Saturday, 27 June 2015

The Rather Nice Show

Homewards, driving, the film of existence is over exposed. Gold-glare where the road should have been. It has a thickness, this light, a liquidity. We are swallowed in it, guessing the route. We guess close enough, close enough to get home unscathed.
Half a moon hangs in the sky there, a lace clad performer waiting for applause.
All the blue deepens.
The sun dips to a spotlight, gives the moon centre stage.
A bottle of champagne crouches in the fridge.
A note from Houseguest Ben, out at his Leavers’ Day celebrations, is propped over the oven: I had seen him earlier, suited and booted, off to have fun.
We are to have a glass of champagne, he says, a thank you, he says: if there’s any left could he have another glass, it is rather nice.
A toast we drink, to all of our children and all of their guests.
Whatever else is achieved, is a script to be interpreted, is our encore.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Whale Visuals

Here are photographs of the revisited former Fin Whale, with apologies to anyone who finds this gruesome. It would be more fabulous to see it live and swimming wild. Grandchild 2, although impressed by the size of bones, mostly found it stinky. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Whale Scent

There was a time I was smaller than this. Barefoot, summer-frocked, home-cut hair. If were lucky, smelling like cheap ice pops. It was one of those times I followed my father along the seawall. The storm had passed, it was warm, the tide halfway. My father, who photographed everything; I don’t recall him holding a camera. Everything I remember smelt like clean salt and beach heated seaweed; perhaps because it was fresh. The whale was fresh. We were empty handed. This memory opens like a box of that fresh sea air, streams out, tidal, blue-green. We are tiny, perched over a rock. Below us the whale carcass looks, mournful, out to the ocean. It cannot go home. It is oblivious to my awe, to being an  object of awakening. The oceans are That Big. Nature is immense. Above us, sky, space. We are tiny, perched in time, perched in space.
I was four, maybe five years old. Forty years ago.
And here, on Wansonmouth Beach, I am walking, barefoot. My daughter cuts my hair and I forget what colour it is now. I have always been her hair-dolly. Dog runs by, doing her dog smiles. The tide is halfway, dragging surf all up my trousers. I follow a sand line through the small rocks that poke your instep. A storm, I am thinking, has uncovered that rock, for I don’t recall it. Gulls sit all over it. It must be warm. The air is warm, though it is raining. I don’t have a camera. I carry my shoes and a flask of coffee. The rock is not a rock, it looks like a pile of tarpaulins. Only sticking up through the fabric and sand are vast vertebrae, as big as my grown-up head. Recognisable only by bones, I have found a beached whale. Dog rolls at its periphery.
It smells, not like a land mammal would. No sweet-sickness. It’s like… maybe if you take the earth element from a dry cowpat and soak it in ancient seaweed oil?
Pleasant and unpleasant in equal parts.
One does not necessarily want ones dog to smell thus.
Called away, she follows over to what is a skull, not a pale boulder. Bare of flesh, it has the same smell.
‘You are far from your body.’ I whisper; agog at the hole where the vertebrae would have connected. The structure, the engineering of it, like an iron ship. ‘But you are facing the sea.’
I stand behind it, watching Dog play in the white water, watching the rise of the waves.
That rich oil-salt smell: the sky above.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Pea Blossoms

Tractors rumble, back and forth to the field where a wind turbine will be installed. The dirt they carry has an orange cast, looks iron rich, but today they dig the earth to harvest the weather.
Some loathe the turbine blades whirring in the landscape: not me. A blend of sleek futuristic styling and eco friendliness, to a girl who would live in a cave but keep the wifi?
A cool wind swoops, the sun plays blaze and hide, clouds take interplanetary sizes. Our seedlings cling in the ground, dazzled. The taller plants only know that they have made it this far, no one is an expert. The peas have an exuberant way of growing: throw as they grow and curl and climb, experimental, without regrets.
Like a tumble of pea blossoms, our grandchildren at play; Grandchild 3 has her second birthday: the diary is checked because it seems she has been here longer: but do we remember not having any of them? How the present can alter one’s perception of the past!
Grandchild 3 has a fine sense of purpose. She runs through the trees, away from the picnic.
‘Come back,’ call her parents, her aunts, her uncles, her grandparents, her cousins.
‘No.’ Are we idiots, not to see that she is busy?
She laughs and laughs when her mother runs to fetch her.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Coffee After Work

A working wheel on your wheelbarrow makes a difference. Three loads I had brought with the flat tyre, and satisfaction had balanced difficulty. But with a pumped new tyre, nine loads flew up from the horse field today. The newest raised bed is nearly filled, is covered with pots where we decide what will take root where. A working wheel is better, though the lack of it enhanced the joy of having.
I am learning to love ease. To sit back after the work and admire. In the polytunnel the squashes and the melons have their handmade frames, and I have a mug of coffee.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Summer Is Uncertain, As Expected

Summer’s first month arrives with its two weather predictions: a drought will come - or relentless rain. The first thirteen hours hold dry, though the air is heavy-humid and the wind skitters in the manner of an overtired child. 

Down comes the windbreak, blown flat.

Grandchild 2 breaks from learning to skip. It’s cold. We go indoors to eat peanut butter.
(She is tired from her weekend party. She loves all her presents. She loved the candle on her cake, it was a number four. She loved the cake but she didn’t eat any except the horn of the pink icing unicorn and a sugar daisy.)

A small storm visits our cottage gardens.
Next door’s gazebo is brought down, bunting flapping on the grass like bright triangular fish.
Our tallest broad bean is bent over the side of the raised bed, it looks seasick.
Later today I will tie it back up. 

We never know the weather, I will say, until our faces are in it, and however set it seems, it always changes.
The plants all know this, of course, I will really be reminding myself.