Thursday, June 25, 2009

theme thursday - summer

One of my favourite books is Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee (published in the US with the title The Edge of Day) and it contains a most wonderful description of summer.

The day Rosie Burdock decided to take me in hand was a motionless day of summer, creamy, hazy and amber-coloured, with the beech trees standing in heavy sunlight as though clogged with wild honey. It was the time of haymaking, so when we came out of school, Jack and I went to the farm to help.

The whirr of the mower met us across the stubble, rabbits jumped like firecrackers about the fields, and the hay smelt crisp and sweet. The farmer's men were all hard at work, raking, turning and loading. Tall, whiskered fellows forked the grass, their chests like bramble patches. The air swung with their forks and the swathes took wing and rose like eagles to the tops of the wagons. The farmer gave us a short fork each and we both pitched in with the rest.

I stumbled on Rosie behind a haycock, and she grinned up at me with the sly, glittering eyes of her mother. She wore her tartan frock and cheap brass necklace, and her bare legs were brown with hay dust.

"Get out a there," I said. "Go on."

Rosie had grown and was hefty now and I was terrified of her. In her catlike eyes and curling mouth I saw unnatural wisdoms more threatening than anything I could imagine. The last time we'd met I'd hit her with a cabbage stump. She bore me no grudge, just grinned.

"I got summat to show ya," she said.

"You push off," I said.

I felt dry and dripping, icy hot. Her eyes glinted, and I stood rooted. Her face was wrapped in a pulsating haze and her body seemed to flicker with lightning.

"You thirsty?" she said.

"I ain't, so there."

"You be," she said. "C'mon."

So I stuck the fork into the ringing ground and followed her, like doom. We went a long way, to the bottom of the field, where a wagon stood half-loaded. Festoons of untrimmed grass hung down like curtains all around it. We crawled underneath, between the wheels, into a herb-scented cave of darkness. Rosie scratched about, turned over a sack, and revealed a stone jar of cider.

"It's cider," she said. "You ain't to drink it though. Not much of it, any rate."

Huge and squat, the jar lay on the grass like an unexploded bomb. We lifted it up, unscrewed the stopper, and smelt the whiff of fermented apples. I held the jar to my mouth and rolled my eyes sideways, like a beast at a waterhole. "Go on," said Rosie. I took a deep breath.

Never to be forgotten, that first long secret drink of golden fire, juice of those valleys and of that time, wine of wild orchards, of russet summer, of plump red apples and Rosie's burning cheeks. Never to be forgotten, or ever tasted again.

I put down the jar with a gulp and a gasp. Then I turned to look at Rosie. She was yellow and dusty with buttercups and seemed to be purring in the gloom; her hair was rich as a wild bee's nest and her eyes were full of stings. I did not know what to do about her, nor did I know what not to do. She looked smooth and precious, a thing of unplumbable mysteries, and perilous as quicksand.

"Rosie . . ." I said, on my knees, and shaking.

She crawled with a rustle of grass towards me quick and superbly assured. Her hand in mine was like a small wet flame which I could neither hold nor throw away. Then Rosie, with a remorseless, reedy strength, pulled me down from my tottering perch, pulled me down, down into her wide green smile and into the deep subaqueous grass.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

... and turn left

Down to San Diego and turn left.

We watched the news over breakfast at the motel this morning (April 27th.) It was full of reports of Swine Flu, so we decided that Tecate and Mexico would keep for another day (another year!) and thus we headed left (ok, east) towards Jacumba and towards our first encounter with Roadside America.™

The Desert View Tower - an opportunity to climb a few stairs and stare across miles of stony desert and some scary rocks

scary rock

then admire a fabulous collection of kitsch on the way down.

desert essential

And all for a few bucks! Cool.

Pushing on towards Yuma, we came across Felicity, which stands at the centre of the world. (No, really, it does. The Mayor says so.)

the pyramid marks the spot

It was eerily quiet and seemed deserted. It had an unfinished feeling, as though the builders had been interrupted suddenly ( or, perhaps, abducted by aliens?) The pyramid was locked. After we'd wandered round the place a bit, a woman popped out of one of the buildings and called to us. It was the desert, it was hot and we were a little overcome by all the weirdness, so we politely declined her offer of a $10 tour. She insisted. We declined again. She called us stupid. We left.
I believe she might have been the Mayor's wife.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

theme thursday - roof

Roofs come in all sorts of different shapes

and sizes.

Some are made of glass

or tiles.

On top of a roof you can find interesting things ...

even people!

1. Covering for the remains of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, London during restoration
2. Suburban rooftops in South London
3. Greenwich Market, London
4. My roof
5. Weathervane in Bay St Louis, Mississippi
6. Painting the roof in Biloxi, Mississipi

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

down to san diego ...


Our first full day of holiday. Brilliant sunshine and cool breezes coming in off the Pacific. Huge breakfast of pancakes, then off down the coast to San Diego. We spent a few hours at the Adams Avenue Roots Festival, then wandered around the Gaslamp Quarter and the Historic District

I bought a new camera. Yay!
Then we finished off a perfect day with dinner and jazz at Croce's.

trying out my new camera on the tram

Friday, June 12, 2009

home again

Home from our Road Trip. We've been back for over 3 weeks, but I'm only now getting down to the not inconsiderable task of sorting out and editing the photos I took.

After all, there are nearly a thousand.

Within a few hours of landing in Los Angeles, I had lost my camera. So, Himself™ kindly lent me his.

From LA we drove south along the Pacific and stayed the night in a little motel in San Clemente. In the evening we walked along the beach and watched the sun set, ate fabulous chowder on the pier and then walked some more. London seemed thousands of miles away.
Well, it was!