Along the skirts of storm Ophelia a bilious gloom descended. In the late morning I paused at the cliff top, where the sea state was unremarkable, but the water full of nameless colours and dim yellowish gleams. What breeze there was, was blowing from the wrong direction – surprisingly disorientating.
For a moment the sun was bloodily visible, and one rather wished it wasn’t.
Around noon darkness fell, and it was impossible to read without electric light, though there was little wind and never a drop of rain.
The sky was even more unsettling at 1.30, when it became a uniform dull orange glare. The iPhone camera didn’t believe the colour and kept correcting it, so this picture is edited – I held the laptop screen up to the sky and twiddled until the colours matched.
In between, reading and sleeping, sleeping and reading … until normal daylight returned.
I’ve been looking through some photos from last week. There was little time to go anywhere except the College itself, or a quick doddle round the Close for fresh air. Luckily, there was a fascinating exhibition in the library, and the cathedral always rewards. (Click a thumbnail for the gallery. If you want to see texts properly, click on link from gallery to full size.)
About 1602, with an edifying introduction and signs of serious use –
– I was taken with the smug lions and the unexpectedly cross-looking elephants.
This author is maintaining the usual standard of Christian polemic 😦
Here we have Augustine and notable characters – and a jolly ditty running through the footer. Aaah!
And here is Matthew helpfully rendered in Gothic, Anglo-Saxon, and early Englishes.
College bedrooms are austere but included a view of the quadrangle in the amenities,
while the cathedral has an elaboration of flying buttresses (always a good thing).
They seem to have mislaid a few saints, leaving Geo. Herbert lonely, which may be why he looks less cheerful than one might expect.
More interesting expressions. Even the sparrow finds a home – though I think this spiky appendage requires a larger fowl.
Bit of a postcard view – but yes, Salisbury is genuinely spectacular.
… calcine its clods …” I muttered gloomily, though Browning was not thinking of kitchen shelves.
I had an outbreak of Usefulness, and in fact was genuinely useful (as well as being annoying). Disheartened, though, as past a certain age and level of neglect kitchens become finally uncleanable: the greasy steam seeps into every cranny, soaks into the cupboard doors, coats every tile and pipe, and, scrub as you may, the tackiness persists. But at least the new owner should be able to find his sarcasm when he needs it.
Today I went looking for a quiet place on the stairs in which to find a teasing line. Instead I found an image, obscure at first but clarifying into black comedy.
I don’t think he or she made it.
So goodbye to the lectures and a brief hello to some nearestsanddearests; full of apple crumble we admired the Close and the cathedral lit by what looked like about seven million lux, killing the stars.
I have swapped my austere hall-of-residence style bed for something even more austere, having no bedstead at all; but the ambience is friendly, and I am cooched up on the sofa with the Middle English Metrical Paraphrase of the Old Testament:
In this boke that cald is Genesis
ther may men see the soth unsoght
How God, that beldes in endlese blyse,
all only with Hys Word hath wroght
Hevyn on heght for Hym and Hys,
this erth and all that ever is oght.
This erth was wyde and wast
and no gud on yt grovyd;
On the heght the Holi Gast
abown the waters movyd.
Milton, eat your heart out.
… the thought of reading the Old Testament in metrical Middle English had become curiously attractive. (This was proposed to me as a diversion by a passing nearest-and-dearest.)
My principal academic achievement for Wednesday was to cause one of the tutors to blow tea out of his nose.
All this high thinking led me to RUN from the College in a half hour of unassigned time, go STRAIGHT to the pound shop (it was a relief to find that pound shops still exist outside these walls), buy a LARGE bag of Smarties, and RUN back for the next session. The immersive effect is quite interesting.
A trifle captious. Waking at 5.30 has never improved my character. Still, here we am, as faint donglings from the cathedral remind me, and we must all Get On like little birds (preferably not the kind which push each other out or smother up the weaklings and eat all the dinner).
Posting from my phone also makes me captious. Sorry.
With a few gleams of sun on a good drying day, I raced the mower up and down the soggy grass, one eye cocked to the sky for the next shower, and the wind blowing my hair out of its pin into witchiness.
Having got round before the rain, there was time to visit a few neglected perennial pots.
Harebells whipping on their wiry stems
The slightly nibbled elegance of schizostylus
A spot of welcome richness on the grey afternoon