Monday, 26 September 2011
Rain, of course.
Fine, drifting, misty rain that obscures the hills and swirls gently down the valleys.
We can't see very far ahead, but there is always a castle to visit. Where ever you are in Wales, there will be a castle towering into the mist, crumbling into the damp grey earth. The past is always right beside you in Wales.
In this particular castle, which happens to be Raglan, my son and daughter-in-law take refuge on the hearth of a massive, dripping kitchen chimney, where they dance about a bit to keep warm. Then we go down into the undercroft, where there is a roof and a bit of dryness.
Later, back at the cottage, the little garden is green and dripping, and then suddenly diamond-spangled as the sun comes out. The only sounds are the irregular thumps of small hard pears, falling from an ancient tree, the croaking of crows, and the mewing buzzards floating high.
A light breeze bowls along the lane, lifting leaves, and a cascade of pears thuds to the ground.
The outdoor tables and chairs are crunchy with thick grey lichen, and a few autumnal wild-flowers, mallow, coltsfoot, cranesbill and herb robert sprawl in the long wet grass. The grey stone walls are mossed with fat green cushions.
A distant engine; a two-tier trailer of sheep arrives and is clankingly opened, metal ramps lowered. The sheep hesitate, poised between freedom and security. Then one steps out, and a clattering flurry pours down into the little muddy lane. Down the valley, over the stream, into the field. The dog circles, eyes fixed on the slow, the wayward, the hesitant.
In the west the heavy grey clouds come to a slow rolling boil again, and the sun shines white through a haze of mist.
The crows fly away to the east, shouting raucously to one another as they go, and in the trees behind me a squirrel natters and shrieks at a threat that only he can see.
Green and grey, damp, dripping and spangled, unpredictable and timelessly lovely. This was a weekend in Wales.
P.S. Nearby is a wonderful craft gallery, selling the work of talented local artists, like 'this one'
Sunday, 18 September 2011
This is a stinker of a jigsaw, so many shades of murky brown, random splashes of colour, broken fragments, crumpled fragments, uneven surfaces. When it comes together it is a simple picture of the interior of a garden shed. Not unlike mine, although mine is currently tidier.
I'm only doing it so that I can pass it on to someone else, and it's so mean to pass on a jigsaw with bits missing.
The good thing about jisaws is the thinking time they offer; the meditative, rambling sort of time, which is just what I need at the moment.
I've mentioned previously that I have found communication difficult because I seem to have entered a whole new phase of thinking and being - which is absolutely great when you are seventy-one and three quarters!
My life has sometimes been murky brown with crumpled fragments, and sometimes randomly splashed with bright colour. Very often it has been a mixture of both. But recently a strange sort of clarity has emerged.
I am working as a volunteer at 'a local Hospice' and suddenly it feels as if the jigsaw is completed.
There is a complete reality here that I have not experienced in any other place. There is no need of, nor place for pretence. No one has to keep up any sort of appearance for any sort of motivation. The motivation of this remarkable place is contained in its motto, 'Caring for Life', which is exactly what we all do. We can all just be ourselves and enjoy each others' company for as long as possible.
I do lots of different things here. I load and unload the dishwasher very frequently. I make lots of cups of tea and coffee, I hold quite a few hands, I laugh and smile more than I do in most other places. There is a great deal to smile about.
I'm doing some other, more specialised jobs that my previous training has made possible. Then I'm being trained for more. It's impressive when an organisation is willing to put expensive training into someone of seventy-one and three quarters.
Sometimes, obviously, there is sadness. When that happens we are in it together. Always, there is honesty and dignity, and caring for life.
The jigsaw comes together.