Today I explored outward from Salisbury; only a mile or so, on a dulled afternoon. Most of the houses are bog-suburb-council-house-bungalow, with a few oldies still wedged in among.
Eking out brick with flint is a real Wiltshire ploy; pity about the tactless street furniture.
The basic cottage underneath is probably old, but the excessive grooming makes it look like something from a film lot – as if it is thatched with plastic rather than reed or straw.
The church also shows a traditional mixture of materials – fairly recent by church standards, but may be sitting on older foundations. I gave a black mark because it was locked at 2.30 pm – but maybe the local vandals are chronic.
Then this rather forbidding building. I would be hard put to say why it would look completely alien in my own home territory – something to do with the colour of the brick, and perhaps the roof line. Judging by the numerous revisions, this one has been around for a while.
This peach of the vernacular shows classic flint chequerwork in its lower portion; not sure if the dressed stones are very dirty chalk or, as I suspect, greensand (of sentimental memory).
How do you know you have knitted half a ball of wool when you have no accurate scales? Like this …
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.
… which is enough for a person of a certain age, especially when quite a few of them were up hill (and equally painfully, down hill) even with some youthful assistance in the traction department.
Thus sausage and lentil soup among the distinctly original, massive and wonky half-timbering was quite a Cunning Plan, which fortified us for the main Cunning Plan. I approve automatically of any food establishment which runs its own bring-and-share book shelf, though I would probably eschew most of these titles.
The storm came in overnight, so I headed for high tide in a bright aftermath.
The rollers were busy rearranging the shoreline
and nobody was fool enough to mess with the prom.
The waves were breaking on the sea wall (which in these photos is under all that white stuff).
I walked round and perched on a small concrete platform, which is a couple of feet higher than the lifeboat yard behind the second wall, and gives a good view of the action. This was fortunate, as suddenly the bay seemed to swell, and then reared up the wave of the morning. It ignored the storm beach, overtopped the sea wall, hurdled the promenade, burst violently over the second wall, and poured in cataracts over the cobbled yard where I had just been standing.
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.
Sadly, the institutional trees are often repeats from the previous year, but even so some new ones are successful or witty or bold.
One of the most elaborate was for the church roof appeal
while another boasted very lavish decorations.
This one made good use of redundant necklaces
and – back to elaboration – I think the revolving tree was a first for our festival.
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.