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Showing posts from September, 2014

The Far End Of Early Autumn

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Saturday, Northcott Mouth Beach
Wellies are dragged off, after the climb over barnacled rocks.
One day, this beachcomber thinks, that hunched cliff will stick out legs, the cave mouth will shut, the land will swim into the ocean.
Bare feet slip into sand, that finely ground metaphor for time. Dogs run and surfers sing, sliding down rock slopes, hopping over stones, splashing happy to the cool clean barrels.
Sunday, Exmouth
Little Grandson gets strong by eating cabbage. His baby brother waves a Yorkshire pudding, yells triumphant. He has cheeks like a moon, like Old Gilbert, theres a photo of Gilbert smiling I remember: the same moon beam from both faces. In the highchair Baby Girl twirls broccoli in her curls. Out of the highchair she not only walks but marches and spins and performs a most graceful collapse-in-angst. She is drawn to Great-Granma’s pearls. Spectacles have the same enticement of shine but one is told no, again! Baby Boy shoots past in his walker. Pee-yow! He has a bum…

A Farmyard Faux Pas

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Cows turn their angled heads to lean through the bars. Little Granddaughter holds an open hand up to their raspy tongues and unnerves them with the pitch of her delight. They are getting used to her though, they soon settle to it. She repeats that she loves all of them and especially that one and this one and all of them.
‘We need to get shovelling,’ Granma reminds. The dung pile is on the opposite side of the yard. Granma has forgotten to put her boots on but it’s a dry hot sort of autumn day. Dry dung dust skitters in a warm breeze. They haul bags and a spade and a small gardening fork out of the car to begin. Little Granddaughter sticks her miniature fork gamely into a dung globe and tips it into the first bag.
‘That’s hard work,’ she says, rubbing her back. ‘Phew-ee.’
Granma has ten bags to fill. She smiles.
‘We can go and see the cows again in a minute,’ the little one decides. She prongs another dung ball in.
Granma has the spade. She is thinking about the sound of the spade on…

Tales From The Tenets And Other News

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It’s all over Facebook and Twitter (on my accounts if not all) so it is time perhaps to speak of it here too.
Tales From The Tenets.
You will most likely be familiar with the concept of a tale. A tenet is essentially a principle, a guideline, you may know this also. These eponymous tenets are known to many Tae Kwon Do practitioners, being in common use as rules to live by. Courtesy Integrity Perseverance Self Control and Indomitable Spirit! We spin them out like a chant as we explain them to our new students/remind regular students why they are doing those apology press ups. But how to make our mantra stick? How to show these rules are to make you a good person, how to explain that good people are happy people without sounding like this: blahblah do-as-you’re-told blahblah be a sheep baa baaa? You could try telling some tales, of course.
Ronko The Rude Clown, for example. He has such selfish mean behaviour that he can’t even be bothered with personal hygiene and as a result of this he…

Early Start, With Ear Flip

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The warm night wind blew round and round till it circled to a faraway storm. 
Morning comes, and mist settles over the river. It makes shadow puppet scenery with our horizons and the sun is a creamy blaze.
Dog wakes reluctant, obedient. Me too. 
I put on my running shoes: she sighs: I know. 
Both of us will pad to the lane. We will breathe in musty farmyard, sour-fresh hedge, damp tarmac, we will feel the air, humid, moderate. Reluctance sheds off, I know it does.
We pad to the lane, breathe in. 
The sequence occurs as expected, as previously experienced. The way Dog looks, an ear flip, a jaunty tongue, is firsthand delight. Untrammelled. We run.
Some of it is plod and grumble. Some of it is pure sprint: uphill: steeply uphill. Some of it is stretch-the-legs (walking for a bit, whilst maintaining a mindset of running, which may or may not be cheating but at least is still moving.) All of it under this sky. 

Of Sticks And Fish

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With eight fruit bearing trees a garden officially becomes an orchard: we have fifteen planted now. Eight are the new hand reared damsons. They look barely more than twigs, too slender to survive. But I remember that the cherry was dog mauled (she thought it actually was a stick, ate most of the bark) and thrived. It was the most productive fruiter this summer although the cheeky blackbird ate all but two of the cherries. There is no knowing, only doing and thus with wry grins we had collected from our neighbours; marched it, one at each heavy corner; their old bath. This will be my new water garden and may even house a fish. For now it is a perfect nook for lolling and reading and the occasional visit from a spaniel. It is so comfortable, slumped, dozy, watching the washing blow: a warm wind brushing my forehead: eyes could close here and open anywhere, it has a portal feel to it, a comfortable portal reflecting sunlight. Perhaps it would purpose as a garden chaise longue, or should …

An Unsolved Sum

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This morning’s mist lingers as though it had forgot where it meant to go. It worries itself to a warmish haze. Some of the cows lie down, similarly bemused. The hedgerows’ first rush of abundance is cooler, slower. In the stone shed a deep freeze rumbles, thumping cold at boxed windfalls till they ice: it will take a day or two and the apple press needs fixing. Meanwhile holes are dug for damson saplings that have each been raised from foraged fruit, that have been pushing out of pots with longing roots. In the back field maize grows unreasonably tall, it spikes up over the hawthorn trees. It whispers not words but feelings and enticements, it calls to the story in us. We want to know where it goes, of course, that story-path that is the sum of work and nature.




Of Leaves And Socks And Banana Soup

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Across the car park a few leaves scuffle noncommittally. They are new to this, their movements unsynchronised, lightly wooden. Out of lit streets cars roll, caught slow in lines behind combines, trundling hay lorries. Headlights strobe variant shapes in roadside foliage, a country road rendering of the Northern Lights.
Clear night, misty morning, sun and cloud afternoon.
The weather pattern repeats but the heat fades. On an organised day a washing load will dry on the line.
Little Granddaughter visits. She loves her expedition collecting dung for the garden, down by the cowshed. She friends the cows, liking this one best, then that one, then ten all at once but only because she only has that many fingers but she loves them all and babies, she loves babies too.
Indoors she plays a game of doing her work, which is writing, making soup and picking up the dog’s poo. Outdoors she raids the tomatoes and makes her own rainbows with hosepipe water. Indoors she helps Granma cook up chicken i…

A Well Dressed Chap Leaves Home

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Every morning is mist. Afternoons simmer till we float poached, feeling lazy, strangely refreshed. Down at the river summer lingers, trailing hot fingers in the water. A wade out will become a swim. The mud stirs up but the sun turns it topaz-gold: it will be the leaves next. Everything will cool down but the treetops will blaze.

On Sunday evening we lit a fire. The Chap brought out his wooden ship, the one he built so carefully as a boy, the one with tiny balsa planes and a fine layer of dust and cobweb. He brought out his bottle of dark rum. One ceremonial tip of rum went on the ship, one went into his mouth. A fir branch flared the flames: onto the fire went the beloved replica. We watched, we let it go.

For no particular reason I think of one afternoon when the electricity had run out. My son was four years old or thereabouts. It was autumn, perhaps that’s the reason. We had a key meter for the electric, the key could be recharged with cash at the local garage. I had put on my favo…

Sunflower Moment

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This picture is for the memory of Tina Downey, with whom I no more than shared a few emails and the fun of a few A-Z blog challenges. She loved sunflowers and was as cheerful as these scatty petals. I am sorry for her loss. I hope a legacy of cheerfulness is some comfort to her family and friends. Those of us who knew her briefly through blogging are posting pictures of sunflowers today in tribute  to a bright soul. If you have lost someone who made you smile this is for you too. Cheerfulness and love endure. 



Coffee And Cold Waters

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Overnight a coverlet of mist soothes thirsty fields, settles restless limbs with its skilled easing of heat. After a long sleep weariness is loathe to leave. Coffee is the answer, probably. The kettle is filled. Yawning goes with stretching: why is that? Strength 5 the packet announces. Full bodied, robust. That should rout the weariness, of which we are bored: this is inevitable. Tired people have little patience. Somewhere nearby a cow snorts. And we lack concentration, probably. Or decisiveness? Several more nasal expulsions follow. We drink coffee and pretend that bovines do not care for colder weather. They will not miss the horsefly bites though, no more than we will. Perhaps the snort was aimed at the back of summer? Their derisiveness is in vain for the sun soon burns away mist and makes hard cakes from mud.
Yesterday was bright with summer colours from the start. Little Granddaughter stomped welly boots to the riverside; nettle-stung, unphased, she stopped to pick a dock leaf…

A Box Of New Dimensions

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All new worlds bring opportunity for bravery. Here I am, typing on a silver sliver in yesterday’s same cramped office so the sensation of standing as though at the opening of a breathtakingly vast airlock to discover a new world is disproportionate, somewhat… Microcosmic, I settle for that explanation. My tiny world navigates and connects with The Future World. There should be no barriers now, all communication should flow, just as soon as I work out which buttons to press. All new worlds also bring burdens of learning which can alter one’s perception of the journey. Overall one must chant something inspirational along the lines of:
This is by choice
This is my journey
This is not actual space travel with limited oxygen
Time is finite for people so get on with it
Cool view
Remember why you started.
Not beautifully phrased but workable. This new machine that I have unpackaged, plugged in, lumped a load of untidy files onto is a continuation of a choice made on how I would spend my time…