Yesterday

Very cold early this morning. Liquid darkness around me with no glimpse of moon or stars. Here on the moor you feel you’ve stepped off the edge of the world, into the ancient Babylonians’ seven outer regions, complete with magic and monsters.

Turning, turning as a flat shadow, haunted by the ghost of faded summer. S’pose you complete one more turn and vanish…?

Thoughts of summer and secluded, almost secret beaches where we’ve made love. Hidden in small rocky coves along the north coast. Your skin turning to gold in the sun – tasted salty as you dissolved. And with the arrival of sunset the shores would grow dark and echo the roar of the waves.

Last night

A Wolf Moon – its delicate, misted corona like a weird vision before eclipse. A bright ghost in the night sky, summoning disciples to dance skyclad for the Goddess across the moor.

November Nights

November 14, 2019

Cold November nights, poignant sensations, deep, resonant silence.

Virginia Woolf
Diary entry November 1940

This was a dreadful time, rendered the more dreadful by the gloom of the weather and the country. I was never warm; my teeth chattered in my head; I was troubled with a very sore throat, such as I had on the isle…I would be aroused in the gloaming, to sit up in the same puddle where I had slept, and sup cold drammach; the rain driving sharp in my face or running down my back in icy trickles; the mist enfolding us like as in a gloomy chamber — or, perhaps, if the wind blew, falling suddenly apart and showing us the gulf of some dark valley where the streams were crying aloud. The sound of an infinite number of rivers came up from all round. In this steady rain the springs of the mountain were broken up; every glen gushed water like a cistern; every stream was in high spate, and had filled and overflowed its channel. During our night tramps, it was solemn to hear the voice of them below in the valleys, now booming like thunder, now with an angry cry. I could well understand the story of the Water Kelpie, that demon of the streams, who is fabled to keep wailing and roaring at the ford until the coming of the doomed traveller.

Robert Lewis Stevenson
Kidnapped

one of those March days

March 13, 2019

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade…

Charles Dickens
Great Expectations

It was also pissing down with rain: a torrential deluge of biblical feckin’ proportions. The windows awash; pedestrians rushing by like big black birds dripping rain. Time to take up boat building, for sure –

Peedeel
Tuesday 12th March 2019

Night Below Zero

January 22, 2019

3 AM, the night is absolutely still;
Snow squeals beneath my skis, plumes on the turns.
I stop at the canyon’s edge, stand looking out
Over the Great Valley, over the millions —
In bed, drunk, loving, tending mills, furnaces,
Alone, wakeful, as the world rolls in chaos.
The quarter moon rises in the black heavens —
Over the sharp constellations of the cities
The cold lies, crystalline and silent,
Locked between the mountains.

Kenneth Rexroth

Samhain Ritual

November 1, 2018

Last night out, naked to the cold mechanics of the stars. Flames from our bonfire licking the wide expanse of sky. The cold air indifferent to each of us. The moor empty, silent except for the whispered patterns of our words. Easy to believe the world has been abandoned –

Monday blue

October 22, 2018

A PLACE

Monday. From the old English mōnandæġ: the Moon’s own day. In England and Wales more people commit suicide on a Monday than any other day of the week (Look it up on Wickedpaedophile if you don’t believe me). A melancholy day, then, a dull end to the high-jinks of a fun weekend, a full-stop the size of a full moon in the minds of some, who then reach for the pill bottle –

This morning outside in the garden it feels as if the chill is stripping you down, layer by layer. It’s like winter seeped into your bones before you knew it was happening. This is a cold that grips firm and goes deep. It’s Monday cold –

Time for a glass of the breakfast brandy and a quick poem from Seidel:

“Sii Romantico, Seidel, Tanto Per Cambiare”

Women have a playground slide
That wraps you in monsoon and takes you for a ride.
The English girl Louise, his latest squeeze, was being snide.
Easy to deride
The way he stayed alive to stay inside
His women with his puffed-up pride.
The pharmacy supplied
The rising fire truck ladder that the fire did not provide.
The toothless carnivore devoured Viagra and Finasteride
(Which is the one that shrinks the American prostate nationwide
And at a higher dosage grows hair on the bald) to stem the tide.
Not to die had been his way to hide
The fact that he was terrified.
He could not tell them that, it would be suicide.
It would make them even more humidified.
The women wrapped monsoon around him, thunder-thighed.

Frederick Seidel

Only by Cunning Glimpses

January 28, 2017

a-whim-engine-house

Diary 26th January

Grey, cloudy day. Cold wind, too. Coming straight off of the arctic wastes.

The cottages on fore street all have smoking chimneys today. The cottage next door to corner-cottage pumps thick black-grey smoke from its chimney; the smoke swirls in the strong gusts of wind and fogs the street near the farm shop. Coal smoke, I think it is, but it really stinks and catches unpleasantly in my chest. The wind takes your breath away, but the smoke kills you…

In the farm shop I purchase a bottle of red wine, some dark chocolate for C and some soft baps for lunch.

#

The old mine workings nearby are a ruined labyrinth of pleasures. You can see a few trees about them: Hawthorn, Grey Willow the odd Rowan. Moss-covered stones and ruined mine-buildings abound. The path you walk on is the old railway bed and it runs for miles. There are rare liverwort and moss species growing around here. Spoil and spree, the environmental catastrophe of an earlier age, grow up to right and left of you. Maidenhair Spleenwort, Black Spleenwort, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Common Heather, mosses, liverworts, and Wild Strawberry all grow in the gaps of the stonework in these ruined engine houses. Horse Shoe bats use the buildings as an hibernation site in winter time…

Even stones have eyes

January 27, 2017

a-view-of-the-moor

Diary 25th January

Beautiful day: clear blue dome of sky, carnivorously blue, not a cloud in sight. But very cold.

Later in the day cloud rolling in off the coast: cumulus cloud, fat, cauliflower-shaped; in the west, with the sun going down, the cloud turned brilliant orange; then the light spread, become a bar of startling redness across the cloud tops, making it seem like the sun had a wide ring around it, an orange Saturn.

We walked, like the grand old duke of York, up the hill – as far as the mast. Acid grassland all around: common bent and mat-grass, grazed by sheep, cattle and ponies into spiky stubble; tussocky beside the old quarry workings. Gorse, much of it flowering, and bracken everywhere.

Bitingly cold, though. Our noses bright red with cold. Frequent stops to blow my nose.

She said: ‘Oh, for summer’s return! Not too long now, I s’pose. I love to listen to the larks overhead, soaring and diving…’

Here during the summer you’ll encounter Linnet, Yellowhammer, Song Thrush as well as the Skylarks. And, of course, the magnificent Buzzards all year round!

Also in the summer you’ll spot wildflowers in amongst the grass: Sheep’s Sorrel, Common Cat’s Ear, Brighteye all occur here. Tussocks of Purple Moor Grass and Western Gorse provide a home for a variety of small mammals. Early one spring morning I encountered an Adder basking in the sun.

On our return we went to the pub. Sat near the fire. We drank Merlot and eat salted peanuts and pork scratchings. Then home again to glasses of brandy (It’s Burns Night but we’re out of whiskey).

#

Writing yesterday about youthful goings-on in Mallard Street, brought to mind the tragic death of Dr Stephan Ward, and his entanglement in the sex and espionage scandal known as the Profumo Affair. He died (or was murdered?) in a flat on Mallard Street not a stone’s throw from the site of my own teenage transgressions.