Friday, September 30, 2011

shadows Mum swinging

Posted by PicasaShadows walking in Sitges.

Man in 30s on mobile: "This is a temporary number." Pause " No a temporary number".  Pause  "Who else is going to  call you 'Mum'?"

A magpie in the afternoon sun perches on a TV aerial. I reach for my  camera and look again. It has flown. The aerial swings in the still air.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

balcony designer pepper

Posted by PicasaBalcony in Sitges with shadow and wiring.

Magazines nowadays are packed with articles and advertisements about designer goods, items to which someone relatively famous has attached his or her name. Plutarch, not to be left out, proudly announces the first items from designer range: The Plutarch Safety Pin - it is made of simulated rust which will invariably attract attention if that is what you want; Plutarch chewing gum - the wad in rainbow colours will transform the street where you live in the event of your dropping  wads on to the pavement; The Plutarch hair brush for completely bald men - the bristles are soft enough not to scratch but hard enough to stimulate the flow of blood to the brain.  Watch this space for the Plutarch megaphone, which transforms the voice into a high pitched and enduring scream.

In the greenhouse, a green pepper, dark green almost black, beginning to turn red, a fruit which I have not grown before and which will shortly be incorporated in a ratatouille.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

beer cucumbers pregnant

Posted by Picasa Reflections in a glass of beer.  Memory of the first beer of our holiday now receding into the past.

Among the vegetables which I have not grown before or at least recently, are thick, prickly, ridge- cucumbers. They have been prolific this year and I have  been dispersing them to all and sundry. They are full of flavour and juice, nothing like greenhouse grown supermarket cucumbers.

At a table outside The Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill, a young woman, who moves a chair to another table responds to an older woman's admonition "you mustn't carry anything," "I'm pregnant. I'm not ill."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

evening fuse lifting

Posted by Picasa Sea shore Sitges in evening sun.

Behind me in the street an angry voice charges the air with spurious energy. A man is marching forward while talking loudly into his mobile. "I've sent email after email," he says, "can you please respond. Because I haven't had any response." "Calm down, sir, calm down," I want to say. But I enjoy the edge of  the drama as he strides round the corner, still in full voice.

What could be more rewarding than lifting Picasso potatoes (now my preferred variety of main crop even over King Edwards), on an Autumn morning with the mist just  beginning to dissolve in the sun.

Monday, September 26, 2011

shadow Indian hotwater bottle

Posted by Picasa Shadow of a cyclist.

After the warmth of Spain and with memories of a grey and damp July and August, how welcome is this Indian Summer with temperatures of 25 deg forecast, which greets us on our return. In the garden: abundance. Seldom can mellow fruitfulness have been so mellow.

In the window of the charity bookshop a displays of items found inside donated books. |Among them a note which reads: "Be careful hotwater bottle in your bed."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

cloud goose lighter

Posted by Picasa Although in my memory our holiday was cloudless there was one afternoon when the weather became interesting and cloud formations built up to be photographed.

Bill tells us outside the pub how one day walking with his wife on a beach in Spain he saw some geese penned up behind chicken wire on the edge of the sand. For some reason the notice in English pinned to the wire remained in his mind: "Do not food the goose."

Geoff has a Zippo lighter which reminds me of distant days when I used to smoke and possessed one myself. Examining it I realize that it is one of those  simple objects of which the design seems impossible to better. Rectangular in shape it has not changed for decades,  replacing its wadding, flints and wick as ever part of the pleasure of using it. It doesn't blow out in the wind and there is invariably the smell of petrol when click it into flame, for some a disadvantage, for others part of the charm. It is still made in Bradford, Pennsylvania, where the company was launched in 1932.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

cemetary hunting ripeness

Posted by Picasa Now for more holiday snaps. They will appear here in the next few days as I continue to go through them. Here is another dove this time resting on a tomb in the cemetery at Sitges.

From the balcony I set about reviving the series of photographs of shadows which occurred almost by chance last year when I reversed shots I had taken of people walking on the beach or  sea front so that the shadow assumed more significance than the substance. Pedestrians and dogs there are in plenty passing below, but I am looking for a cyclist and his shadow. I hang on in the same way I suppose that  a wild life photographer hopes for a particular animal to come to a watering hole where he lies in wait.

At the Farmers' Market this morning I buy some apples from a stall, where I young man offers me apples. I ask for the crispest. "Cox's," he says. " I tell him that local farms in the old days would not think of picking Cox's until until October and preferably until there had been a frost. "When I was a child," I say, " they used to shake Cox's to see if they rattled and only then, would they be regarded as ripe." "Funny," he says, "there was a man here the other day who said that when they rattled they weren't eating." It occurs to me that the young man at the stall and his previous interlocutor will almost certainly never have bitten into a Cox's apple that has ripened on the tree, and tasted as the juice spurts out, its magical blend of musty sweetness and acidity.

Friday, September 23, 2011

collared gum skate

 Before leaving for Sitges I photographed these collared doves (top picture) in The Grove. In Sitges collared doves live in the date palms outside our window. Here is one of them.  With their soft, browny grey feathers, they are among the prettiest of birds. So different from their coarse pigeon cousins.

According to the Keep Britain Tidy Campaign, 20 million people in the UK chew more than 935 million packs of gum every year. Such a fact if it is true could come in useful.

The sea front in Sitges is still in my mind. A young man on a skate board appears to be pulled along by the Alsatian dog that he holds on a lead. If the dog is not pulling him he has only to gently with one foot at rare intervals even as the slope of the promenade begins to become steeper.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

boots parakeets garden

For my birthday I receive a pair of boots of which the soles are made with the same material as Pirelli rubber tyres. When I come to wear them I will know what it is like to be a car.

From the balcony I hear and see parakeets flashing past among the palm fronds.

Our friend, Artur tells us that the garden of his house where we dined recently, though by no means extensive, in the days when it belonged to his grandparents, housed a pig and some chickens and was used to cultivate a variety of vegetables. A contrast with the raked gravel and bubbling pool which we enjoyed in his company the other day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

e-reader, closure, laughter

It is no almost a year since I have owned a Kindle e-reader. When using it, as I do nearly every day, I miss the substance of a book, a book´s texture  and specific weight, the presence of it distinctive cover and of the various inscriptions permanently present on the cover. Above all I miss the sense of a book´s size in relation to its content.  On the other hand, the Kindle renders book marks unneccessary; it opens where you left off reading. It allows you to highlight passages, and mark pages and provides facilities to take notes. Notes and highlights are listed, can be found easily and you can move easily from these to the original place in the text. And, as I am just about to discover you can transfer documents - an entire novel for example written by a friend an submitted for inspection - on to it from your computer.

Somebody has removed the shirt and pair of shoes which I referred to yesterday from its ominous position at the edge of the sea. It must have been there for at least 36 hours. Perhaps the owner returned for them. Perhaps the men who sweep the beach took them away. The mystery remains. The story has no ending. I will not use the word  "closure" so widely used nowadays. There is no closure. There never is.

As I have done now for the last few years I am using the computer which is here,fo r the use of hotel guests, on the reception desk. It can be distracting but it also informative, as the constant coming and going of guests and would-be visitors keeps me up to date with the state of the hotel´s affairs. Today there is a conference in progress in one of the two conference rooms off the lobby. It reminds me, with no sense of nostalgia whatsoever, of conferences I used to have to attend in the distant days when I worked for a living. Just now a burst of laughter, followed after a pause, by another, recalls the release of  energy afforded by a welcome break in the tedium. Oh that tedium, the longing to be out at play!

Monday, September 19, 2011

mystery gliding preparation

Last year we saw a girl lying face down on the sand a couple of feet from the edge of the sea. Her handbag lay beside her and her chestnut hair was spread about her head. She seemed to be alive but there was something worrying or perhaps tragic about the way she lay. After an hour or more we drew her to the attention of the pharmacist whose shop faces the beach. He called the police, who we saw in conversation with the girl on the promenade a few minutes later. She seemed in good shape in voluble conversation using her hands expressively. We later came to realize that she was completely deaf and that she was lying on the beach to capture through their vibration the sound of the waves.
Yesterday we notice first thing in the morning a check shirt and a pair of men´s sandals almost precisely in the same spot, just above the tide line. There is nearly always one or two people swimming at this early hour. So, although we can make no connection between this apparel and a specific person in the water, we are not concerned. The sea is completely calm. What is disturbing is that the pile remains there all day, all night and so far all of today. Its position is clearly such that it arouses no suspicion until  you note the length of time that it is there. Will it remain there until a higher tide washes the clothes and shoes away? You would have thought that someone other than ourselves would have noticed.  I must now tell someone.

Tonight beyond the table where we are dining skateboarders glide past profiled agains the dark of the sea and the sky, lit only by the light from the restaurant. The paving stones are smooth; the sound of the boards seem no more than a murmur. Illuminated shadows.

A pleasure to watch local people getting ready for the day. There is a woman who sets out sun beds on the beach for those who want to grill themselves; the men who sweep the sand; the restaurateurs who arrange their tables and lay them for breakfast. We are part of a working community, and help as we can by consuming rolls and coffee after our swim.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

freedom, gardener, routine

Early this morning there is no one on the beach other than a couple, not too conspicuously but conspicuously enough, making love. A blanket is at any rate, conspicuously, an inadequate shelter for their activities. The man, tall and thin, has his hair tinted with blond highlights; the woman is slight with longish hair. Both are modestly tatooed if tatoos can be modest. But there is nothing modest about the man´s accessories which consist of one large ear ring and two nipple rings. There are bands on his wrist which look as though they are made from used car tyres.
After a while they move into the sea and they are still there in a corner of the shore when we go down to swim. That might be the end of the story except that when we go for our second swim before lunch they appear again. Both this time are wearing bikinis, the lower part that is. They are in the shallow water and are caressing enthusiastically, she with her legs wrapped about him. It is in this state that he carries her from the water.
The beach is now crowded, it being Sunday, and the couple are lost to sight among seated, mostly family groups. When we return to our towels we find that they have settled a few feet from where we are sitting. But there is a surprise. The towel, which they have spread on the sand, is shared with a boy, aged perhaps 10 or 11. Most surprising is that, where as the couple are tanned beneath their tatoos, the boy is pale in colour and apparently unexposed to the sun. Beside him on the sand is a Barcelona FC cap, the shape of cap which English schoolboys used to wear when I was his age. He seems quite happy and clearly belongs to one of the lovers. But in what capacity it is hard to discern. The man is almost too young to be his father and the woman would have been be young indeed to have been his mother. They are so absorbed in one another that you get the feeling, whatever is relationship, the boy is de trop.
That too might be the end of the story. Except that later they turn up at the restaurant outside of which we are lunching. The boy is seated with them. Soon a party of Chinese, (the now prosperous Chinese which we are beginning to see in Europe), arrange themselves on two tables next to the lovers (as we now call them) and the boy. The Chinese are happy sharing a "Spanish". They have a Barcelona FC beach ball, which after a while, they present to the lovers and the boy. The want a photograph of them with the boy holding the ball. They all exchange high fives. They take their photos and before leaving  present the ball to the boy.  Before long the lovers and the boy are playing with the ball beside their table punching it into the air, agile and enthusiastic about the sport as earlier the lovers were about osculation. . The boy if he was bored before is no longer bored.  We decide that we like them as much as we enjoy the theater. And there we must leave them several questions unanswered. At least for the moment

Alberto Bigairre, the propietor  of Costa d´Oro, our favourite restaurant here, is in his eighties. He grows exotic flowers like strelitzia and hibiscus  in his garden, and arranges them in vases on the tables outside the restaurant. Today, pride of place goes to something called mano de deo, hand of God. It looks like a plastic utensil, a large white basin, inside which resides a stamen a bit like a bottle brush. This plant, as well as others, has its photograph on one of the walls of the restaurant, as other restaurants may hang photos of film stars, which they claim among their clientele. Tomorrow I ahve promised to help Alberto order  by telephone some rare carnations from an English nursery in Sussex.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

waving, puppet, treasure

Among the regular walkers by the edge of the sea this morning is a woman in a swimsuit and a straw hat. Everyday it is the same. To and fro from one end of the gently curving, sandy beach to the other - 350 meters perhaps - the walkers perform their daily ritual, to which they often add personal variations. This woman, plump but not fat, wobbling no more beneath her costume than the accretions of years, allow for, walks without affectation except that every few steps she shoots one arm up in the air bringing her hand down on to the crown of her hat, then a few steps later does the same with the other arm. She might be waving to somebody or to several people except that her eyes are fixed directly in front of her. I count the number of steps she takes between arm movements, and from their irregular variations conclude that she is no manic obsessive, though I can´t help wondering if, for taking the trouble to count, perhaps I am.

Again this morning before breakfast  the sun makes a golden path in the sea which I follow as I swim. I turn and swim on my back kicking up golden sparks leaving the sun´s path behind me.  I feel as the song used to go, like a puppet on a string.

After the beach cleaners this morning comes a man with a metal detector searching for buried treasure or lost coins or perhaps memories.

Friday, September 16, 2011

early Zen repetition

Before breakfast the sea is calm, the sun low in the cloudless sky. The water is tranparent. Where I am swimming there is a golden track leading east to west by which to navigate. For a brief moment an arc of silver sparks rises out of the sea and descends again like a dolphin;  it is a school of small fishes, just a few feet away from me.

Last night  we dine with friends in their garden. They are Catalan but the language of the garden is Japanese, Zen to be precise. The gravel is raked daily and a small fountain bubbles with a tranquil sound. In the still air two candles flicker. We discuss haiku, haiku in English and French. "Here", he says, "haiku is translated from the Japanese into English or French rather that directly into Spanish". Artur is an archer as well as a painter and sculptor.

From the balcony I watch different  people walking from one end of the little beach called La Playa de San Sebastian, and back. And some which I recognise from last year. There is a woman standing up to her ankles in the sea. She stands perfectly still but sways from the waist and moves her arms according to the rules of what must be an oriental exercise system. At times her arms are raised directly above her head as though in an act of worship.  Another long-legged health addict uses the elegant, stainless steel railings above the beach as an exercise bar. She places one leg on top leaning towards her foot, and repeats the routine with the other leg. For a moment it is like a ballet school.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

accepted swallows clinging

Three rejections in a row  in the last year or so from Qarrtsiluni, the internet arts magazine, confirmed my respect for its standards. All the more intense, then, my satisfaction when I receive today an email accepting my latest contribution on the current broad theme of worship.

Standing up to my waist in the calm sea in perfect weather I remember on a previous occasion on the same beach, at the same time of year, watching swallows swoop low over the water around me. Where are they today? I ask myself. And suddenly, as if in response to my thoughts, swallows arrive out of the blue.

In Tunbridge Wells in recent weeks we have invariably crossed the road to find the sun and a little warmth.  Here we cross the road and cling to the shade to keep cool, on the shady side of the street.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

abandoned Jack Russell meridian

"Destined to be a modern classic"
Fantastic Labour boom-years comedy"
"Incredibly moving"
"Warm-hearted , funny, endearing"
"You´d be hard pressed to find a sharper, sweeter romantic comedy this year than the story of Dex and em".
 Just a few of the many quotes which adorn the cover of the paperback.The book is called One Day. Reader, I abandoned it at page 69.  It is based on a  good idea. Snapshots of two people on the same day of the year, over a period of 20 years.
My problem is that I can find no sympathy for the characters. A silly, conceited man; an intelligent woman, not unattractive who falls for him and appears to remain in that condition, losing sympathy and credulity in the process.  I revel in the moment of freedom -I should add that I seldom abandon books half way through - which follows my decison  to stop reading this acknowledged best seller, just made into a film!

 On the seafront a Jack Russell pushes a ball with its nose controlling its direction with the skill of a professional footballer over about 50 yards Throw a ball to one of this breed and it will hare after  it and catch it on the first or second bounce like a cricketer in the outfield. But to see one dribbling with the certitude of a great winger on the right side of the touch line, is something else. Then I remember that the best football team in the World, Barcelona is just down the road.

As we negotiate a roundabout on the outskirts of East Grinstead the taxi driver says: "Some useless information for you: the Greenwich meridian passes through the middle of this roundabout." As a collector of useless information I copy it straight into my note book and from my notebook to this post, an inspiring beginning to a change of scene.

Monday, September 12, 2011

landscape brolley bus

Posted by Picasa Where did I see this cloth spread out like a landscape? I can't remember, but the more I crop the photograph the more interesting it becomes. Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new.

"Don't forget your brolley" says a woman to her husband at the bank counter". Brolley is not a word widely used nowadays. Today starts with rain and wind. Wet leaves are pressed into the wet pavement. In the rubbish bins in The Grove  are broken umbrellas, abandoned by their owners, with their ribs sticking out at angles. Umbrellas, though, not brolleys. Brolley owners, I think of as frugal people who repair rather than discard.

Bus-travel has its charms most of them slight, but consoling in their way. Today, the doors open at the bus stop and a woman gets on. You think she is going to pay her fare at the window where the driver sits. But she doesn't. She kisses the driver. They exchange a word or two and she leaves.  "See you later," says the driver. And so the world goes round.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

eye beech hurricane

Posted by Picasa An eye on The Eye which watches over London.

Weather warnings have been issued of gales of 80 mph in Scotland and the North of England, vestiges of Hurricane Katya, which devastated much of the East coast of the USA last week.  Down here, meanwhile it is windy, no more than windy. In the windscreen of a car I fancy I see skeins of smoke unfurling. Only it isn't smoke. It is the reflection of a white cloud breezing across this afternoon's blue sky.

Underfoot in The Grove, the beech mast crunches and crackles. It is dry and  brittle. Not a nut remains in the opened shells. I remember as a child enjoying these slight and delicate packets. As usual round here,  the squirrels get there first.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

deception endearment, lord

Posted by Picasa Garden path in our little patch of garden. It is very short, only about 8ft long, has  potted herbs growing under the hedge,  and a narrow bed to the right and a wall which descends to a terraced bed below. It looks better than it is, but I am pleased with it nevertheless.  Until I changed it, there used to be here a steeply sloping bank of earth  leading up from an area outside the basement to the bottom of the hedge.

In a list of French terms of endearment (man to woman) are biche, doe; and crotte, dropping or in plain language turd.

Danny Moon who comes to the pub from time to time is in good form today. He shows us his bank card with his name embossed on it. He is, according to the card, Lord Danny Moon. Apparently he bought a square metre of a Scottish island  last year which brought the title with it. He gave his bank the evidence and they issued him with new cards. He says, a check out girl at Tesco asked him how he got the title. "I gave £2 million to a charity," he told her. "Have you got any left?" said the girl. "It made me laugh all the way home," he says.

Friday, September 09, 2011

sow thistle helmet question

By the wayside, sow thistles and other plants which grow fortuitously and  pass as "weeds"  often improve on close scrutiny.
In a programme on BBC 4 about the history of Pathé News and its documentary films, last night we see clips from a  Sixties film about four girls on motor scooters driving into the hold of a cargo plane, crossing The Channel and driving off for a quick tour of the French countryside. It is noteworthy is that they are not wearing crash helmets. The point is the ease and freedom of modern travel.  A contrast to  traffic on the paths of The Grove where nippers no taller than their fairy bikes and push scooters, are adorned with helmets as though they are going to war.

A squirrel nose down in the grass is nibbling at something tasty. Its tail, balancing it  like a question mark, rises overhead..

Thursday, September 08, 2011

tortoise, top deck, greeting

Posted by Picasa On the look out. When I examine the photograph I spot the similarity between the tortoise's head and the head of a bird, which I didn't notice when taking the photograph. I  can also admire the polish and the wear and tear evident on the creature's carapace, something I also missed when I was fussing with the camera.

On my way back from Sevenoaks the bus, usually nowadays, a single-decker is a double decker bus today. I ride on the top deck from where I can look over hedges into fields and down on top of bus shelters.

In Sutherland Road two young women appear to greet me: "Hello. How are you?" I don't recognise them but that often happens nowadays. People, sheltering behind similar haircuts and clothing,  tend to look the same  I make appropriate noises, but not too obviously.  Just as well. In fact I am unaware that a friend of theirs is just a few steps behind me. I walk on, somehow relieved as the street explodes in a chorus of exclamations.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

fishing, food, random

Posted by Picasa Fishing has its attractions undoubtedly. I have tried it and felt the hope and the thrill of a catch. But there is part of me that doesn't like the idea of killing any fish or animal when you are not hungry and in need of a meal. Isaak Walton whose book on fishing I have admired rather than read in detail, meanwhile has nothing to say about boredom. Obviously he never experienced it while fishing.

In the dentist's waiting room a tetchy, elderly woman enters shepherded by her solicitous son. "Now where are you going to sit?" he asks. "Not there, it's too high..."Here?" That's too scratchy".  Having seated her he says: "What do you want to read?" "I don't want anything to read." "Yes you do. How about this?"  "No, that's about food. I don't like food."

I don't often look back over the list of three titles with which I habitually headline these posts. I have always allowed the random to prevail and enjoyed the unplanned contrast of subject matter side by side by side, which adds to the pleasure I get from noting daily life in this idiosyncratic way. But the irrational flow of subjects catches my eye and I have a little kick of satisfaction at the apparent craziness of juxtaposition, rubbish blown by the wind into a meaningless heap of discrete meanings.
The last 12 set of heading (starting with the earliest) are as follows;
hollow barking window
tiles wagtail difference
feet flying screaming
peeling Frisbee madness
pears crow shopping
petals free connected
open unlucky Burgundy
apple purple icecream
apple festival heels
leaf Frisbee enough
courgette surprise value
promenade smile herbs

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

promenade, smile, herbs

Posted by Picasa The same stretch of promenade in St Leonards has become for me a sort of stage where little plays are performed by unsuspecting players. Plays? Or real life actions:  inconsequential or who knows, profoundly consequential.

The difference between laughing and smiling. In the foreword to  Claude Gagnière's Pour tout l'or des mots, the author writes:"It seems that today people smile less and less often and laugh more and more.   'The smile is wise and sensitive; the laugh mad and insensitive.' ... Laughter is an explosion, liberating in its irruption a force constrained.  It is no more than a reflex, often collective in origin, of which the cause leaves few traces in the memory. The smile, on the other hand, is complicit and intelligent,  to be shared with a friend, a close friend or a stranger with whom you have references and a capacity for irreverence in common, and with whom you can be as intelligent  or as silly as you choose."

Herbs are grown for their leaves, sometimes for their seeds, less often for their flowers. Sometimes the flowers go unnoticed. Or are resented as indications that the leaves have lost their savour. Such has been my attitude in the past to coriander and dill, which in hot summers  tend bolt and flower too quickly. But this year I notice and delight in the spreading umbels of dill like golden stars, and the pretty white inflorescences of the coriander which Heidi has arranged in the kitchen alongside sprigs of mint and parsley.

Monday, September 05, 2011

courgette, surprise, value

Posted by Picasa The courgettes, which I planted in the Spring, have been lavish in their returns. I have must have picked hundreds. What to do with them? They're good in salads, lightly fried, grilled on the barbecue, but my favourite way of dealing with them this year is grated in a frittata,(Italian omelet). I add some crumbled feta cheese (mixing cultures, but worth it). I fry the grated courgette first to extract surplus moisture and, before adding to five or six beaten eggs, introduce some basil leaves to perfume the mixture. The omelet, slow cooked, would be appreciated even by those who dislike the cucourbit family as a whole. It can be eaten hot or cold. It is more like a savoury cake than an omelet.

Who do we meet in The Compasses but Steve and Tony respectively the landlord and the barman of  The Grove Tavern 100 yards down the the road? I always feel guilty when I see them because The Grove Tavern is my preferred pub, but you can sit outside at The Compasses, and, on the whole, the beer is better at the Grove. As proof that there is no ill will, Steve buys me a pint of The Compass's present guest beer, Bateman's Triple X, which is even better than Harvey's.

In Mount Pleasant I  see and hear a girl talking to herself. She has a mobile phone with a microphone, so that she can have her hands free. Not only that: she has a speaker attached to her person, so that I can hear another voice replying. Two voice for the price of one, as they say in supermarkets.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

leaf, Frisbee, enough

Posted by Picasa Leaf against wall.

Remembering my description of a Frisbee with a hole in the middle, a flying ring, my Brother who is visiting us, brings me one as a present. It is yellow. It is a plastic, yellow halo. It has a hole; it is holy. I wear it and find that it fits me well. I have yet to find someone to whom I can throw it who is ready, willing and able to catch it.

"Warm enough for you?" says a neighbour. It is as an interesting allocution. Thinking about it I recall that the last time the sun shone like this, she addressed me with the same words.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

apple 2, festival, heels

Posted by Picasa I have to confess to anthropomorphic tendencies. It is hard for me to resist putting words into the mouths of the creatures I encounter on a daily basis, or to supply them with human attributes. Maybe its because part of the fascination with birds and animals other than ourselves is that they share many of the experiences of being alive with us. So that we recognise in their eyes or the angles of their heads,  or the lines of their mouths or beaks,  something which we know as human expressions. The pigeons that perch on the parapet of the roof across the road in the evening sun, seem  often to be enjoying the view and the sunset, as we might. And when they begin to tap each other with their beaks (billing I believe it's called) and sometimes express their feeling in an even more basic form, I can't help thinking about human lovers in the bloom of youth.  Yesterday's blackbird was digging into a piece of apple. Today's seems to be protesting  about the procedure being interrupted. He looks cross and worried, but wants above all to finish his meal, an avian gourmand if not an avian gourmet.

Tunbridge Wells is this weekend enjoying something called The Electric Lantern Film and Arts Festival. I fear that  Edinburgh, Malvern, Venice, Cannes and the like leave it far  behind, but I do enjoy this morning the site of a canvas a little larger than a ping pong table spread on the road outside the Public Library. Trays of paints, brushes and printing blocks are left beside it and people, children in particular, are invited to draw or paint whatever comes into their heads. It is rather clumsily called SplatMob. Not the best term for a good idea. I am one of those who love the impact of rain and wind on sheets of metal or rock faces over decades or millennia, so why not the random impact of passing children on an expanse of canvas?

A  photograph I didn't take. I see from the outside, behind a frosted glass window in the back room of a shop, a row of  the heels of several pairs  of high heeled shoes pressed against a window like the beaks of birds.

Friday, September 02, 2011

apple, purple, icecream

Posted by Picasa Apples are hard for balckbirds to resist.

A head of purple hair arranged in a ponytail is lit by the afternoon sun. The woman is accompanied by a long haired man. His hair, a mixture of grey and tawny, has one shank dyed purple to match the pony tail

An old couple walk march side by side licking ice creams in cornets. You feel it isn't something that they do everyday. The pleasure all the greater for that, and perhaps for evoking more distant icecream memories.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

open, unlucky, Burgundy

Posted by Picasa Vases by an open window.

We are talking in The Compasses about regulars at the pub who are no longer with us. Everyone remembers David Spence who used to sit at the end of the bar on a bar stool beside the door. He spoke to no one who hadn't been a regular for five years at least. He drowned after falling off a gang-plank while returning to his yacht after an evening's drinking." Four people used to sit there regularly," says Geoff, "and they all died within 10 years. David Spence was the chair's last regular occupant." A proper pub story, for a winter night. Today the sun is shining.

When I take some beans to Clare Law of Three Beautiful Things blogging fame she gives me a small bunch of nasturtiums, the colour of Burgundy.