Monday, 21 November 2016

All downhill....(no, not me, now ;)

The other day I was investigating on the internet to see if I could find my Grandmothers house, (the one who was a teacher), and surprised myself in a big way.  I found the house and it looks exactly the same.  Even down to the colour of the front woodwork and the black paint on the garage doors.  I can't believe it, it must be 57 years since I last saw it!  I was expecting to see the windows all changed and extensions etc after such a long long time.  But there it was, and I was transfixed just gazing at it.  I had actually begun my search to see if I could trace a pathway I used to ride through the fields when I was ten and allowed sometimes to borrow my Aunt's bicycle.

Can you remember when you were ten and  coasting down a hill on your bike?....

I'm pretty sure this is the track I was looking for.  In the summer those bushes closed over the top and formed a kind of tunnel, mysterious, yet kind of foreboding, exciting.  Trees were festooned with Oak-apples, and the sun would dance about like a flash-light being switched on, then off, off then on, as you whizzed past ever downwards into the increasingly inky black darkness awaiting to engulf you at the bottom.

Sometimes at night now when I've gone to bed and lie in the darkness I'm riding the bike again.  But instead of going down the hill path I've taken a right turn, skirting the corn and barley fields, and I've reached the unmanned level-crossing for the goods train.  In the dead of night I used to hear the mournful tooting of the little train as it approached the crossing whenever I stayed with Nannie. STOP.  LOOK.  LISTEN. Warned the black and white sign beside the line, encouraging all to stay alive.  How swiftly I'd run across wondering how it might be possible to miss anything as large and loud on such a straight stretch of line.  But then I'd cycle slowly onward through the sleepy summer afternoon quiet, between hedges where blue butterfly's fluttered and Lords and Ladies nestled in the long grass verge like jewelled fairies,startlingly red, and somehow a kind of hush and stillness descended, when all that could be heard would be the trembling rise of the skylark high up, a black dot amongst the sunny clouds, and the rustling of the leaves, and opening up beside me to the right, there was the farmyard.
A moment.......
An awareness of time-slipping.  The farm dog sleeping in his old kennel, his chain rattling slightly against the wood, all the hens and ducks out together in the yard, lazy clouds of summer grey dust disturbed by their feet.  The farmhouse door stands ajar.  Inside the sound of someone moving, a flash of white and then nothing.  It's as though I have slipped through a hole in time.  Everything around suspended.  A strange ethereal feeling.  Then suddenly the sound of a woman singing.  The notes rising and falling, dancing across the sunlit fields and lanes.

'Lean out of the window
For I heard you singing 
a merry air

My book is closed;
I read no more,
Watching the fire dance
On the floor.

I have left my book;
I have left my room,
For I heard you singing 
Through the gloom.

Singing and singing
A merry air,
Lean out of the window,

James Joyce

(Sincere apologies to whomever these photographs belong...The only references I can find is Panoramio, and eddie.g4ppb.
I will remove the said photos immediately if you require me too.  In the meantime, a "Big Thank" you for taking them in the first place and enabling me to return to that precipitous pathway)

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Trouble at the mill!

Sorry to be away so long everyone.. be back really soon.