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Ah well. Had a wonderful time. Am still digesting the full dinner that is three weeks’ travel. Meanwhile here is proof that the sun did shine at least once while we were away: Schubert in the garden.

Not exactly pining for us methinks!

Photos courtesy of the lovely George B. They had a lurve thing going. Texts from her went along the lines of Schoobs catching some rays just nowSchoobs chillingSchoobs eating every meal of gourmet cat food I got for him (!).

Looks like we weren’t the only ones on holiday. Thank you, George: we found one well-fed, super-brushed and super-loved cat upon our return.

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Certainly to come:

1) light-fingered M

2) swallows and swallowtails

3) hornets and other buzzing things

4) pool (table and water)

5) anunciations, more saints than you can throw a stick at, etc

6) what we read (of course)

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I think that the last post had some kind of magical effect. Indeed! I don’t think it’s rained since. Seriously.

However it has been one looonnng week, and once again all I can do here is come up for air.

1) Poet’s Picnic on Saturday: a good time! writers, children, hot sunshine, and the most fabulous spot by the sea in Whitstable Tea Gardens.  A real pick-me-up.

2) Also on Saturday: a real live ball! This will mean nothing unusual to Brits, but to Americans…well, I’ve always wanted to go to one, and lo, I go. Long black dress, pearls (James Bond theme), stilettos. No R, not his scene, but I gamely sallied forth, and had a great time. I went for the dancing, and did plenty, losing my shoes more than once. Ahem. Also rode on bumper cars, four times. Ahem. Took a fake pistol. Ahem. And enjoyed draping myself over the pretend casino tables. I know, I know. I’m a child. I loved it. 

3) Journeyed up to Norwich School of Art & Design on Sunday night. I’m the new external examiner there for their creative writing BA programme. Given that I used to teach there (and so enjoyed it), it was a real treat to see what everyone and everything is up to. And it’s good stuff: fresh, vibrant, almost raw work sometimes — rarely if ever suffering from the over-writing that students also studying with literature with a vengeance can sometimes produce. There is also the added bonus of text and image work, which I’ve always found fascinating: index cards arranged in months, with an entry on each day. Accessible in order and randomly. Performance poetry with video link and guitar. Art house stuff. Exciting stuff. A pity then that the course has been cancelled. While there I heard that I shall see it out examining-wise: well, I’ll try to do it proud.

I’d like to be more involved with the visual arts. But I’m sorely, sorely lacking in skills and no doubt talent in that department. Alas.

4) Schubert has slain his first creature. After several weeks of (we thought) farcical hunting (I mean, a bright white cat jogging through the undergrowth, long hair flowing in the breeze — come on!), I walked downstairs this morning to frantic calls and a little deceased vole lying right smack in the middle of the doormat. He was delighted with himself, and I’ll admit it, I felt a tiny rush of pride.

5) M plays in yet another concert tomorrow. She has a new 3/4 Italian violin, which makes a much bigger sound. Suddenly her bowing arm has a life of its own. She’s the only first violin tomorrow, backed up by several second violins. She’s also the youngest. Somehow she just seems used to it all….

6) E is learning this. It is the cool of cool.

 

Just to say that Tilly is still hanging in there. She’s better, then a little worse, then…we don’t know. The vet is not without hope. Still on IV in the hospital, she looks a bit battered, but pushes her head against my hand. We think of her welfare, a different kind of balance to be striking. 

And to say too that there are so many foxes out in broad daylight at the moment. Yesterday a cub paused in the sunshine by the side of the road as I drove by.

For many reasons, I’m thinking again about loss. In the last week, we’ve lost a good friend, a baby fox (another story I’ll tell in time), almost lost Tilly, and now this morning I hear of another loss, a family one.

We haven’t lost each other though. This morning E says at breakfast that Tilly being unwell has brought us even closer. Indeed.

I HAVE MOVED

From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning

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Who am I?


A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.