So I’ve come away for a little me time: to read and write and have a think and pray about what next. I envisioned entering into this lovely place and after a time rattling around, settling down to write something interesting. But all I was afraid of was that i wouldn’t have anything to write about. Ive got ideas, know what I want to do but the quiet here is so beguiling.thrushes and blackbirds call to their mates and offspring, and there is a scurry of paws and claws on the laminate: Wren is here -the owners’ dog- sniffing my beach shoes in ecstasy and nuzzling my toes and elbow for a cwtch. It’s good to focus on one dog, and Ginnie my dog seems so far away. I miss her silky, cheeky, presence. I miss her sitting parrot like on my shoulder. She would love it here but given her minute size I would lose her to the rabbits or the boy cattle in the field next door who are munching their way to their fate!
Perhaps its the silence that lends itself to feeling distant from home.Ahead of me, I have hours of uninterrupted time, albeit with a 48 hour limit, and a view of Snowdon where if my eyesight were better, I could see the steam from the trains. Hawk trainers criss cross the sky and a tractor trundles past and then suddenly the earth holds its breath and the birds start chirping again — but at a lower volume — and the world seems to slide into that late afternoon cup- of-tea-and-scone-cream-tea- feeling. The bees are becoming lazy around the wigelia. Wren dashes in after a forage in the garden, smelling of cinnamon and herbs.. I later found that it was fennel that has seeded itself in green, frothy, fragrant fronds strewn across the garden. “Where did you rummage, now?” I ask Wren. “How do you smell so good?” She wags her tail and licks my hand then dashes off to find more what ever it is that smells so good. The roses are in bloom some need deadheading and the borders are fragrant. Each foray by Wren into the bushes gives off a new scent.
I had meant to have a late lunch of avocado and prawns but it turned into a battle. The avocado won, the husk remained welded to the flesh and it turned into a battle of wills: green slime v Anne. it was so slippery I could have used it as a face pack. The prawns were a no-show and relegated to the bin -they were iffy. It seemed so important to get my first holiday meal right so all good things would fall into place. I am in a beautiful and serene location. The house is lovely, airy and blue. That should be enough for now.
The next meal is perfect cooked by Alison and Kev following on from an icy swim — the first of this year. There was one abortive attempt on Llanddwyn on Monday night – I am less hardy than I was. Once Alison and I stayed in the sea at Llangranog for hours; neither of us wanting to be the first out because it was warmer in than out! we finished off with a cup of tea that time too! Tonight though, Green trees, blue sky, the smells of garlic and olive oil a shopping list for Provence or Tuscany, Tuscany rather given the sugo sauce and the tagliatelle and a little bit of Greece with the fried Halloumi – we cruise the mediterranean from the depth of Kev and Ali’s patio. Drinking Prosecco, with marilyn, Gwyl, Lyndell and Stephen, we watch the sunset from the garden as it settles over the drystone walls. Pink herringbone clouds streak through the sky shaped like dolphins and fish and `I wonder if this perfect weather will hold.
My friends are concerned offering lifts home. Will I be alright? Look out for the fox. Not one of them warns me about the bats that flit amongst the trees — heavy with midges and already as dark as midnight. The bats fly capturing shadows at the edge of my vision. The hedgehog is friendlier if a bit camera shy, and it is a rabbit — much to Wrens delight that escorts me along the driveway to my retreat my temporary home. Now the trees are black against a warm summer sky. it could be provence, it could be Tuscany. But I’m in Ynys Mon, basking in the best weather I can remember for years, enjoying the warmth and the light.
I am so lucky to have the friends who were with me tonight, who cooked for me, swam with me. Lucky too to have the use of this cottage. Lucky too that they were concerned about me. the walk home through the celandines,the cow-parsley – and even the bats was pretty magical.
its years – 23 since I last holidayed in Anglesey. Living here has made that unnecessary but this week, has enabled that elusive thing: a UK (very short!) holiday in perfect weatherI have had a family picnic on the beach where we were so hot none of us felt like eating. Ive walked the dogs along the (permitted) routes, through the dunes and along the shore line. I paddled knee high soooooooo tempted to swim but realising that beyond the shallows it was alliteratively freezing!
I had hoped to be awake and watch the dawn, but yesterday’s swim coupled with today’s cloud cover made that unlikely. Ominously the cows are lying down in the field next door guarding their patches of grass but, it is 7.30 and I am up ready to write. Suddenly this uninterrupted 48 hours of down time feels very frightening.
116 words in and the bloody thing resists re writing! I want to cut and paste previous records from a memory stick and lap top deliberately left at home so that I can’t succumb to the fifteen thousand word muddle I got myself in. But an hour or two later and I am satisfied. Scrambled egg and 2000 words – what more could anyone ask? My hosts must wonder what I’m doing. Suddenly a colony of flies have made their home in “my” conservatory. Ruthlessly I closed off he back half of the cottage to keep it cool while I shut all the windows and doors. Flies make me feel ineffectual with their useless buzzing and ten sound like a grass cutter. Earlier a group of rabbits were playing tag in a field enjoying the warmth after no doubt hearing that wren had gone to the beach
This writing lark is a strange business its a bit like falling in love. Theres the initial rush of feeling to get it on paper or on screen; then to make the relationship work you have to pick out what works dot the is and cross the ts so that the text and I are both clear about where we stand: where there have to be compromises, where the work needs to be done and where the relationship and text soar. sometimes though, it just bumbles along unlike the flies in the conservatory this afternoon who turned my tea towel into a murder weapon!
I think too the trick is, despite a productive word count, knowing when not to push it. the text and I both need space from each other. Ive made it to 4K Enough. For now.
The plan had been o sit and watch the sunrise and hope that it burnt the mist off the mountains. not so. It is warm and sticky here pleasant in the shade with time and space to write. I didnt get an answer to my prayer – although something has been set in motion; because I have a re write in progress and the knowledge that with focus, time and space I can apply myself. The trick is now learning to deal with the things that cross my path: the things that seem monumental and urgent at the time, but are in the great scheme of things irrelevant and or infinitely sortable. Perspective!. i have become a serf to measurable things: targets results, time, performance management – external measurable that don’t really get to grips with who i am and it is easy to get dragged into the whole self appraisal thing that it becomes about the whole self rather than a professional aspect to be left at the door. Perspective. there will be days and weeks (and this will be one of them) where work takes over.
But. I have a recipe for sugo sauce, I can replicate the pleasurable aspects in food, a swim, prayer, listening to birdsong . Here there is a choir of well fed (on fat balls) thrushes, blue tits , grey tits a robin a black bird and a swallow. Ive been blessed by sunshine, friendship, food, silence and fellowship. My next challenge: real life.
so for today, for Heddiw, thank you Nigel and Diane.