A shallow fall and a slow thaw through the morning. The car consented to be scraped without undue fuss, and we ventured out.
Inland lay mostly black and white:
Outfacing, the sea red with clay.
I wimped out of walking. The air was raw.
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.
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.
One has to get used to the curious juxtapositions of an ancient city. Hunting for boots yesterday, I found myself among seriously old timbers and crucks.
There was something slightly disturbing about these blind windows, long ago abandoned in the alterations and re-modellings of this and the buildings round about. But look: fourteenth or fifteenth century, they say, and one believes it.
The service, however, was rubbish. I left crossly and spent the money elsewhere. I have fuzzed out their advertising material to let the timber do the talking.
While attending the intensive and oscillating between anxiety and narcolepsy, I considered a few of the local amenities. (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)
After a long and busy day, involving public transport (including taking the same bus twice), signatures, a trolley full of gubbins, sunshine (thank goodness), huge sausages for lunch, and two kind people, I have come to rest in an attic.
This is part of the route I walked this afternoon.
A river of a nondescript but pleasing kind, rather full thanks to our recent downpours:
A steepish downhill bit, feeling quite aerial above the low roadway:
And a view they don’t put on the postcards:
The experiment has begun.
I went in search of light relief this morning; a middling old churchyard full of sunshine and crocuses and leucojums is no bad place to start. (Click a thumbnail for the gallery)
… disinclining me to appreciate small things as much as usual. Here, however, I may mention two pleasures of the senses:
A home-made swiss roll bulging with summer fruits, raspberry preserve, and double cream – a potent consolation in its way;
and the Falcon Heavy launch (hardly small, but very brief). My rational part has its doubts about the value of the programme, but seeing the two side boosters settling out of the sky on their tails was pure magic. Pity they lost the core, but perhaps a good thing to keep down corporate hubris.
Now I’m going to watch those boosters separate and land again (for the eleventh time or so). Oh the improbability of it.