Thursday, September 03, 2015

Still coming to terms with the newly-published 'fact' that there are 420 trees for me on this planet.

Seems rather greedy, really.

I think I prefer just going for a walk & seeing trees - big ones, little ones - for everyone. Every thing.

How many trees per bird? Slug? Fungi? Caterpillar? There's a thought ...

O the silliness of statistics.
"I occasionally wonder what portion of my life has been spent dawdling like this along streams. In search of turtles, or frogs, or rock bass, or simply lost in thought and basking in the lee of the great iambic-tetrameter noun Inconsequentiality."

('A Visit to Four or Five Streams', Rivers & Birds, Merrill Gilfillan)

It's sentences such as these that make me cherish Gilfillan's prose.


Apologies for the absence of posts. As you will have gathered, I've been busy. Sadly, though, with nothing particularly rewarding.


Monday, August 24, 2015


real-life meetings punctuating where possible



April Bronchitis


Sunday, August 23, 2015

A quick drive on past the Eurotunnel & down to the harbour at Folkestone. Shoes off & a paddle along the shore. A fitting way to draw the summer holidays to a close.

& ... Bob's Seafood delivers again. Two succulent lobsters for a fair price. Dinner tonight.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

I notice this blog has just passed 2,000 posts.




Arrived ... right now ... 10 minutes ago ...


Monday, August 17, 2015


Out early this morning (6:20)  for what is now the regular bit of 'shinrin yuko' (or 'forest bathing' if you're not fluent in Japanese). I hesitate between sitting on the usual bench to contemplate the ponds or wander along the Blackberry path. Then, as if quietly guided, I opt to take a different route along & up into a tunnel of trees and ferns. As I walk it gets perceptibly darker as if the undergrowth is drawing closer around me. To my left there's a sudden stirring - and there stands about ten meters away a young deer (a female). I stop. She stops. (Robert Frost, anyone?). Then catching my scent or a rustle in the leaves, she hops out of sight. 

Astonished at such an encounter (yes, there are deer in these woods but you hardly ever see them) I carry on to the junction of the path with a more well-trodden one which arches back down towards the ponds. By now the moist air is starting to turn into drizzle. Then there's another stirring - again to my left. Another deer but this one's a male. I surreptitiously feel for my phone & lift it to take a picture. He & I stayed like this for a good two minutes. Each taking in the other. Then he, too, picked up a warning sign and jumped to the left. I watched assuming that was it but he remained for a couple more minutes, his head poking up above a grassy mound. Then, bored, off he went. 

In his wonderful essay 'Alfresco' Merrill Gilfillan writes about the sense of being a 'witness'. It's exactly the term. Walking back I thought how this encounter might never have occurred: had I remained sitting on the bench ... had I taken the other path ... had I, for that matter, simply stayed in bed listening to the shipping forecast ... 

Minutes that redefine the day. 

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A significant issue of The Wire out this September.

First, the main article & front cover status bestowed upon Julia Holter (even if she looks decidedly unhappy). There's a new CD coming out & - would you believe it - she's even reading Maggie Nelson's Bluets. One step closer to perfection.

Second, I see my old chum Out To Lunch (aka Ben Watson) has an article about the Australian duo Music With My Insane Friend. Has all been forgiven? Crotchets & hatchets buried? Whatever the reason it's great to see him back.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"For a rainy day" was, believe it or not, the phrase used by David Cameron this morning during his interview on The Today Programme to explain the vicious cuts to enable debt reduction and putting money aside. He might have been talking about the housekeeping - a tin on the sideboard perhaps because you never know ...

How deeply insulting, patronising & fallacious. Economists correct me, but countries do not work like households. Borrowing is fundamental to a healthy economy.

From another angle, though, how disturbing the 'you can't have something for nothing' tight lipped prudence becomes when seen in a broader perspective. For what is interest but ... something for doing nothing? And, from another angle, what does this do to human existence? The new 'normal' is to see the ability to pay as your right to a life. As the treatment of immigrants fleeing war zones confirms they are - in the eyes of a society that thinks simply in terms of financial liquidity - subhuman.

& we know where that leads.


Haunted yesterday by the phrase "gists and piths" & all because of "gists" occurring in an essay - 'Alfresco' - by Merrill Gilfillan. How little combinations of words can get in among you, gnawing away.

A quick Google throws up Ezra Pound (of course!) & Hugh Kenner or a combination of both. Did Pound say it first? Did Kenner attribute it to Pound ... ?

But the phrase bugs ... I know I've read it somewhere else - a puff by Tom Raworth? A line in a Coolidge poem? No ... & then I know: Jackson Mac Low quoted on the back of Ray DiPalma's Numbers and Tempers Selected Early Poems (Sun & Moon Press):

"Precision and surprise and no nonessentials. Gists and Piths."


What else but to christen another little notebook which is serving for the morning walks.


Fall asleep this afternoon on the couch upstairs listening to CD 1 of the Collins Bird Songs and Calls. The Velux is open & so the birds merge with the steady pattering of the rain.

I wake at 5pm - the kind of luxurious narcotic slumber I've not enjoyed since the girls were small. As if drugged by a mythic potion. It takes a good quarter of an hour to feel fully back in consciousness.


How I hate autocorrect - a sly form of conformity. 'Raworth' - it's done it again! - is replaced with 'Haworth'. 'Or' in paragraph two came out as 'for'.

Denim it!


Over 260 page views yesterday - something of a record (not that I check regularly). At least someone seems to be interested.