Sunday, 28 October 2012

Welsh Interlude

Just back from a week spent in North Wales. We stayed in a cottage we often stay in in the coastal village of Borth y Gest, just outside Porthmadog. It must have been good because when I sit here trying to think what we actually did there I find my mind going blank. What did we do? Not a lot - but we had a great time. We walked some of the Miner's Track on Snowdon. We went out at night to photograph the lights of Portmeirion across the water. We knocked about a bit round Beddgelert. We visited Plas Newydd, a National Trust property on Anglesey (I've blogged about the place before). We also went to Sarn Pottery (founded in 1970 by Oldrich Asenbryl) and spent a happy half hour chatting with Oldrich about jazz (most particularly Miroslav Vitous, the Czech bassist who used to play with Weather Report). The pots he makes are, I think, strikingly original, with an improvisational quality about them which, I can't help thinking, owes a lot to jazz.

Talking of music, I've found myself  nurturing a growing obsession with all things 18th Century. When stationary -and not otherwise occupied- I've been reading Tristram Shandy and when driving round Wales, whistling bits of Handel's Water Music. OK, so there are worse ear-worms to be infected with but I soon found I was driving myself (and Karen) nuts. In desperation I stopped at the first likely-looking shop and bought a CD of it to listen to instead.

Bang up to date, and on a lighter note, I've just discovered Johnny and the Baptists...

When we got home yesterday we found we still had a couple of free days so we've made a conscious effort to continue the holiday even though we're back in the land of (if not back to) the grindstone. Today we went to Seaton Delaval Hall. Imagine how pleased I was to find John Theodore Heins' The Music Party at Melton Constable hanging on the wall there.

Having an internet connection again and catching up with things in the land of blog, I discovered that The Solitary Walker has incorporated a series of interviews with poets he's published in his online poetry magazine, The Passionate Transitory. Follow the link and click on "Quinterviews" (Quick Interviews) or even, if you haven't already had a look, have read of the first issue itself.

Oh well, tomorrow I better dig out those blunt knives...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Prelude

it would be wrong to say
nothing's where it should be
I couldn't organise disorder
as effectively as that
no - what you see
reflects a state of mind
some things (not necessarily
the right things) make it
to the top of the pile
others are subsumed
their discovery coming
as a pleasant surprise
seen from the window
by one travelling on
quite a different train of thought

sometimes I think
so much work has gone in
to putting it all together
if (as they say) time is money
and (as I said) what you see
reflects a state of mind
then I have paid a price
for all that I am
don't be fooled
originality here
as everywhere
is merely a matter
of rearrangement

I found a Beethoven Sonata
I still can't play
(proudly inscribed in '76)
underneath an advertisement
for over 50s life insurance
I never followed up
(see what you're looking at
and you'll read my mind
sometimes you'll get it wrong
but rest assured
the evidence is there
you may even get to know me
better than I know myself)