Yesterday began with being towed backwards across Wiltshire. Then some intensive looking.
Best seen across a vacant lot:
The fullness required many hours, which we were unable to give.
There was something appropriate about the power socket handy for St. Barbara. In case her father needed it?
Finding Dewi Sant was like meeting an old friend…
It was a mistake to take an audio book. The tunnels must be the noisiest on the network: growl, roar, whistle and rattle in one excruciating go.
And there we were again: being towed backwards across Wiltshire.
It isn’t a word really. But a scrubulous weekend is what I had.
I returned to muggy days and sea mists
and scrubbed ten windows, three double sets of glass doors, and a conservatory. Both sides.
The seagulls were eyeing up the gleaming panes, sniggering to themselves. So it seemed a good idea to get in first.
I was a bit surprised by these lacy ones.
Now I am back in the attic nest with a lot of books about icons.
Being underslept, I had difficulty keeping a focus on the official business of the day.
It was distractingly easy to consider munchy ginger fudge, since they keep the fudge shop so handy to the cathedral. I leave it to each reader to decide on the wisdom of this policy. At lunch time thought became action.
A pamphlet: less obviously enticing. I was nonetheless tempted by this distraction, and was only prevented from some old-fashioned reading under the desk by the very small class size and my corresponding visibility.
Part of the day was spent contemplating hand sewing fine hems of muslin. Later I congratulated myself on the prescience which had caused me to pack pins.
And I have missed it.
We trekked slowly over the ankle-breaking flint cobbles, which at this beach are usually an unlovely shade of orange. The sea pinks’ sprightly defiance is always a welcome sight.
Returning, the falling tide made the upper edge of sand available to us, saving our ankles at the cost of having to nip suddenly up the shingle for the seventh wave.
I indulged in a few minutes’ smugness; the jokes about the Epistle of Barnabas don’t seem to have done much harm.
What we know and what we don’t know about our families.
Margaret Forster exercised both her historical and creative imaginations to investigate her own female line, partly for pure story, partly for the whole mother-and-daughter commitment thing, and partly as an analysis of how women’s lives worked in the past and how they work now. The result is sobering and tantalising.
I thought of the Mitford sisters’ lives, outwardly a dramatic contrast. Forster’s mother and her sisters lived through the same decades, but as northern working women their lives could scarcely have seemed more different. Except, of course, for their shared preoccupations with marriage, illicit sexual relations, and the question of balancing income, personal fulfilment and childbearing. And they all had their secrets.
The secrets seemed particularly onerous for Forster’s mother and grandmother. And exceptionally well-kept. There is a large, secret-shaped space in their lives, but what is inside it Margaret Forster will never, never know.
… till May be out. So I took my jacket and woolly hat … (Click a thumbnail for gallery)
Well, the may was out, and very benign too,
though there is always something dispiriting about alighting here.
In a fine tradition of inspecting station roofs. I don’t think this is a sparrow’s, though.
Still not wearing a coat. In fact,
I removed my jumper.
Aaaah. I’m not sure why it made me so happy
to find essays on Bede in the 7 day loans category,
and Gregory of Tours,
and Notker the Stammerer. I’d like to think they know.
We walked, basking, through the barracks gardens,
and went on a long leg of domestic inspection.
I got out of the train into a time warp. I didn’t need a coat there either.
At last: a little time to read for my own entertainment, and I’ve had this one queued up for months.
And what an anthology it is; bracing, frightening, hilarious, painful, astonishing by turns. Here is my favourite so far, for its unpretending humanity:
There was a certain amount of complaining going on today. I grumped round the grass with a struggling mower for the third time in a week (that’s how bad it was) and grumped at the slugs that have had a go at the baby rudbeckia. There was also a fair bit of Flufferscussing as by some inspiration she managed to deposit in any doorway I was about to walk through. She did some cussing of her own as I refused to let her sit on the sofa.
By the pond I found this poor tiny relic. Surely not a victim of predation, as even its little paws are still attached; maybe caught out by the icy weather we had a few weeks ago, and freeze-dried on its way to the water?
I settled for half an hour on the paving, pretending to be a tree stump, and watching for little plips and swirls.
The more fortunate newts were fossicking about; always difficult to know how many, but I saw one with a pale spine sprinkled with freckles, two with yellow or cream stripes all down their backs, one olive brown with leopard spots, one plain olive with a fine dark dorsal stripe, and one almost black and nearly invisible, plus a couple of juveniles.
Newts don’t seem to have red-eye problem so much as golden eye problem when the light reflects.
This is not what newts are meant to do. Assuming it was another corpse, I scooped it out, upon which it leapt into action and squiggled off my palm. If not moribund, it must be one of Nature’s eccentrics.