… in one day.
The light changes dramatically. The further north we travel, the greater the intensity, the greater the rate of change. It is easy to forget just how startling the northern light can be. Yesterday it was spring-like then, overnight, the temperature fell away, the winds increased and the clouds raced across the sky, late for an appointment in the east. It is good to be back on the shores of Plockton and Lochcarron:
See, I am the whitest cloud that strays
Through a deep sky:
I am your senses’ crossroads,
Where the four seasons lie
A short walk from home there is the remains of a kitchen garden which has been in a state of redevelopment for as long as I can remember. We occasionally walk down there to see how things are progressing, or not, as the case may be. It is a fascinating site with a rabbit warren of tunnels and old hothouses, so much so, that as a listed site, it is hard to imagine how it could ever be developed without compromising the underground structures. I think I would prefer that it stay in a state of arrested decay. The first symmetrical image brings to mind Philip Larkin’s High Windows, except there is little glass to comprehend the sun:
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless
This second image is from the same location, below ground level and not so symmetrical:
(click on the images to enlarge)
It was only recently that I became aware of the connection between Philip Larkin and Haydon Bridge, the next town along the Tyne, west of Hexham. For some reason I take some delight in his shared knowledge of the area. Since the by-pass was built a few years back, the town has returned to the pace of life which Larkin would have remembered. The second set of patio doors, overlooking the Tyne, is the back of 1A Ratcliffe Road:
Writer Philip Larkin and Monica Jones, his companion of 40 years, shared this secret love nest from 1961 to 1984.
“I thought your little house seemed … distinguished and exciting and beautiful … it looks splendid, and it can never be ordinary with the Tyne going by outside … a great English river drifting under your window, brown and muscled with currents!”
Philip Larkin April 1962
On this bright, frosty, December day, the Tyne was anything but brown and muscled – a sleeping giant. This is almost, but not quite, the view from the back of 1A Ratcliffe Road:
According to Wiki: “One of his better-known later poems Show Saturday is dedicated to the 1973 Bellingham Show, which they attended. They also went to the tar barrel ceremony in Allendale, and dined at Blanchland. It was a record of Tommy Armstrong’s Trimdon Grange Explosion which Larkin heard at the cottage that prompted him to write his own late poem The Explosion.”
“I am always trying to ‘preserve’ things by getting other people to read what I have written, and feel what I felt.” – Philip Larkin: Letters to Monica
Like many of us.