Monthly Archives: March 2018

In pursuit


I am gradually becoming acquainted with Salisbury walls.  Here is one whose ugly rendering rests upon a base of properly-old bricks:

and another which includes properly-old bricks, and an unusual tiled apex.  Note to self: don’t walk under this one, especially in bad weather.

Time to retire to a quiet bay in pursuit of all the Judiths:

The pleasure of the day was some generous typography:



I’ve been walking past this one at intervals for twenty years, and never registered it before.  Perhaps because this time the gate was open, I suddenly noticed that it was indeed an old posting house, with the high entrance to accommodate the horses and vehicles, the cobbled stable yard still visible behind, and iron s-plates still holding it all together. The windows look enormously tall compared with the standard sized door below.  

One could scarcely call it preservation of a traditional building, more a case of survival through neglect.  Well, we can’t all live in cherished cathedral cities, I suppose.

The image


This was a curious thing to find in the sitting room:

Our unfortunate local spy did not visit this location (so far as anyone knows) and the cordon stops short at the front door.  I was thus able to proceed librarily towards the station.

Salisbury Museum is small but dense; I find something new on every visit.  This is the head of a 9th century aestel (reading pointer), and it shines.

The cathedral has glassed in and glassed out various small and large cavities in its structure.  One of them is big enough for the refectory; this morsel of space is by the loos.

It is about life size.  I failed to find a label, and my iconography is not good enough to pick up the hints.  Chalices and books, anyone?  Glass and anonymity isolated the figure like an anchorite walled up alive.

Three Judiths


A nostalgia piece really, or an introductory text for those of us who weren’t there for steam trains or WWII.  The details are interesting, though excessive use of the words ‘hero’ and ‘heroic’ is always to be reprehended; in a properly narrated story, the reader will be quite aware of courage without having to be told, and there was a lot of it about at the time.

Then there are the three Judiths.  Biblical Judith is pink and there is a lot more of her; Middle English Metrical Judith is yellow, and is both selective and inventive; and Old English Judith is green, and unfortunately missing her first section, so we are not exactly comparing like with like.  The point is to clarify what was left out, what was included, and what was made up as additional story elements in the re-tellings.  Hmmm.

Legging it


(although rather slowly) across Salisbury to the station, where a choice presented itself:  wait perishing on the platform, or sit in the waiting room, which smelled of … well … railway waiting room.

With feet placed in the sunshine, outside was tolerable, until a train came and paused for fifteen minutes with its engine roaring.  How many decibels?  Too many in a semi-confined space.  Here it is seen through the iron cage

some of which rose to involve itself in other parts of the ironwork.  The pillars ranged away down the platform.

My countrypeople will be mildly surprised to hear that our trains ran to schedule and, when we arrived, lunch proceeded with little delay.  The view was ugly except for the magisterial march of showers along the sky.

A little more nest building, and back to the station, where our trains were once more on time.  And legging it (rather slowly) across Salisbury, up the hill and into the nest.

Nest building


Returning from the home patch to find a peculiar and unsettling incident going on in Salisbury, of all unlikely places.  Apart from the usual sticky-beaks, most people are going about their business, though at times with rather raised eyebrows, as indeed I am doing myself.

Nest building continues.  I love charity shops.

Meantime I am reading the story of Judith in the Middle English Metrical Paraphrase of the Old Testament.  Spelling Nebuchadnezzar as ‘Nabogodhonosour’ is genius.  And ‘pupplysch’ is an excellent word.  And it was written by a proto-feminist, which can’t necessarily be said of the biblical source:

Thei say, “We wott we have yt wun
with wyll of God and wyt of thee.”

Enough to think about for now.



I took the car to pick up a bag of coal and then on to stretch its legs. The roads were still dry but the sky was thickening steadily.  Close observers will note that I clung to the car’s interior.

The land was bleached of its colour by the cold and darkened to dun by the flattened light.

“This season’s daffodil, she never hears …”

and it’s all been one too many even for the Christmas rose.  As for the primroses, the images of their shrivelled and blighted flowers are just too sad.

Keeping water liquid for the birds required multiple visits with jugs of hot water.  Seagulls came down in a mob on the breadcrumbs, and were so famished that they wouldn’t fly away until I was standing among them, able to physically touch them.  Hitchcock, anyone?

The small garden birds did have time for a bite and a drink before dry hard snow began to sweep in, blown hissing down the road like sand, in vicious gusts.  It was a relief to know all the nearestsanddearests were in their respective residences.

Currently working from my old laptop, as slow as treacle (and cold treacle at that).  Buffeting and banging outside, and the sound of sleetiness; not sure what will be lying tomorrow, but it won’t be cosy.