Abdul Kassem Ismael, in order not to part with his collection of 117,000 volumes when travelling, had them carried by a caravan of four hundred camels trained to walk in alphabetical order. (p 193)
Round one went to the rodents: the bait was taken without tripping the spring.
I walked down to the hithermost beach in a pearl grey afternoon:
Round two went to me. Oh the sad little corpse; but it is quicker for the victim than poison, and anyone who has had a real infestation will understand how that dulls one’s conscience; especially if the infestation is going to get incontinently into bed with you. On the one-tenth iceberg principle, I have made another teeny sandwich for the night shift.
lxxi : Leap suddenly out of bed uttering imprecations
Not the ideal response to insomnia. But what else are you to do when, lying peacefully and slightly dozily in the dark, there is a sudden pattering of tiny feet right by your ear?
A concomitant thing to do when you can’t sleep: make a lethal shopping list.
Oh well, we always knew it would be excruciating. And this is not the week for it, either.
The time for pencils was over. I tried out writing with this one … and I tried out writing with that one … and then this one again …
I wrote the alphabet out 19 times …
and the Greek alphabet once, on the off chance that it would make things better. It didn’t.
Several partial drafts later, the week has passed in a blur of enforced attention and dreadful old movies.
and the last hour of a falling tide, it was possible to walk further along than I have been before. (Click a thumbnail for the gallery.)
It’s a time indeed since being on a bus. This one ground and clanked its way through the villages, past the sea, up the Shute, down the chalk, wound beneath the hills, and at last to town. I shopped: bought only some minute wooden butterflies. After business, there was welcome tea of reprieve. I’ve been reprieved in this place before. And the social event of the day.
Then the bus: out of town through the clogged traffic (glad to see the driver knew his bus width to the inch), below the hills where sheep did picturesque things on the skyline, up the chalk, down the Shute, past the sea, now glowing like tarnished silver in the twilight (a radiance perhaps exaggerated in my still-dilated eyes), and through the villages.
Probably the stars have been there all along, but time has lapsed since we visited. At sunset I waited impatiently in the porch, out of the wind, until they began to pop in the deepening blue. I watched the Summer Triangle down into the west as if for the last time. Orion was rising in the east, holding open the sky to let the cold air in.
on the way through the pale trees, although I am naturally gratified to use a recently-acquired word.
The mind of this strange man is worth a visit, however, and demonstrates the truism that images and narratives are diminished by their exegesis; even Jung could only make his stories smaller when he enlarged upon them.