Friday, December 31, 2010

snowman, Kathmanudu, time

Posted by Picasa This snow giant at the entrance to The Grove stood about three metres high when I took the photograph a few days ago.  He is now no more than a mound of ice about a few centimetres across.

In the Nepalese restaurant called Mooli  I am served a large bottle of Nepalese beer beer called Kathmandu. It is, says the label, brewed in the UK, but  "brewed with Himalayan essence".  Essence? Just a thought perhaps.

On the clock on the computer screen as pips sound on the radio, on the final pip, the hour is recorded. A sense that clocks of one sort and another are working as they should.  It is not yet midnight. But when it is and not until then, Happy New Year everyone.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

self-portrait, haloumi, news

Posted by Picasa  Multiple images of the photographer with the help of a snow-covered car in The High Street.

One of our regular stand byes  in the fridge is the  hard, sheep's milk cheese called haloumi which comes from Cyprus. You fry slices of it until they are a crisp and mottled brown on the outside, while remaining soft and pliable inside. Today, as one of our guests is on the point of leaving, we eat  haloumi with a winter salad of finely sliced roots, iceberg lettuce, green beans and tomatoes,a relief after Christmas excess.

Me to elderly neighbour: Happy New Year
Neighbour: Happy New Year and to your good lady. But you had better not look at the news.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

squirrel, gone, seeds

Posted by PicasaToday's squirrel after the last of the snow.

The solitary  high heel shoe on a window ledge for nearly a year has been removed. I photographed it twice and published the photos here. Next time I pass I will photograph the space it occupied.

Today, a day of mist and fine rain, the first seed catalogue arrives. Spring and summer seem a long way off, as I leaf through it I can almost smell the warm earth which will suggest that it is time to start sowing.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

exits, soft, Armageddon

Posted by Picasa Are vents like these the reason for global warming? What comes out? Or does something go in?

After the snow, ice and frozen ground, this morning, birds and squirrels peck and scratch at the soft soil in The Grove; it is  the first time  that worms and buried nuts have been accessible, for several weeks to beaks and paws.

|Armageddon may be an over used word but it comes to mind this morning as I walk across The Grove where the wrecks of yesterdays snowmen lie everywhere. It is not  just the thaw that has been at work. Haters of snowmen have laid waste the patient crowd of white and silent gentlemen.  Nothing is left of their solemn faces,  coal  eyes,  twig pipes and carrot noses.They have been broken up and reduced to giant, ragged snowballs rolled here and there and covered in leaves to melt away ashamed and forgotten.

Monday, December 27, 2010

corner, hazard, ageing

Posted by Picasa A corner of old Tunbridge Wells - the of end of the short terrace called Belgrove, opposite The Grove Tavern. Thanks to this blackbird and several others, the tree is now stripped of its berries.

Life without hazards might  become boring. The ice which still covers the pavement in much of Mount Sion is  treacherous and keeps you awake; it drives most people to walk in the road, where they run the risk of being mown down by a car in preference to slipping and breaking a limb.

Aphorisms appeal to my idle nature because they are quick to absorb and tend to be self-sufficient requiring no prolonged concentration. The book that has given me most pleasure this Christmas is  the book of aphorisms  by Nassim Nicholas Taleb called The Bed of Procrustes. I like these in particular because they are on a theme which I can immediately relate to:  the way in which we tend to compress our words and ideas  about the world to fit a theory or a dogma, rather than to  to open our minds and vocabulary to the varying demands of what we are trying to describe, a much harder procedure. I quoted one of them in a post the other day. Here's another, which I personally find rather close to the knuckle, and therefore all the more true as far as I am concerned:  "The only objective definition of ageing is when a person starts to talk about ageing."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

sardines, Procrustes, sprouts

Posted by PicasaThis drawing of sardines is made on a sardine tin sized piece of something called textured clay board, which I received as a sample about four years ago. I started the drawing then and only finished it when I came across it the other day. The clayboard gives you a white mat surface which you  can draw or paint on and scratch to erase. I submit it, though it is entirely irrelevant,  as a tribute to St Stephen upon whose feast which falls to day Good King Wenceslas looked out.

From Nassim Nicholas Taleb's new book The Bed of Procrustes: "Those who think religion is about belief  don't understand religion, and don't understand belief."

Yesterday pleasure was in the order of things. And my greatest pleasure I have to admit was preparing Christmas dinner, for which purpose I rose at 6.30 am. We sat down - six of us  - to the meal at 5pm. When asked whether I enjoyed the food, I realized that the best part of it for me was in the preparation. The high point perhaps was  the appearance of the sprouts, about the size of a large blackberries, which I had taken from the stalks earlier, and trimmed that morning. I thought that they looked a bit miserable before cooking but the sight  of the little things when they came out of the saucepan, uniform in size and emerald green, would have pleased the most exacting of chefs. It was of little interest to anyone else, but for me, to had grown  the sprouts in the first place - the plants were set out much to late in the season - and above all to have preserved them from the hordes of marauding pigeons which live nearby - were reasons for great  personal satisfaction.

Friday, December 24, 2010

retail, Pericles, peace

Posted by Picasa Thisangel which I photographed in a fashion shop  called Wunderkind in Mount Street, London, apparently took an entire night to construct from units of  origami put together with the help of a strip of tracing paper 50 meters long. It seems a suitable image with which to wish all those, in no particular order - Clare Grant, Barrett Bonden, Marja- Lena, Martha The Crow,  Lucy, Lucas, cc, Dave Bonta, David King -  who visit this site quietly or with comments, occasional or frequent, a Christmas joyful but mindful of doubt and disfavour, peaceful but true to the harshness of the world in which we live. Cheers, be merry and think carefully about this moment and the next.

About four years ago I began to read Shakespeare's play Pericles in the Arden edition. I read the plays when I was travelling on the train and the occasional aeroplane  and I was about half way through the entire canon and making good progress. When I stopped it was because this blog quickly became a full time job in the sense that I could no longer travel anywhere without keeping eyes and ears obsessively open for "beautiful things"  to report. So Pericles, my travelling companion,  came to be neglected. Until the other day that is, when  I responded to a poem on Dave Bonta's website Via Negativa, by quoting the opening lines of Eliot's poem Marina, where I detected a distinct though unintentional echo. Dave's response took the form of a link, to a full length post on the Eliot poem. It told me,among many other things, that the Eliot poem is about Pericles' daughter of the same name, who, believed drowned at sea, is restored to her father at the end of the play. What else could I do? It was back to Pericles, which I finished in a few hours, and enjoyed all the more for knowing its provenance. The poem begins with the magic lines:
What seas what shores what grey rocks and what island
What water lapping the bow
And scent of pine and woodthrush singing though the fog
What images return
O my daughter.

The best of many things about Christmas is the Christmas story and the message behind it.  I have come to accept that  the story has a reality and a truth of its own derived from the peoples and cultures which have adopted and embellished it over the years. But I cannot believe, and never did, that the details as recounted in the gospels have much  if any historical truth. This morning I go over the opening chapters of Matthew and Luke to refresh my memory and the magnificent words of the King James bible lift my heart as they always do.  "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all the people."  Then, " "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men."  Word so familiar that they barely need repeating , except that copying them here is a pleasure in itself. For hope and aspiration, you can't do much better than that. And though  a voice in your ear says, " that is impossible to attain", you know that  impossible though  it may be, what we are talking about is art,  and all art strains toward the impossible. As does scinece towards the unknowable.  And it is the tension of the process that makes it sublime. "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?

Compasses (see right)  has a new poem by Lucy Kempton. posted just now. It replies to the question, "How then should we live in the space there is?"   I love it for its music and the pictures it brings of the countryside where Lucy lives.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

visitor, red moon, sprouts

Posted by PicasaThis exotic leaf or perhaps bract of a plant called Anthurium has sat  in a vase in the hall of our house now for about two weeks and shows no sign of losing its shine.

In the old days a total lunar eclipse, when Earth blocks the moon from the sun, particularly on the winter solstice, would have awakened alarms in the minds of soothsayers and their followers, as it must have done the last time in happened in 1638. Nowadays out come the cameras. For my scrapbook, a huge photograph (cut from The Independent Newspaper) of a red moon and its crimson light over a bluish, snow clad Pennine landscape, will keep the event alive in my mind.

Down to the vegetable garden where the pigeons have spared a few of the sprouts which I have been saving for Christmas dinner.  On the way the track of a fox makes me feel glad that the wild has not entirely vanished from our local environment. I hack off the stems of the sprout plants laden with little green spheres,which I will pick off later in the warmth of the kitchen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

clouds, spiced, Steinbeck

Posted by Picasa Two small clouds and the last few leaves of this year's trees.

Hot spiced apple juice at the Farmers' Market Christmas Market, this morning, is seasonal bliss in the cold  mist, slush and snow all around.

There is a youngish man who strides about in Tunbridge Wells talking most of the time. He addresses in a normal voice complete strangers who happen to be standing, as we are on the pavement this morning, outside the the public library. He speaks briefly about what happens to be in his head. "John Steinbeck," he says. "Read John Steinbeck", and breezes on. No one takes any notice of him.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

chance, elation, gay

Posted by Picasa Chance arranges these leaves and fragments captured in a skip on wet day and fixes them loosely on  a piece of white board.

In a pretty book called Paris l'instant by Philippe Delerm with photographs by Martine Delerm, I read a discription of someone cycling in Paris in the spring, when "the horse chestnuts display, only with parsimony,  their first, sugary leaves," and the "traffic sounds swing like a song by Charles Trenet". She bends down to attache  her bike's security chain to a  pavement grid and senses the "humility" of the metal worn by the passage of so many feet and, now, warmed by a sudden burst of sunshine. She makes the distinction between happiness (bonheur) and the sudden feeling of elation (allégresse)  brought by that  moment. I am attracted to this book and this piece, in particular, because the text and the photographs  are precisely what I try to achieve in Best of Now. Thank you Philippe and Martine whoever and wherever you are, and thank you  to Hall's Book shop in Tunbridge Wells for having the book on the counter, (chance again) on my last visit.

A visitor has studied the art of massage for several years and practices the therapy where she lives in Munich. She tells me that a French woman client was so pleased with her treatment that she booked a second session, asking at the same time, if she could bring her partner. " I am afraid we only treat women" she was told. Her response, and plea for an exception to be made, "but he's gay, he's gay...",  apart from making me laugh, strikes me as begging  the question - a phrase too often misapplied nowadays.

Monday, December 20, 2010

pillar box, melting, begging

Posted by Picasa The stanchion on the roof of a Royal Mail letter box, projects through the snow in a brave statement  of pre-eminence.

As I walk beside a shrubbery at the edge of The Grove I hear a crash and  a rustling sound. Is it an an animal or bird scampering among the branches? No, it is layers of snow falling from the holly and laurel trees. The snow is melting.

The squirrels in The Grove are rarely tame enough to approach human beings and they are dead scared of the dogs which accompany humans, and with reason. But this morning a squirrel, spoilt perhaps by being fed peanuts or the like, comes up to me and puts its forepaws together as if it has been trained to do so, in a fawning act of mendicancy It  doesn't like my camera and, realizing probably that there are no nuts forthcoming from this quarter, hares off down the path.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

squashed, hammered, flattened

Posted by PicasaAlthough I stopped adding to my series of photos of discarded packaging, I couldn't resist this flattened can lying in  the road.

Although there is an endless list of words to describe  having been drunk, there are some currently in fashion, which are of special interest.  They seem as a rule to be used as a boast rather than an apology by men as well as women, and possibly even more by women than by men. They seem to reflect the current attraction to intensive drinking as a pastime, or if it were not for the almost sacred regard which we have nowadays for sport, you might say as a branch of sporting activity. For the time being the words "plastered", (not so new perhaps), "hammered" and "wasted" come to mind. In the meantime I ask myself whether it is possible to separate the great game of football from unrestrained drinking. Even watching a game on the TV, it seems somehow out of order to accompany the activity a case of canned lager. "Canned", there's another word for the asking.

There can be only one beautiful thing about the virus affectionately called Winter Vomiting, and that is recovering from it, which is what I am doing now. Flattened, that is what I was. In the past even when stricken with flu I have managed to read, but for the  last 36 hours I lay like a vegetable staring at the ceiling and praying to be left alone and in silence. To be human and even old, 'tis very bliss.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

leaf, wonder child, crane

Posted by Picasa Today's leaf is encountered lying on a sheet of white plastic building material providing an almost perfect mount.

Outside a deli in Mount Street in London, we drink  coffee and eat madeleines - Ces gâteaux courts et dodus appellés Petites Madeleines. In the window directly above the fascia of a fashion shop opposite, a woman holds a baby- a real woman, a real baby.  The  name of the shop inscribed on the fascia is Wunderkind.  A Christmas composition by chance.

From the train I see in the cab of a tower crane high above the crane driver like an insect in a bubble of glass; he leans forward as though to do up his shoe lace, but more likely to adjust a lever.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

shoe, soup, table

Posted by PicasaThis is the second or third time that I have photographed the same lone shoe on a ledge, and posted the result. The point is that it is still there, inaccessible and mysterious. This time I have stood back to show the location of the ledge behind stout  bars which deter human contact.

A jug of chicken stock awaits the composition of  a soup this evening. Part of the pleasure lies in deciding the ingredients. In the fridge, apart from the stock, are  a few slices of chicken breast lightly coated with sesame seed,  green beans and some leaves of coriander. There are also a bunch of very dark green,  Italian kale known as cavalo nero,  which very finely shredded will give the soup depth of flavour and, for colour and  sweetness, some small tomatoes cut in half and added to the broth at the last moment.  I may also be tempted at the last minute by a small tin of sweet corn.

For nearly 40 years I have owned an old folding card-table of the sort you do not see around  these days. It is square and its  legs unfold from the vertical   into an X  shape to  clip into place and provide a stable surface. We use it whenever there are more than four of us round the dining table, to provide extra space to serve from. I remember buying it in a jumble sale for a few shillings. The green baize top is worn to  threads, but when it is covered with a table cloth no one would know. A  few years ago someone broke one of the supports by folding the table too roughly. It still worked but there was something  worryingly fragile about the arrangement, which depended on two broken pieces of a leg kept in place, by faith and gravity. This Christmas we will not have to worry because our neighbour, a retired surgeon, who apart form mending flesh and bone, is a whiz at carpentry, has repaired the break with a couple of screws. "It's stronger than it was before," he says, which is very much the sort of thing that surgeons like to say when they have set a broken limb.

Monday, December 13, 2010

rowan, smile, cards

Posted by PicasaPigeons, like this one, have  now stripped all the berries from the rowan trees. The leaves, too, have finally succumbed to wind, frost and snow. It seems only a few days ago that I took this photograph.

As I walk down Mount Sion I see a woman coming up the hill towards me. She is carrying a bag of shopping in either hand. I don't think I know her. But her smile, which probably mirrors mine, says: "I don't think I know you, but it is a time of year, when a faint smile is in order as you pass in the street, on a cold damp afternoon, as the doors in Advent calenders open, in the weeks before Christmas,

An alternative to translating a poem, is to write another and to use the term "after" in the title. This thought is prompted by  a poem called A Herbal by Sheamus Heaney "after Guillevic's Herbier de Bretagne. I knew nothing of Guillevic who was a  French poet better known in France than in England. I, for one hadn't heard of him. It is through  Lucy Kempton, to whom I mention the Heaney poem that I owe the knowledge that Guillevic died only recently.  For all I knew he might have been a medieval herbalist. I am assuming now  that the Herbier is in fact a poem rather than a herbal but, while I plan further research when there is time, I am becoming increasingly fond of the Heaney poem. Good things come from translation and well...from acknowledged  imitation.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Villiers St 2, keys, memory

Posted by PicasaLooking down on  Villiers Street: two heads and a bollard.

A man attending to his car has his car keys in him mouth like a dog hanging on to a stick.

 Though I now have her address, my memory being what it is, I can't remember the married name of an old friend who I have made contact with via email. All I can recall is that it is the name of a  minor 17th Century English poet. In desperation I repair to The Oxford Book of English Verse. There it is. Now I can address her properly on our Christmas card.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

feet, wag, different

Posted by PicasaOne of my favourite London streets is Villiers Streets, which runs from the Strand towards the Thames encountering Charing Cross underground station on the way. You can look down on the narrow street  from the walkway which leads from the pedestrian bridge over the river, into Charing Cross main line station. Vehicle traffic is now excluded from the street, where, according to a blue plaque, Rudyard Kipling once lived. From the walk-way you can look across at the buldings opposite and down on the heads and feet of pedestrians. There are worse ways of passing the time while waiting for the train to Tunbridge Wells.

I find myself walking behind a neighbour on his way through The Grove. I know him for a man who rarely looks to left or right. I suspect that he does not enjoy walking. He wants to get to where he is going and back, especially back,so that he can sit down comfortably at home. This morning he walks past a dog tethered by a red lead to the railings of the play area. It is the dog, part whippet, that I saw yesterday careering after squirrels. She is straining at her lead now, longing to be free. As my neighbour passes the dog she wags her tail as though by a reflex. But he doesn't notice. A minute later I stop to say hullo to the dog. It's owner waves from the swings where she is playing with her two children. "Hullo," she says to me.

"Everyone is different", says a woman to her child, as they come round a corner in front of me. "Yes," says the child.

Friday, December 10, 2010

gulls, chasing, smile

Posted by PicasaSeagulls, river gulls you might say, on the South Bank of the Thames opposite the foot bridge and railway bridge the lead over the river to Charring Cross Station.

In The Grove this morning an energetic dog races from one side of  the park to the other, chasing every squirrel and pigeon in sight. She misses a squirrel by inches. The squirrel scrambles up a tree. The dog yelps and scratches at the trunk. "She can't resist squirrels, " says he owner. Surprising for a creature with such energy, she is five years old. "She's part whippet, " says the owner, which explains the dog's astonishing speed.

While we are out yesterday, Parcel Force leaves a note to say that it had a delivery for us. The card which the driver left, instead of offering to redeliver, which is normal procedure, indicated that we had to collect the parcel from the Tunbridge Wells Post Office, at the other end of town and notorious for queues. Telephone calls to Parcel Force were greeted by a recorded voice which spoke of a conveyor breakdown (irrelevant) and made it clear that if you wanted your parcel, you had to go and pick it up yourself - a departure from usual practice. By the time I reach the post office, I am beginning to be cross, and become even crosser when I see the length of the queue. I see an employee carrying some parcels and ask him whether I have to queue to collect my parcel. "Yes," he says. Then seeing steam rising from under my hat, he says, "do you want to complain? "Yes," I say. But then, and here is the beautiful thing, I tell myself, "smile, what ever happens smile!" So I smile when the manager approaches. "You should be in the queue to collect your parcel," she says. I smile. "Tut tut, " I say. "You wouldn't want me to rejoin that long queue," I say. "And lo, she smiles, and says she will have a look for me. She does, the parcel appears, and suddenly my fury has faded with the fleeting compensation of a tiny victory.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

spider, sprouts, notes

Posted by PicasaIn mid air this spider is of the one which I photograph regularly because it is very common in these parts. I photograph it because, as an arachnophobe it helps me to let the animals know who is master.

Down to the vegetable garden to see if the pigeons have left us some sprouts for Christmas dinner. To my surprise, the "fairy cabbages" as my mother used to call them, are still intact on the stems, although the leaves and sprout tops have been shredded as have the few kale plants that were to supply us with vitamin C through the winter. The parsnips which I have also been hoping to use are meanwhile gripped by frost bound soil.

A day for transferring post-it notes, collected in a folder, in to appropriate note books. The system works through its irritation factor, The wretched little notes, many illegible, are a constant reproach to forgetfulness. Often I can't remember why I scribbled them in the first place, though I have learnt through bitter experience, to indicate their source. Putting them into notebooks makes me feel better, though I doubt if I shall read them again. It's the dictionary principle I suppose. All those words and you only ever want to look up a few of them. Writing  notesI suppose helps to imprint them on your memory, but my memory being what it is, I suspect that they will soon fade into the oblivion  even  after the repetition.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

odd, festive, cards

Posted by PicasaSeveral weeks ago we stayed at a hotel to attend an anniversary dinner. When I unpacked my dinner jacket I found that I had packed the left foot from one pair of shoes and the right from another. One pair, as this photo, shows,  employed laces, the other buckles. The chances are that no one other than Heidi noticed. 
I look back on the episode with a certain perverse pleasure.

In Chapel Place there is a banqueting room in a former school hall. It is a pleasant building, simply and elegantly restored. Through the window, I see  the room full of round tables set for a Christmas meal. The sight  of the white table-clothes, wine-glasses, china and silver and the  promise of imminent festivity, strikes  me as being almost better than the meal to come.

Today I begin to write Christmas cards. The first to be dealt with are for those who live abroad. Next come old people, because old people, among whom I must include myself, invariably send Christmas cards before younger and  busier people. Old people have an added incentive to send them to others of their generation, with whom they are not regularly in touch: the card becomes a tacit way of saying: "Hallo, I'm still alive. Are you?"

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

barrow, silence, crows

Posted by Picasa Up ended wheel barrow  in skip. The temptation is to spin the wheel.

After the snow has gone and the roads are almost back to normal  I find  myself longing for the unaccustomed  silence. The murmur of engines and the clatter of feet are back again. Normal service is resumed.

In The Grove, Mr and Mrs Crow are back in charge. Profiled against the few remaining patches of snow, their black shapes, pecking here and pecking there, look, in the grey light, like silhouettes

Monday, December 06, 2010

books, berries, dough

Posted by PicasaA mosaic of books on the South Bank of The Thames.

The three rowan trees in Berkeley Road, a few days ago, bright with orange berries, have been stripped bare, not a berry in sight. The gang of blackbirds meanwhile  largely responsible for the disappearance of the berries, are still around, searching the grass beneath the trees for any that may have fallen.

For the first time that I can remember the bread dough I had left to ferment did not rise. The starter which I had used had been in good fettle, foaming with life, and could not be blamed for the problem. The kitchen, where the radiators were not working, was clearly too cold to wake the yeast from what became a prolonged slumber.After transferring the dough to a warmer place, the yeast was still unmoving  and unmoved after 18 hours.
Rather than waste it I  put some brewers yeast in a cup, stir  it, wait until some bubbles appear and then, with a little more flour, mix it in to the inert dough. Heidi and I take it in turn to knead it, rather than rely this time on the food processor.  Six hours later the new dough rises proudly and after proving produces two large and beautiful loaves with a perfect, even crumb and crunchy crust. And that nutty slightly sour taste which you look for with long fermentation.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

skip, icicles, rose

Composition in a skip.
The icicles which were hanging from the climbing-rose outside the sitting room  window like  discrete Christmas  decorations, have melted away. While those which were hanging from the gutter have been crashing into the area outside the kitchen window.
A small red rose has flowered under the melting snow, preserved like something in a bowl of ice or presented like a sugar rose on the icing of a cake,

Saturday, December 04, 2010

shadow, priorities, studs

Posted by PicasaUp the wall. Portrait of the artist as an old man.

On the radio I hear  with pleasure and admiration the words of a World War 1 army officer quoted by his stepdaughter: "First you look after your men.Then you look after your horses. And then, if you have time, you look after yourself".

Last winter just at the time of the thaw following the heavy snow, we received  from Germany, a gift from Heidi's cousin,  consisting of two pairs of rubber mounted metal studs to fit over our shoes to wear in icy conditions. They were too late for that freeze. But this morning after last nights rain had frozen on the un-melted snow creating slippery conditions again, we venture forth, and march upright  over the icy paths of The Grove.

Friday, December 03, 2010

cabbage, arsenic, quiet

Posted by Picasa Tired of   the sight of snow for the moment I pick, for the sake of mutual warmth,  an ornamental cabbage from a file of recent photographs.

Sometimes I like to remind myself that all living things are composed of  the six chemical elements - oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur. Then, today I read of a bacterium subsisting on arsenic as a substitute for the phosphorus which is a neighbouring element on the Periodic Table. I can't help  feeling that  this addition makes the list of chemical building blocks of which  we are formed, a little less comforting.

The quiet is something wonderful. Few vehicles pass and the sound of  those that do is muffled by the compacted  snow beneath their wheels. Meanwhile the cars parked beside the curb, as if ashamed of their presence, cower beneath vast cowls  of snow, while icicles hang from their radiators, like drips from the nose of a careless old man.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

cat, recognition, tracks

Posted by Picasa Cat in an upstairs window. Has it a bird's eye view?

Once again the cold weather people go about the town, veiled by scarfs and hoods and upturned collars, so that  you ignore even your nearest neighbours because you do not recognise them.

The view from our bedroom window this morning is dazzling; there are great helmets of snow on pillars and shrubs, and for the time being, a pristine blanket of snow on the road, unmarked by vehicle tire or human foot. Only the track of the dog fox that Heidi saw last night, leads across the road to where it vanishes between the railings of the house opposite. "Just where I saw it go", she says.  On the telephone wire level with the top of our window, meanwhile, a blackbird settles and after contemplating the scene, flies off, leaving the wire, swinging up and down, like a plucked string.