Thursday 26 April 2007


February 2 2007

Happy Imbolc, a thoughtful Candlemass to you all! In ye olden times today was a festival of hope and trust. The idea being that, though everything seems dead yet, under the earth, new life is stirring. It was said to be a time to focus on one’s dreams, about keeping hope alive when everything seems hopeless. I think it’s a lovely festival (and that it deserves reinstating) – something to offset the crude commercialism of Christmas and the rampant greed of Easter. So, in honour of the turn of the year, I have lit my incense (clouds of it billowing round the house) and got my pots of tiny daffodils on the window ledge. Tonight I will get James to join me in a simple little ritual. As it gets dark, we won’t turn on the lights but will sit and watch the light fade. We’ll think about everything for which we’re grateful, all the little tiny things – the everyday things that often get forgotten. Then, once it is totally dark we light tiny candles, one by one slowly, until the room is full of light. We remember that it’s the small hopes that sustain us in tough times.

What a stunning morning. As we drove off the moor, a huge hare loped in front of us for a while, lazily, not in any particular hurry. There were ponies grazing on the road over the moor, and a pocket of deer in the distance. The trees stood stark, black silhouettes, against a gunmetal sky. As I turned homewards, just twenty minutes later, the sky had turned cornflower blue with the clouds tinged with flamingo pink – honestly it was the most extreme colour combination, but totally stunning. One thing marred all this beauty. A pheasant was standing in the middle of the road (nothing new in that) so I slowed down and inched towards it (as there were no cars in either direction). Although they are birds with little brain, they will usually cotton on that something large and dangerous is approaching and scuttle away or fly up with a furious squawk. But this one evidently had no brain whatsoever. There was a horrible slow crunch – it had just sat there and I’d driven straight over it. Yuk. I don’t like pheasants (all that gang-rape put me off) but even so I don’t like gratuitously running them over (and too squished for the pot as well).
Cowgirl has been tempting me by sending pictures of a stunningly gorgeous house in New Zealand. Given it’s the price of a bog-standard semi over here, I wonder why we don’t just up sticks and go. But I can’t quite let go of England and Exmoor, no matter how infuriating both can be.

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