Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fragments, haiku and haggis; Saved Nut # 3

curved thick brass sinew
weir-broken water slides turns
rails sky upside down.
Cuisine de frigo/ Cuisine de poubelle
Lunch - re-heated haggis sandwich - a Burns night take-away - with cranberry sauce, left over from Christmas. Requires lifting with a dose of ascorbic acid from three withered clementines, just one pip between them, also pre-Christmas. Waste not want not.
marches into the vets barking defiantly in a 'Let's be having you then!' kind of way. Complains about the sting but kisses the vet on the nose anyway, and accepts a treat from her. That's my girl.
Saved Nut # 3
A follow on from the last, Celtic Saints, a poem written on a trip to Finistere. I made a few small changes, and changed all the capitalisation at the beginnings of lines. I don't do that any more.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Leaf on glass, and Saved Nut # 2

It's a little like this really. The window shows me the world, but the small leaf, with its umber, decaying sadness, its precariousness and fragility, is what's in focus, what's taking up the viewfinder. The moon and sixpence, my own small worry and unhappiness looming large in my awareness. Only there is light through it, and it's not without beauty, and sometimes a closer focus is no bad thing.
Images shouldn't really have to be spelled out like this. A proper poet would be able to say much more with less, and with much less crude analogy. And in fact, I don't know that the melancholia is so very appropriate either, or at least shouldn't be indulged.
More heartache with Molly; turns out the infection this time is a horrible, antibiotic-resistant strain that can only be treated with daily injections, for at least a month, so that's a life skill I'm having to learn. Only sub-cutaneous ones, so I suppose that's something. She'll have to wear a lampshade again - the bandage comes off today- so I googled around and found a European supplier of those more flexible transparent ones with the padded neck and quick fastening.
Too much fear and negativity to give way to, too many things not to look forward to, so best not to look forward any more than is necessary to make essential plans and arrangements. She's not in pain and is often quite bright and full of fun, so I've no good reason to be a wet blanket. It would make more sense to be pragmatically cheerful. And we have good friends to turn to.
Enough. I'm able to enjoy much, other people's happiness included, and the still prevailing good mood about the presidential inauguration is still a tonic. Moreover, the stress has assisted with the 2.5 kilo weightloss I have succeeded in achieving since Christmas, so every cloud.
Thanks for bearing with my gloominess. This too shall pass.
Update: Just after writing this, E. rang full of comfort and reassurance, said she'd be there to help Tom when I'm away - it had begun to look as if all our friends were going to be out of town that week and I was getting desperate. We then went to our regular vet, who said she's happily do it every day she was open when I was going to be away, so that only left the Sunday for E. to have to help with it. Then when she went to reorder the stuff (the surgical vet had only given us a small amount), she found it was now only available in a weaker strength, which meant even bigger, even more difficult injections. At this point I cracked and asked how much would she charge to do it every day instead of my doing it, and her quote was so reasonable I almost collapsed with relief and made the deal there and then. So now it's only Sundays to dread, and a daily lunchtime commute to Loudeac, which can be made bearable by walks at the watermill on the way home. It's not going to be a bundle of laughs but it's immeasurably better than it was going to be. She can also have the e-collar off when she's walking, to get the air around her ear, as long as we watch she doesn't roll in any dirt. As she's not Porridge this shouldn't be too much of a problem!
This relief prompted us to come home and indulge in chocolate chip cookies and peanut brittle, so much for stress-induced eating less; comfort eating was always more my way. Molly, by the way, has, it seems, gained about 250 grams on account of getting fewer walks and more food treats to compensate her poorly state. As she weighs roughly a tenth of what I do (if I'm honest), her gain was probably commensurate with my loss, so that's where it went...
Saved Nut # 2
Little Saints. This has always been a favourite, one of the first substantial posts I wrote; local interest and a tentative feel around the spiritual. The photography is limited to basic illustration, I still wasn't very confident about it at that time. I had very few readers then, but it did have the noteworthy distinction of drawing the enigmatic Brother from his cell in the Mojave to make a comment, something rarely seen then, not really at all now, as far as I know, and still, I feel, something of a feather in my cap. One of the interesting things I've found going over the archives is noting who's come and gone in the shifting landscape of blogging after two years.
Quite a long piece again, and not easy to cut; I found I even had to qualify some things which weren't clear. I used to visit the place quite often, but haven't been for a long time. Perhaps it's time I paid them a visit.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Oh no, not again... and Saved Nuts

Not again, says Molly, and so say all of us. Yet another bout of ear-related abscess, and further intervention, rounded off the general mood of vague and unjustified despondency, for which it certainly provided a focus. I hesitate even to report on this, it's became such a sad and repetitive tale of woe, yet between whiles she's so chirpy and well. The vet says the small op today should be the last, and, hopefully, it won't happen again. Let's hope he's right. At least she getting it out of the way before I'm due to be away for a week next month; this dressing stays on for ten days, the pills will be for a while longer. Tom says she looks like she's just come back from the front. So far, no need for a plastic bucket collar. Did you know they're called e-collars because they're Elizabethan collars? I suppose like the ruffs in the portraits by Hilliard and the like.

Needless to say, she's still enjoying her food.

We took her in on Tuesday, reckoning to have to spend the afternoon on it and miss the Inauguration on the telly, but she'd eaten some breakfast, and he said he wouldn't risk it, gave a an effective shot of pain killer, and told us to come back the next day. So we were able to come home, have a cheerful walk around the plan d'eau, and all snuggle down to watch, which was nice.

Anyway, as promised, a sample from the archives. I have decided to call this series Saved Nuts, from a comment Rosie left last time. This one is by popular request from the ever witty and gallant Barrett Bonden, who delights in any wry account of French living , having done his share of this. It's 'The déchèterie, and other waste matters' . I've tidied it up a bit, but not cut much really.

There, told you I wouldn't stay away for long...

Monday, January 19, 2009

A touch of the blogging blues. Yawn.

I seem to be experiencing something of a blogger's block of late.

There may be several reasons for this. I've recently come to the end of a couple of writing projects with other people, which I'll inform about in due course. They've been very satisfying, more than, but have left me a bit barren, it seems.

And then there's what I find myself doing when I sit down at the computer.

The feeds: 3 new here, 5 there, blimey, 10 new there, I haven't been to so-and-so's for that long? You're all so delicious, and you all need to be done justice, and you often make me wonder quite what it is I should be doing myself. I sometimes think it might be easier to be one of those who only reads blogs and doesn't have one. From time to time I knock a few feeds off, people I think won't miss me, rather than because they aren't of interest, but then more come along...

Then lately I find I'm slipping off to the online papers, or Wikipaedia, reading and watching articles, videos, about Israel - Palestine. My comfortable ignorance wouldn't do any more, but the remedying of it is hardly better. I've a bad head for history and politics at the best of times; it was a vaguely intractable, sickening thing on the fringes of my awareness, now it's a more clearly defined intractable, sickening thing nearer the forefront of the same. I'm heavy-hearted with other people's suffering, anger, hatred, the endless rigmarole of whose grievance counts most and why, and all the while the fear and pain.

I long to take refuge in glibness and easy opinion, to be able to shrug off, make light of and discount what suits me, scoff at this or that as being no worse than something else, close down in that way. And why not, it would make no difference to anything? I have few certainties, and those I do allow for few conclusions. And I'm well aware that while something becomes the centre of attention for a while, the litany of unrecorded suffering goes on all the while. Which knowledge doesn't make anything any better either.

Of course snippets, a quote or two, a pastiche, a photo, a few crumbs thrown to the hungry blog-monster, are fine, and probably easier on one's readers anyway. But writing, and photographing, have been important to me here, and I don't want to lose that. I think perhaps I need to step back from the screen and keyboard a bit. My longhand notebooks go untouched; I can't blame anyone else for that, I suppose there are other things I pick up and do with my hands, but I think I'm going to try to reclaim them.

This probably won't last long, it doesn't usually. I don't have a lot of time for people agonising about blogging, though I've done my share of it; I tend to think one should just get on with it or shut up, since overall it's not that important. But what I think I will do, and this was something I was considering doing a month or two back, on the suggestion of a couple of very nice encouraging readers, is go back over my archives, and dig out what I thought were the better pieces, go over and edit them a bit, and from time to time post links to them here, with a comment or two. Some of them might be of interest, and it might help me to feel a bit clearer about what I want to get out of this activity on the basis of what has worked in the past.

So I'll be back with something soon. Thanks for being around.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Nothing beautiful...

With thanks to Christopher for the quote, from a poem he left on my robin post. I meant to write a whole post round it but this'll have to do. It's eloquent enough.

We're all fine.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Les Grèves

Well, poor old Rosie rang on Saturday sounding somewhat like the later Louis Armstrong, on account of how she had everythingitis.

'Have a nice walk on me' she intoned in gravelly fashion. So Molly and I went for our walk on the estuary without her and Porridge, so we could tell them about it.

It was rather a nice day, though chilly in the shade. There was the odd effect of the sea being lighter than the sky.

The marsh drains were still partly frozen. An egret pottered down one of them, looking rather like a grumpy old man,

and finally reluctantly flew off.

I succumbed to the temptation of photographing my own shadow. Everybody does it sometime...

We walked all the way to Cesson, where Molly got twiggy leafy bits of teazle and furze in her fur,

tried ice skating,

and looked all round for Porridge. 'She's usually round here somewhere...'

We watched and were watched.

Then we followed the waymarks back again.

Now poor old Mol has contracted some doggy gastro-virus, which necessitated a late afternoon trip to the vet today. So it's just as well she and Porridge didn't meet and exchange too many canine intimacies, since I don't suppose an ailing and vomiting golden retriever would help Rosie's well-being too much. The medicines seem to have now kicked in, but the worst of it is Molly has to fast and consume nothing but medicine and a very little tepid water until tomorrow dinner time, and keeping a cocker spaniel, even a sick one, from her food is no easy thing.
Get well soon girls!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This is just to say...

I have fed
the breadcrumbs
to the robin

which you were
possibly saving
for stuffing.

Forgive me
he asked so nicely
and is really much hungrier than we are.
(After WCW)

Thursday, January 08, 2009


(Music: Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble, from the album Mnemosyne. Video made with Picasa)

I thought you might be getting just a little fed up with endless pictures of frosty weather, so I thought I'd try something different, which ended up presenting all kinds of unforeseen challenges and taking up far more time than it should have. I was unable to get it small enough to upload directly to Blogger, and had to sign up to YouTube, and even then it took ages; our broadband must be very slow, I think. Enjoyable though it was to make, I can't imagine video will become a regular feature here. I'm not really very pleased with it, though it's OK in principle; the sound quality is bad and making it as small as possible means it's horribly pixellated. There must be a better way.

The icicles along the old railtrack, where the springs run down over the rocks, were magical yesterday. Tom conceded to come with me today, when they were well on the way to melting, but still fascinating. He has recently become a sympathetic walking, or rather loitering, companion, since getting his neat little Nikon Coolpix for Christmas, he's suddenly seen the point, and even Molly's allowed to stop and sniff.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Twelfth Night, and more frosty pictures.

In the winter wonderland stakes,

this frost beats snow hands down,

it hangs in strands and batonets,
and, better still, you can walk in it.

It even makes Plémy look quite pretty,

and takes different forms according to the surface it attaches to,

and it's worth getting out early for.

But now it is finished, and sliding into rain and squelch, which I'm hoping very hard doesn't freeze overnight.
The decorations are all down, we pulled a cracker for Twelfth Night and I wore the king's paper crown. Now I prepare to resume normal duties. I've sorted out a couple of things, a yes and a no that have been hanging around, and though the former was more pleasant than the latter, I feel the better for both.
2009. Bring it on.