Showing posts from August, 2010

Dawn and dusk

I could tell it was going to be cold. The roof window was shining pale in the early dawn light, the last of the stars were still there. Early and cold. There was a visitor in bed, a refugee from the cold end of the house, but she was asleep and she was very, very warm. Early morning walks can be difficult when a small person wants a cuddle. I dozed. Sometime later - 5 minutes 15 minutes, who can tell? I pushed myself out of bed. It was still just as cold, but the light was brighter and the stars were gone. I pulled on a thick jacket and grabbed hat and gloves. Dawn deserves stillness, and you cant be still and shivering all at once. There had been a heavy frost overnight and the cars parked behind the hut were crusted in ice. The chicken wire on the boardwalk was outlined in a diamond coat that crackled underfoot. There was not a breath of wind, flat calm. Even now the touch of the sun was melting the ice on the boardwalks. They became wet in the sun and were icy in the shade, mak

Bud Burst and Flower Fall

Walking may only really be a pleasure when you don’t have to do it. In an age obsessed with speed - speed dating, broadband, the direct way rather than the best way - walking can feel like some ancient form of wisdom that has only just been rediscovered. As a kid I walked. I walked over to Stratton to fish for carp - with little success. As a teenager I walked. I walked to Norton to buy The Guardian - the local shop did not stock it, its owner thinking it a symbol of creeping socialism or feeble mindedness, or possibly both. As an adult I walked. I walked in the hills by myself, with friends and sometimes with groups of kids who wanted to be elsewhere. In the end walking changed. It became an escape from the stress of a job that was killing me. I walked when I could. But I only did it because I was cross, or frustrated or just plain sad. Walking became a something else, and it didn’t really matter what else, it was just not the other. But it was inward looking and I knew I was doing it

After the Gold Rush

Arriving anywhere at night is a double edged sword. A combination of excitement and frustration. After a remarkably simple drive north we arrived at Castlemaine, in the dark and eager for dinner. Arriving in a planned town has considerable advantages, especially if you have no idea where you are really going. You come to appreciate the elegant simplicity of the grid layout, where mistakes can be rectified by turning left (or right!) and repeating the action until you return to square one. Such planning may exclude the romance of country lanes, but it aids navigation. Arriving almost anywhere in the UK results in you being sucked into some arcane one way system that uses roads laid out in the stone age for the benefit of cattle drovers and devised by people who take public transport to work because the roads are so bad. We were never lost in Castlemaine, because three left turns would bring you back to where we started from. Three left turns in Chilcompton or worse still, Kendal, and yo