Thing 50: ‘change, please’: St Cuthbert’s Way, part (i)

“Eeeeeeeeeeooooowwwww. How did you discover that the floor was sticky?”.
“Well… I walked over it and my shoes stuck.”
Ah yes of course. Silly question. Not the bathroom experience you want on the first night of your holiday, nor the best of starts for our St Cuthbert’s Way, planned for 2020 and now happening at last. The full length of it stretched before us and there were hills not ten minutes out of town which were going to ask a lot of me tomorrow morning. So I wanted to be comfortable tonight, some good kip and a solid breakfast to set me up for prolonged exertion. Unfortunately, prolonged exertion seemed to be what was happening in the room next door to mine. Oh lor. A night can last a really long time…


thing 49 and a quarter: ‘for the poet, what behaviour is meet?’: shades of blue

A tree falling in a forest. A book launched during a pandemic. Does either of them make any sound?

As far as I can tell, if answer there be to this question, it’s “yes and no”. There is the basic excitation of the surrounding medium/particles which, if there are receptors, would be translated into sound. But in the absence of receptors, there is no such translation. Ergo, yes and no. Aaargh. I remember now how much philosophy has always really pissed me off. I just don’t have the right kind of brain or temperament for it. As Frank or Pat Butcher might (more…)

thing 49: ‘the Hour of Lead’: letting go

Let go. Relinquish. Release, surrender, give up.

Some cognates: grieve, mourn, lament, sorrow. Accept. Deal. We’ve all been doing a lot of that.

We’ve been in a strange new world. Like everyone else, I’ve noticed it in all sorts of ways from the micro to the macro. Can’t be sitting writing this column in my favourite writing café. Can’t be (more…)

thing 48: ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever’: Blackwell House

Of course, Keats didn’t live in the age of the halogen bulb. If he had, things might have been different.*

I was feeling the need to find somewhere lovely and just be there, with no demands, difficulties or despairs. Blackwell House is only a quarter of an hour away and I had a visitor coming for the weekend. Excellent. That would do the job nicely.

The perma-rain—fairly discouraging as far as getting onto the fells is concerned—was due to lift a bit on the Saturday afternoon, so (more…)