Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sit Still, and Hear the Last of Our Sea-Sorrow . . .

Good Afternoon Dear Friends . . .

And one which finds the Good Ship Yours Truly  becalmed and still in the doldrums, somewhat adrift in the latitudes of lassitude, not quite himself, as it were . . . whether it's because of the weather or just a general malaise brought about by circumstances, I know not but I shall be rather glad when the wind rises and I can navigate myself out of these depths and steer a clearer course for horizons new and uncharted . . .

The light is very flat today; on days such as this when I used to do more photography than I do, it was always difficult to make anything look even remotely decent; the light is so diffused by cloud that shadows disappear and the world takes on an almost two-dimensional appearance . . . having said that I wonder just how much our actual view of the world is influenced by our emotional viewpoint? Quite a lot I would have thought . . . and peeping out of the study window I must say that the light matches my mood and vice versa!

I thought perhaps that spending a couple of hours in the company of those good BBC people with their coverage of the Hungarian Grand Prix would lift my ennui but it seems not; although it was quite an exciting race I must confess I did have trouble keeping my eyes open . . . quite shocking!  Even Sal - who is currently stretched out on the sofa in the study, making her own hirsute contribution to the otherwise fetching cream and green combination - seems rather tired of it all; perhaps she is just reflecting my aura, sensitive soul that she is, and having gauged my mood has decided that sleep is the best policy - she could be right!

But fie! What place have such humours in this world? Are we not made of stouter stuff? We are responsible for the warp and weft on which our pattern is embroidered; and that pattern too, is drawn by our own hands . . . if I must stand on the bridge and blow my breath into the sails I shall;  Let us cast those horses of doubt and uncertainty overboard, lighten our draught and fathom a course towards a sunlit shore where we shall find light, shade and above all happiness . . .

Hmmm . . . went all Shakespearian mixed metaphors there, sorry about that! It's sort of like the literary equivalent of a strong boot up the bum and probably just what I need . . . that and a nice cup of tea!  Yesterday Sister Cate and I  popped over to Cedar Farm near Mawdesley and I came away with a rather sweet coaster as
depicted here; I do find it to be the case, especially when it goes hand-in-hand with a phone call from a dear friend who is always guaranteed to lighten my gloominesses and put a fatuous grin on my fat face once more! It certainly seems to be the case that no man is an island; no matter how we yearn and long for solitude and independence, the essential essence of human contact is the oil that perfumes the life of this particular hermit at least!

And with that last blast this particular Prospero will retire to the kitchen and rustle up something approaching food; it's been a peculiar posting, hasn't it? I hope it hasn't darkened your day too much and that the forthcoming week finds you weak with happiness and limp with love

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Here Will I Sit and Wait . . . *

Good Evening Dear Friends

And as the sun sinks slowly in the west and clouds creep in to cover the previously unblemished heavens, I thought I'd spend a moment or two in your company and pass a wee while in wistful thoughts and conversation . . .

It has been a quiet and peaceful day following on from a very enervating evening yesterday when I allowed my dissatisfaction with telephony providers to colour my mood . . . but today I decided I would try and be of a more positive and possibly less beige frame of mind and so Sal and I popped off to the local beauty spot for a bit of a stroll in the sun.  Being that time of year again - i.e. when the inmates are freed from their academic chains - and besides the supine forms of teachers lying exhausted in small heaps on the grass there were a significant number of children around too -  the place was positively bustling with activity . . . this, of course, doesn't exactly meld with my curmudgeonly demeanour but we managed to avoid too much contact and had a spiffing stroll in the sunshine.
It is some while since we've managed such an extended stroll, due to all the business I've been dealing with and a general lack of enthusiasm - purely on my part of course as Sal would walk at any hour of the day or night . . . of course, with the temperate clime came the urge to dowse herself in ornamental ponds which resulted in a shower upon our return . . . whilst not resisting she is none too keen to ablute in this way and looks positively suicidal until she bounds out and runs around like a cross-country dervish in an effort to dry herself !  She is now very curly and fluffy but assures me normal hirsuitness and odour will be resumed as soon as possible  - more's the pity!

This is the third IanMc iMac posting but this time we are using the newly "refreshed"  (to use an Apple term)  MacBook Air (MBA) which is all super-duper and has double the RAM and twice the storage and is jolly nice 'cos the keyboard illuminates itself in the dark too!  Those poor unfortunates who know me personally will verify that my conversation is practically all mac-based these days and the level of ennui is stupefying in the extreme but, as a writer, it's wonderful tool and a marvellous experience after so may PC years . . . and I will be the first to admit that, until around two years ago I was very biased against Mac stuff; then on the way to Damascus - or possibly Manchester, but I forget - my conversion duly came about and here I am now totally at one with my beautiful wee MBA . . . the ease at which I can write anywhere is totally astounding - and more than that it makes even the most tiresome project at least a pleasure to type . . . anyhow, I'll stop now and try and talk about something other than this sleek silver sliver of gorgeousness ... oh dear! I fear I'm a lost cause . . .

The latest piece of writing "The Princess of Stargazey Halt" is coming along nicely and an idea from a few years ago popped in to my head today along with a slightly different approach and so another little piece of my art may soon be in the public domain . . . I do say that tongue-in-cheek, not least because of the delays that are occurring with "The Maelstrom' which is still being looked at by the 'digital people' by which I presume they mean the people who will upload it to the company's website . . . it really seems like forever ago that I wrote it; still, patience is a virtue as is said though not one I possess in any great abundance.

It is now fast approaching ten pm and already it is dark; summer, whilst not long upon us, seems intent on gathering up her belongings and preparing to head south with the swallows . . . however, she may rest a while yet and allow us some time to stay our days on thyme-scented banks and daydream in the yew tree's shade of summers long ago; unreachable as yesterday always is and as unthinkable as snowflakes in August.

I hope you glean whatever goodness you can from the coming days and that you are assured of love and happiness wherever your feet may take you.

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

 *  Here will I sit and wait,
      While to my ear from uplands far away
      The bleating of the folded flocks is borne,
      With distant cries of reapers in the corn 
All the live murmur of a summer's day.

From "An Oxford Elegy" comprising of two poems by Matthew Arnold "The Scholar Gypsy" and "Thyrsis" set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Friday, 22 July 2011

After Horace . . .*

Good Morning Dear Friends

And here we are, once again, in the study at Myrtle House for a few brief words before the day begins in earnest (lovely chap!) in the most delightful way with a cup of green tea and possibly a lemon and poppy seed muffin in Nero - my favourite table is pictured to the left . . . I am meeting up with the lovely Sam from Gecko for a catch up and possibly a continuation of our 'debate'  - though some could term it violent argument -  regarding the relative merits of iPhone / Mac vs. Blackberry / PC ; all good clean fun . . . until the knives come out, that is, but generally they are there to cut up the delicious Pastel de Nata!

The old posts have been a bit thin on the ground recently as I'm sure you've noticed; I think the main reason for that is that I've had so very many things to do but not much to write about! Hopefully, with the OD's estate more or less sorted and such like, there will be a return to things more cerebral and interesting than my whinges and aches and pains . . . It was quite sad to close up the stately pile for the last time; she had lived there for the past twenty-five years and wondering through the rooms without her being there was somewhat disconcerting . . . I felt that she would pop around the doorway and complain about the mess we had left it in! Anyway, that particular chapter is now closed and this poor orphan of the storm had better attend to his toilette or my green tea will be going cold . . . to be continued shortly . . .

And now it is a shortly or two later and I am back at Myrtle House following a successful meet with GeckoGirl Sam; much tea was consumed (and subsequent visits to the little boys room by yours truly) followed by a spot of the old retail experience as she and Mr Gecko are off to a wedding, of all things, up in the wilds of Scotland soon and an 'exciter'  - possibly not the correct term - had to be purchased . . . they sit on your head evidently instead of a hat . . . anyhow, once that was done and all desires satiated I returned home burdened by a new bed for the Famous Sally Dog . . .

I had placed hers outside yesterday to freshen up  a tad but managed to forget about it as the rain fell . . . the resultant soggy and very stinky mass could not be allowed back in and so she is now the proud possessor of a fancy polka dot snooze pit . . . very posh! Should you ever desire to meet up with this pooch célèbre you will often find her looking after the very lovely shop pictured above right: a small prize will be awarded to the first person to identify said boutique (who doesn't actually work there!) and will, as is usual for this blog,  be a stunning example of what can be achieved with no expense spent!

So the weekend is practically upon us; the forthcoming week brings a temporary farewell to friends as they head south for the sun - here's hoping you come back relaxed and chilled for the rest of the summer . . . talking of which, there appears to be a huge burning fireball in the sky at the moment - not too sure what it is but believe it appears in summer, sometimes for a whole day or two at a time!

Hope your weekend is love and sunshine filled

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

* "You will have written exceptionally well if, by skilful arrangement of your words, you have made an ordinary one seem original" Horace

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Remains Of The Day . . .

Good Afternoon Dear Friends!

Here I am again in the study at Myrtle House, slaving away, pounding the keys of a hot, electric golfball typewriter just for you . . . well, to be strictly accurate and in the interests of transparency, I should really say that in fact I'm tapping gently on my newly-acquired but already beloved MBA which has now finally replaced my old PC set up - hurrah!

It is somewhat scary to trust all my work to one slight silver sliver of aluminium but, having bitten the bullet, I am in paroxysms of joy at the ease and speed of migration!  So, welcome to the first of, I hope, many IMc iMac blogs!

So what news? Well, finally the end is in sight with regard to the saga of packing up the Old Duchess' belongings and finally distributing them to the needy of the parish - in fact they will be making their way to the shops that support a local children's hospice of which the OD would have very much approved - and what a long haul it has been! 

I trotted over to the stately pile earlier today to do a final count up and recce and discovered that the bags we had, of necessity, placed outside for the refuse collection had been ripped open and the contents strewn everywhere! Why do people do that? They were more than welcome to take anything but why scatter it all over the garden . . . it's bad enough having to sort out the OD's things and get rid of her life in bin-bags without those with no morals or conscience making things worse!

Anyhow, all of that will soon be over and done with and, as that particular chapter closes, we prepare for whatever lies just ahead . . . I'd love to do some travelling around this summer although I think any that does occur will be somewhat limited; my oldest friend and I have spoken about touring around the UK to our childhood haunts and holiday places, maybe in something like a Morris Traveller or VW Camper; I'd also like to spend some time writing in lovely locations - Venice? Well, maybe not, but one place I shall be visiting at some point will be Bournemouth as the OD's desire was to have her ashes scattered in the same place as her brother and so her wish is my command . . . I know it's probably against every H&S regulation but I feel that her wishes supersede mere legislation!

Anyhow, that's about it for today; since I began the day has turned slowly towards evening and I've shifted rooms and am now inhabiting the lounge whilst Sal sits snuffling in doggy dream debris besides me on the sofa . . . I wish you all a wonderful week ahead and 

'til next time

Be Seeing You !

Thursday, 7 July 2011

In the Midst of Life . . .

Good Morning Dear Friends

Apologies for the huge gap in posting; there has been so many things to do regarding the stately pile and sorting out the Old Duchess' affairs that I have been nearly always engaged and, when not so, exhausted and not much in the mood to post . . .

However, things are coming together finally and, with any luck, all should be done and dusted by next week - phew!  The funeral itself was short and sweet and was attended by a number of old friends - to whom I owe a great deal - and for it I wrote a short verse which I shall post a little below this as another little tribute to the woman who had been present for every second of my existence.

In other news a new piece entitled "Our Beloved Sister" (see the cover above) has winged its way electronically to the Wells Literary Festival and so fingers are once more crossed;  "The Maelstrom" has received favourable comments initially from the good people at Weber-Shandwick in Edinburgh who handle PR etc for the Isle of Jura whisky and so it's now a case of waiting (yet again) to see where and when it is to see the light of day.  I want very much to publish all my works on the Myrtle House  site but, in the norm, competition rules state that the work must be previously unpublished and, sadly, this even includes blogs for the most part, oh hum! 

Also in the offing is the first George Orwell Festival which is taking place in September in the lovely environs of Letchworth Garden City; I am doing my best to ensure The Maelstrom becomes a part of proceedings! For details please visit the festival site here. . . and in a final attempt at international stardom some of my work is possibly going to flap its way across the pond to Chicago's Dream Quest One competition  - as those people at the National Lottery say one must partake to reap the laurels - or something along those lines anyway!  I've also managed a bizarre little piece called "The Voles of England" (see cover above) which I love but have not the vaguest idea what will happen to it! 

Not such good news on the counselling front however, where the funeral and related business prevented me from submitting my final piece; I have agreed a delay until the end of August but this will inevitably also delay the granting of the diploma ( should I manage it) and subsequent plans for September now seem a little less solid than before . . . I suppose that, given that it's taken 4 years to get this far, a few more weeks isn't the end of the world . . . is it?

Anyhow, that just about wraps it up for today; a small terrier is mumbling mutinously about walks; the weather changes more often than the excuses at the News of the World - appalling business - and I must about my errands.  Before I go I will let you have a glimpse at a small poem written specifically for the Old Duchess shortly after her death - I hope you enjoy it . . .

The Final Days of Spring

In September she was May;
In Autumn born, she was the Spring
Of herself she gave away
To us the gift of everything
Her time, her love, her peace, her breath
She gave us life; the chance to be
And, at the hour of her death
Once more with those she longed to see
She gave us memories to hold
And with our words her life remember
With love until we too grow cold
A breath of Spring; May in September

I hope your week is filled with love

'til next time

Be Seeing You!