It was a late night last night with music, singing, drinking and writing until 3am. It was much needed after another week of early starts and general hard work. After much searching, the rat’s hideaways in the yard have been uncovered one by one, but the rat has either bolted or been crafty enough to relocate to another nest as one is being cleared.
This morning was another rainy, Cumbrian Saturday. I wrote in bed until 12pm and read a bit of the Guardian. There was a nice smell of cooking eggs from downstairs and I got 2 cups of tea in bed. We set off towards Keswick after 3pm and I drove for a change. Everything was hooded in low cloud and that hemmed in feeling the mountains give you was in full force. I’ve never been to Castlerigg Stones. When we arrived it was just beginning to get slightly dusky and the view outlined on the National Trust sign – where the stones actually jut out of the bronze and can be felt, like Braille – was half hidden by mist and shadows. We were the only people there. High up, it was freezing cold and I decided to run around the circle, and then again but in and out of the stones, to keep warm. It worked. We then paced from opposite corners to try and calculate the exact middle of the ring of stones, and – bizarrely enough – we came to the same place and found that others must have done the same as the exact centre was the most trodden part of the circle. It was the sort of fine rain that soaks you sneakily. On the way back we stopped at The Royal Oak at Braithwaite to have a pint but the rugby was on and it was so packed we sat outside under a tree on wet benches.
I’ve been reading Louise Gluck’s poetry this week and it has really caught me. I like so little poetry it’s more of shock when I do find something that I find really speaks with a clear, original voice. I haven’t fully digested what she’s saying yet and am looking forward to reading The Wild Iris later. I’ve also read Shirley Jackson’s short stories. The Lottery is a short, sinister piece of work clearly attacking small-town mindsets and persecution. Instead of this being by hair colour, choosing to be a spinster, living as an unmarried man minding your own business (What’s He Building in There? by Tom Waites comes to mind) or even having a black cat or a visible mole on your face, this is an actually lottery where the villagers draw tickets and the loser is persecuted. In says so much in so few words.