Discover more from Knots in the String
... for Knots in the String.
I’m watching Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes as I write this and he’s learning to forage in the forest. In another episode, he learned to forage by the sea.
If I learned, I could intelligently collect wild food in season and use it in my cooking. We have blackberries growing too well along the fence lines at the farm and heaven’s’ knows there’s plenty of dandelions, stinging nettles, hen and chicks, rosehips, field mushrooms, wild pepper-berries and probably much more besides. The coastline can serve us with wakame and sea lettuce at the very least.
Along with our competent veggie garden and orchard, I think we could survive.
In this convoluted world on steroids, I just want to live simply, with restraint and with artlessness. That’s life!
To wake every day, go into the garden and see what plants need love and encouragement, to pull weeds, cart compost. Look at what I can harvest from a bare end-of-winter veggie garden.
There’s glossed ruby chard … jewel shades of ruby, emerald and amethyst. We have leeks that smell of earth and comfort as they sweat in local olive oil for soup, and there’s various herbs – the cook’s closest friends. We’ve got garlic and potatoes stored in the shed, and the freezer’s filled with last summer’s harvest.
We’ll have a plain but comforting white bean soup this evening – along with crusty bread and cheese.
I want to tuck my legs up on the window seat with my laptop and progress with the edits of The Red Thread.
I’m happy to walk to the coastline and just stare at the sea if the Terrier will let me. Or tramp the backroads where spotted pardalotes compete with bush ravens.
Or go to the beach with my little grandson, my kayak and his tiny white bathtub of a dinghy which he named Jingo this week (It’ll probably change next week), and to play make believe pirates or whatever is in his imagation (his word) on that day.
Because that’s life…
I look at the world and feel I must walk away to where the only intensity is the colour of the sky not politics, the sound of the sea heals the rancour of the front page, and the call of birds nullifies the snick-snack of social media.
I had the loveliest walk with the Terrier this week – a mini-escape. We traipsed the bush and then filed down some old steps by the side of a venerable tin and timber boat shed; where rust broke through the tin in scaly patches and the paint peeled off the wood like skin after sunburn. We picked our way across golden sandstone rocks embedded in the sand and then walked back along the beach together.
He went for a swim – grunting as the cool water hit his underbelly. But then he begged me to throw shells for him. The wind was howling – gales that scoured from the northwest, driving in one ear and out the other and yet I still loved that walk. The sand was swept clean and so was I – free of mental detritus and ready to face another week.
There wasn’t the sign of a wave because the offshore wind had flattened the inshore to nothing but ice-blue water, and the sheltered lagoon was mirror calm below the level of the tussocks.
The seabirds stood in groups on the ocean’s edge – oyster catchers, gulls and dotterels, beaks facing inland to the wind. The Terrier was happy shell-seeking and I just hunkered down into my quilted jacket, hands thrust deep, thinking that no, it wasn’t really the right day for a swim.
That’s okay though, because … that’s life...
*At ballet class, we wore swirling red lycra skirts that allowed us to swish and turn in the manner of the Spanish Dancers from Swan Lake. Two hours later, I had iontophoresis on tronchanteric bursitis. It was a sizzling experience (literally) and I felt it that night. But then magically, the next day, much less discomfort. If only life could be fixed so swiftly! Three more treatments to go and in my dreams I’ll be doing grand jetés across the studio!
I see this Spanish dance as a metaphor for life – shrugging a shoulder at anything thrown my way. There’s a lot of attitude (French for drama) in the dance, very much the shoulder!
I do think one gets to a point where age allows one to show attitude or the shoulder without any regret.
Am I being ambiguous? Good.
*The edits have arrived for The Red Thread. ‘…every scene wondrously painted, carried off with emotional beauty, too, as our characters ached and wavered their weary way to a stunning finale. The pace - the structure as the story unfolded with unrelenting entertainment, never once a dull moment. THAT is storytelling brilliance and not easy to pull off whilst deceiving reader into an Other world. Well done!’ J. Hudspith, Editor.
I’m relieved and excited to get to work and finally polish the novel. The cover is almost ready and once the formatting is done, I’m hoping like mad for a late September release of an e-book in the first instance, but hard on its heels, the print edition!
I would love to have a review done by one of my favourite authors (for a cover tagline) but I suspect I have run out of time.
*READING: Such a marvellous selection.
Kindle: I’m now halfway through Rhys Bowen’s The Venice Sketchbook. I feel comfortable when I read it. Not challenged, not introspective – just comfortable. Perfect.
Print: I’ve finished Elizabeth by Gyles Brandreth. It will remain by the bedside as one of my favourite bedside books. Certainly close to one of my favourite biographies.
Audio: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. It’s a such a poignant journey through words and life. Williams is a master penman. Sometimes I feel as if I need to read/listen to all my book choices with pencil and slip close by, so that I can note things down.
*I spent a whole day alone with my grandson. He’ll be five any moment and there’s been such a quantum leap in language and abilities. I watched him running along the beach, throwing shells for The Terrier and I realised that as he begins to leave his own footprints in the sand, mine are vanishing in an ebbing tide. I don’t want to think about it too much, I’ll get ‘the morbs’…
'Morbs, Mabel? What does it mean?'
'It's a sadness that comes and goes... I get the morbs, you get the morbs, even Miss Lizzie 'ere gets the morbs, though she'd never let on. A woman's lot, I reckon.'
It must derive from morbid, I said to myself....
‘I reckon it derives from grief,' said Mabel. 'From what we've lost and what we've never 'ad and never will. As I said, a woman's lot…’ Pip Williams, The Dictionary of Lost Words
And yet that’s life, isn’t it? Things we must accept in a sanguine way?
So my song this week?
Oh go on! What else could I pick but this?
And if you’re like me, you’ll get to the chorus and give it all you’ve got!
PS: You may ask why I have potted daffs as the first pic? Simply they’re so joyful! We know spring is here, we smile at the vibrant lellow trumpets. Also, this is not just an average pot of daffs. This is a ceramic and metal creation by one of Australia’s foremost mixed media artists – Aimee Pradel . I’m an enormous fan of her work and I find having the ephemeral, perennial daffs in their handcrafted pot sweetly uplifting.