These last two weeks have been a bit tough. Preparing for, and then returning to, work I found especially hard after being off so long. My desk was still there though with all my sweets and snacks in the draws and nothing much had changed. Last weekend we walked from Nether Wasdale across a swamp and then fields to a waterfall. I felt tired at first, every muscle complaining and the effects of the medication I take (which I think is the culprit) causing all my joints to ache. The walk actually helped. I looked in the stone walls all the way along the route (I’d forgotten the metal detector again) and found evidence of animal activity and very old industrial bits and pieces (bits of ploughs, rusted chains, strange bolts etc). We saw the screes running down the mountainside to Wastwater. I enjoyed a pint of elderflower beer in The Strands Inn beer garden.
I sort of enjoying reading Broken River by J. Robert Lennon, but no character was particularly likeable and that’s always a bit of a barrier. I’ve ordered a good pile of books to read and it makes it easier to get through the day knowing there’s a book waiting. I’ve started another Elizabeth Strout book and ordered everything by David Foster Wallace. I’ve been working on my ‘Oxford’ poems and my ‘Cumbrian’ poems, both sets are written from the perspective of a 9-12 year old. I’ve been looking up the old Oxford of my childhood, as the city has been renovated again – the old Westgate Centre (above which my mum and dad got married in 1976) is unrecognisable. I haven’t been back for a long time but I get reports from my sister. I’m writing about Cornmarket Street before it was pedestrianized and the old basement Co-Op which has got some memories from a strange time. Change always feels like loss to me.
The feral kitten, Pepper, is a ball of energy but very sweet (watching the washing machine go ‘round, falling asleep on the cooker top for some residual heat). She a very skilled little hunter and measures will have to be taken to protect the birds (a bell collar). I’ve been watching films on Netflix about escaping into the wild – some inspiring, some sad and some unintentionally hilarious – one particularly terrible one that involved the largest more impractical backpack known to humanity. I’m spending lots of time looking at places to escape to (such as holidays tracking wolves in Canada and tropical places). I’ve decided there are some things I do want to do while I’m on the planet.
We’ve been watching a strange series called Gypsy on Netflix with Naomi Watts. It must be captivating or intriguing in some unknown way as we’re on episode 9 out of 10 but it’s also very slow and frustrating. The main character is a therapist who has an identity crisis, leading her to meddle (very unprofessionally!) in her patients’ lives.
Today has been rainy, which is not unusual for a Sunday in West Cumbria. We’ve been to see Dunkirk, which I thought was excellent – and then Harry Styles made an unexpected appearance! We drove to Cockermouth and had tea in the The Bitter End pub. I’ve realised this blog’s particularly lacking in poetic content. I had a lovely (poetic!) email from a poet I met on the Arvon course and I really appreciated that. Now I’m wondering whether to write or read but am not keen for Monday to begin, starting the week’s carousel of duties. I’ve put a picture up of me drinking tea, revising a few drafts and watching the birds in the yard only because all the old, nostalgic Oxford photos I’d chosen were under copywrite (with names written across them when I tried to copy them) and at least the picture’s got a bit of poetry in it. There’s an owl hooting in the trees opposite and I feel lucky to be sitting here listening to that.