The year as a woman

I managed a walk this morning for the first time in several weeks, as with others I have thousands to do and hundreds to do it in. But this morning was special, for it is now autumn and autumn is my favourite time of year.

For me the photo of the lamp adorned with webs heavy with dew says, morning mist. The estuary, its flats decorated in swirls of mud and sand that lead into a distant nowhere, say autumn morning.

This is the time of year when mornings have a chill to them but by the time the world is awake and about its business, the promise of warmth to come is in the air. Come midday that warmth is welcome, by mid-afternoon it is once again bordering on the oppressive. But that oppression is short lived, for evening brings a sharp reminder that we are closer now to winter than to spring and doors and windows can be closed against the age old fears and dark of night.

Night means home and hearth, perhaps a fire to take the chill away, a hot drink, a welcome supper taken perched on your knee in your favourite chair. Then drowsy peace and bed, bed is once again a welcoming place, no more airless heat and sweaty twists and turns, now it is a safe, warm and comforting place, a place of womb like security.

Autumn reminds me of a woman beautiful in maturity. Gone is the spring of embarrassed adolescence when play was becoming less important and strange things began to stir. Gone is the early summer of teenage angst and rebellion when she was discovering her affect on the opposite sex. Gone is the full heat of summer when she was young and ruled by passion.

During these periods of her life the terms used to describe her passed through: cute, pretty, attractive and lovely…

Now she is in the fullness of her beauty, now she is secure and confident, poised and elegant. When she was a young and lovely woman and she entered a room, the chattering would increase, an odd wolf-whistle might be heard and men would murmur and nudge one another. Now, now when she enters a room there is a sudden hush, if you listen hard you might hear an intake of breath, a whispered sigh.

There is more to come in her life, she will become: handsome, fragrant, there will be snow in abundance later, but even a snow-clad landscape has an austere and remote beauty.

But, for now she is enjoying all that she has become, all that her early life has laid before her.

Yes, the year is a woman and at this time in her life the only superlative that does her justice is, beautiful.


NOTE: It has been put to be by a well known ‘smarty-pants’ currently resident here, that beautiful is not a superlative, the superlative would be ‘most beautiful’ – cheeky devil quoted the Oxford English at me.

However, I would argue that beautiful can be used as a superlative in its own right and I claim ‘the right’ to be creative with my use of the word.

I will check further, in the meantime I would appreciate opinions as long as they agree with mine.


A Longing for Wilderness


I sat here today, the worst of my trials and tribulations long over now, my book well under way and thought of my life and how it is developing. I have begun to realise how easy it is to become comfortable and settled in one’s surroundings. How the natural boundaries of one’s immediate world develop into limits and how difficult those limits can be to overcome. 

It is so easy: the local park, the shops, the nearby river all, over a relatively short time, become the outer limits of a world that is protective and comfortable. You are safe within that world, days turn into weeks, weeks to months and life becomes less and less of a challenge, living becomes easy. 

I noticed it because within me a battle has begun, there is a part of me that loves the world that I now inhabit, a world that is beginning to fit me like an old coat or a pair of boots. It is a world that requires little of me, a calm, almost sleepy existence with little or no strife. Living is becoming easy but, I fear, that apart from my writing, also a little pointless… 

Tight though money is for the moment, there is still a major part of me that loves the wild and desperately wants me to return to my old ways. Living here I am never cold, wet or lonely, here I never have to trek long distances to find shelter, never have to struggle to light a fire or dry a sleeping bag, never have to cook an entire meal in a single, tiny pot… 

I try to define wild for myself, try to paint pictures to view against closed lids. Wild is vast, boreal and remote: it is an island off a rugged coast, spray lashed and lonely, magnificent in its isolation, or a forest, deciduous and old, dark and unbounded, quietly echoing the fall of a hoof, the placing of a paw – a whisper of something unseen. 

Wild is the mountains of Assynt, carved by glaciers, a land of boulder-strewn corries, tertiary moraine and scattered lochans. Wild is the Ice-sharp silence of the snowfields, snow-light bright and almost painful in its clarity, it is stillness and cold.

What it is not, is a housing estate in the north of England, where the biggest challenge is a walk of several hundred yards when I run out of milk or a drive of a few miles to an out- of -town shopping mall. Wild is not grunting a little as I reach for a TV remote… 

 I fear that I am settling into a rut, I fear that I am growing old.


A Jumble of Thoughts


Trying to get the book into any semblance of order seems to be more difficult than I imagined. It is a complex storyline and although I have researched the story fully and have it all in my mind, it is jumbled and fragmented.

I have in my mind a series of scenes, all of them vital to the story but in what order?

I have two stories, running in tandem, one is the main plot, the other a secondary plot that concerns the private life of the main character, they are inextricably interwoven and it is that interweaving and its necessary complexity that is making my life and the writing of the book so very difficult.

I have in mind that the book may not be worth the writing if everything comes easy, however, I have to confess that there are moments when I wished that I had settled for something rather more simple in structure.

The story covers three time periods and the effect that each has on the other; perhaps I have been overly ambitious…

I don’t know if anybody reads this blog and it has not bothered me to date, to my mind, the title says it all ‘Charting a Lonely Endeavor ‘ but if somebody should happen to stumble on this and has a word or two of advice for me, I would be eternally grateful.


Daffodils and Spring

(Unfortunately you have to zoom in to see them in profusion further along the path)

As Most have already observed, spring has definitely arrived. There are some who would claim that it began on February 1st – but that is for the purists.

 Here spring is for daffodils and there are millions of them, Wordsworth’s ‘Host of Golden Daffodils’ is in evidence where ever I look. Because they were grown commercially (until it became cheaper to import them) the paths and cliff-tops have an abundance of them growing wild. They are literally everywhere, field boundaries, central reservations, hedgerows…

They make for a bright and cheerful start to any day. 

I love their bright profusion and wish only that there were more of other, more native, species to go with them such as the wonderful primrose, which is also in profusion but further north in Cumbria.

 There, in the Lake District, they echo the footfalls of the poets: the Wordsworths (William and Dorothy) Coleridge, Sir Walter Scott…

 I think I’m getting restless again, getting itchy feet. I should like to visit Wast Water and find myself ankle deep in primroses before the season is gone.

Daffodils and Spring