Racing to catch some sunshine when the rain moved over, I ended up in the cliff’s shade, to watch the surfers and paddle-boarders without being squinty.
It was a waiting game for everyone
and meantime a few people caught reasonable rides.
When the big ones did come, it was too interesting to be bothered with photos. Lacking in drama compared with watching the shark bait off Manly after a whopping storm, but then, anything is (I remember the heart-in-mouth sensation even now). The waves crashed prettily though, and one surfer was spat, flailing, vertically into the air, and came down looking surprised.
My turn as a Fluffers-bed is nearly over.
Last night we walked across the Square, emptied of its Christmas market, the illuminated trees looking like the trees which gave James Thurber’s great uncle chestnut blight, only rather more festive.
The cathedral’s midnight service accommodated about a thousand, most of whom had colds. It was … tasteful. Won’t bother with that one again then. I miss the raw edges of home grown celebrations.
The nearests and dearests have enabled me to see what music looks like – in one format, which is 33 rpm. Amazing!
I have left the snowflakes behind, supplied the mice in the attic with a treacherous Christmas dinner (O please not rats), and may or may not have locked the back door. The shops in Salisbury are much better than those at home, but there are ways of not shopping, thus:
First go to the local library to look at the Kathe Kollwitz exhibition, and look very carefully at her looking very carefully at herself.
Then go to St Thomas’ and contemplate the Doom painting.
After this, proceed through the darkening crowded streets and brightly lighted shops, solitary, disorientated, and immune to temptation, and purchase one spoon.
Returning, I finished reading a book which in some places became a time machine
and now I have to choose the next title from a selection. One for night and one for day.
Out back to the garage in the dark and cold, playing a kind of loathsome hopscotch over grey slugs which slime about even in December. As always I was longing for the heat in my face, the clean smell, and the sense of relief or exasperation, as it might happen to be.
Rather less like milk chocolate, and luckily the local clay hasn’t cracked. I’ve rushed these little plaques and the edges are rougher than they should be. Must check them over and use a carborundum to take down anything notably savage.
These are a dull idea, redeemed because they retain the chaste quality of the parent porcelain, while a judicious quantity of toilet roll (infra dig!) added to the body makes them lighter and warmer to the touch. They take a crisp impression, which may be useful for a more sophisticated future project.
I’m unsure what to do with the small pieces, though there are a few experiments ready to go. But the pierced hearts have arrived just in time to save my bacon; it’s the Christmas tree festival this week, and until this hour had no idea what to do for the family tree.
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)
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.
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.