Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Magic in Bed.

Sometimes my nights are long and broken. I awake in the small hours, and instead of worrying about the garden and the roof slates and whether I locked the back door or not I turn on the radio beside my bed. There is always something of interest, and last night was especially so.
Magic tricks on radio!
How much better than on television. Card tricks, when you can hear the flutter of the cards being shuffled, the clicks as they are laid out on a table top, the appreciative gasp of the audience. You can't see the cards, but you know it must be a marvellous trick.
Disbelief is almost suspended.

Sawing a man in half on the radio. You can hear the crunching and sawing. Is it bone, is it wood? You can't hear any screams of pain or squelching of blood and guts, so perhaps all is well? The images are startling, but you know it's going to be all right, really. Such a relief when the audience laughs and cheers. Phew! That was a close one.

A man is chained up with yards of metal chain, secured with three, no.....four padlocks. Four padlocks and yards of metal chain. He can't move. His hands are padlocked, so are his feet. Now they are putting him in a lift, and by the time he reaches the ground floor he will be free. How can this be?
The lift descends........ 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, (it's quite a slow lift, the suspense is great,)..... 2, 1, ground floor. There's a clank, a grinding noise.......the lift doors open......the man steps out, free, mobile, totally unchained. The crowd goes wild. I have the best view of all, alone here in the darkness. There's a glittering pile of chain in the lift. The man is rubbing his wrists. He must be sore. How many attempts did it take to get it right, and how embarrassing it must have been when the lift doors opened to reveal a crouching, contorted chained figure? I can see it all.

Uri Geller is interviewed by Dr. Anthony Clare in the psychiatrist's chair. Just for good measure Uri bends a spoon or two. Dr. Clare goes rather quiet. A vivid image, which I greatly enjoy.

I am drifting a bit in the warm bed.
I think about puppets on radio, especially Archie Andrews who had his own radio show. Even as a child I wondered if he was actually there or not, but he had a tremendous following until he was somewhat killed off by televsion.
I remember Terry Wogan's brilliant fireworks displays on radio every November. The scratch of the match, the hiss of flame and then the glorious technicolour displays. The greatest firework displays never seen, indeed.

So many other great opportunities not yet on radio, roller-skating for beginners, weaving classes, life drawing.
I think idly of the possibilities of a series about origami.
Not seeing is believing.

Night night!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Let there be Light.

Sunshine creeps round my house, day by day extending its reach, fingering its way past window edges so that each morning and each evening I can catch glimpses of it earlier and later. This week it reached the point when it slid through a gap high in the hills, rolled down them and lit the end wall of my study, briefly illuminating the dust on the wall clock, the finger marks on the glass door.
Oh, it's spring cleaning time.
It happens every year.
This house I know and love so well is my own personal Stonehenge. As the sun hits the study wall, so I also know that I must get out into the garden, to try and get it under control before everything starts reaching out to the increasing light and warmth.

After days of bright sun, but also the sort of blistering cold wind that can remove the skin from your face, two friends and I went to look for new growth in the new light. We found it in the snowdrops here in Birlingham. This tiny ancient Worcestershire village, with its population of just over 300, has a churchyard literally filled with early spring flowers, snowdrops first. There is nothing more encouraging, more hope-filled than the sight of these bravest and earliest of delicate flowers, nodding in the slightly warmer air of early February.
Each small grave of the Victorian babies who lived here for one month or just one day has its own clumps of flowers, as have the imposing memorials of the older past members of the congregation. Snowdrops carpet the churchyard and now they are spreading out beyond the graves to decorate the grass verges of the adjoining road.

Birlingham is one of those quintessentially English places, easily missed by those in a hurry, but really not to be missed this week.
(Tea and cakes available in the village hall at weekends. A wonderful luncheon menu at The Swan Inn just down the road.)