Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Phrase for Today.

Don't let anybody tell you you're wasting your time when you're gazing into space. There is no other way to conceive the imaginary world...I daydream about my characters...take pen and paper and try to report what I've witnessed.
Stephen Vizinczey (b. 1933) Hungarian-born British writer, editor, and broadcaster. Truth and Lies in Literature. (1986)

Monday, 23 March 2009

My Town continued...

A few pictures of Nottingham and surrounding area near to where I grew up.

Left and right is the old market square which features from time to time a big wheel where at £5 per person you can take a ride and see for miles. We haven't done this yet but a few friends have and said it was brilliant fun and yes you can indeed see way across the county.

The Robin Hood statue stands proudly at the entrance to the castle just up from the town centre. Once a strong hold and fortress it now houses a museum and a few years ago myself and the family went along to see an exhibition of pre-Raphaelite work which was wonderful. Some scoundrel keeps steeling Robin's bow and it's had to be replaced a number of times recently. Probably some outlaw on his way home from 'Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem', which is reputed to be the oldest pub in England and situated just down the hill from the castle. Both can be reached via Friar Lane or Maid Marian Way.
Below is a picture of my house. OK, not really. This is Wollaton Hall just half a mile or so from my parent's home. I've spent many an afternoon rambling around the hall and grounds and as a Brownie walked 10 times around the lake for sponsorship money. Each rotation is about a mile, so no mean task for a seven year old. The hall used to belong to the Willoughby family but is owned by Nottingham City Council these days putting on all kinds of public and educational events throughout the year. Last year, I took a 'behind the scenes' tour up into the turrets and onto the roof as well as checking out the cellars and kitchens restored to their former glory. Legend has it that Lady Willoughby haunts the roof floating about in white but I couldn't spot her, I think she must have been on a lunch break.

The Deer wander freely around the grounds and lake but I haven't been lucky enough to bag one yet despite taking hunting lessons from my good friend Robin. The rutting season has led to a couple of precarious moments in that department but that's another story...

We are very fortunate in as much as we live within easy reach of many places of historical interest in the midlands; Chatsworth House isn't far and neither is Haddon Hall, home of the Manners family. Keddleston Hall, which is the Curzon family seat is also a stones throw away. I think our families must have been off -shoots of the spare rather than heir since we are very much the poor relations in this particular dynasty.

Hey-ho, back to the keyboard then to see if I can revive lost fortunes or better still create a new one.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

I saw Jesus on a number 2 bus...

and like a moth to the flame felt disturbingly and inexplicably drawn by the presence of this curious force within our midst. I listened to his conversation with the man next to him (who could easily have been Simon Peter,) alert for any vile unfavourable words that would surely blow his cover but there were none - he was eloquent, intelligent and polite to those around him. Skinny frame, long coat with scarf wrapped loosely around his neck like a student, (which in reality was nearer the truth,) and had me thinking about the man himself and how he might have mingled with everyday folk.

When we got stuck in traffic he leant his head against the window. From where I sat I could clearly see the contours of his model-like beauty gently framed by the morning sun. Late 20's, maybe 30, certainly no more. Centred. Still. Contained. At peace within his own skin, unruffled by the crowded bus and bodies pressed together around him.

"Hello, I'm on the bus, gonna be really late, can you let the boss know - thanks."

He opened his eyes and smiled generously at the girl next to me as she stuffed her phone back in her bag, saw me notice that she did not before drifting off again. I took the opportunity to stare which he sensed and I had to divert my gaze afraid of what he might see, conscious of my transparency.

He offered a helping hand to an elderly lady as we got off before striding confidently into the throngs. I craned my neck over bobbing heads for a last glimpse, unwilling to break away without some hint of recognition until he became submerged in the crowd leaving me behind to contemplate the impossible.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Phrase for Today.

I make myself laugh at everything, so that I do not weep.
(Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais 1732-1799. French playwright.
The Barber of Seville 1775, Act 1, Scene 2)

Sunday, 8 March 2009

My Town.

Here are a few pictures of Ilkeston, Derbyshire where we have lived for the last 17 years.
The first two show the market square looking across from the library towards St Mary's Church and the fountain outside the Sir John Warren public house. On Thursdays, which is market day, both of these areas are filled with stalls selling all kinds of things although sadly, the market is now much thinner than it used to be.

This is Bath street taken from the bottom end looking up towards the church. Ilkeston is an ex mining town but community spirit is still very strong.
In October the fair comes and takes up residence along Bath street and into the market place. People do their shopping while the children have a ride.

The picture below is of a walk our family have taken many times. It leads to the canal or 'top cut' as it's know locally. Their are views over Cossall towards Eastwood which is DH Lawrence country. A local farm became Marsh Farm in his book The Rainbow.
The canal as the sun is setting is quite beautiful and atmospheric. There is a great sense of history and sometimes when I close my eyes, I fancy I can hear the clod of a horse pulling the plough through the rich soil in the fields just behind those trees.
Although we have lived here a long time, I still feel a sense of awe when I come across scenes like this one.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Phrase for Today.

Hope...Go after her - she'll fly away
Ignore her - she'll chase you
She'll keep you company
Until your breathing stops.
( Ai Qing 1910-96. Chinese poet.)

Sunday, 1 March 2009