Tuesday, 21 December 2010

In The Bleak Midwinter

Well, we've reached that midwinter point again, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day, the longest night.

Somehow this song from Sting just resonates with me both musically and lyrically on this our longest night...

"Ghost Story"

I watch the Western sky
The sun is sinking
The geese are flying South
It sets me thinking

I did not miss you much
I did not suffer
What did not kill me
Just made me tougher

I feel the winter come
His icy sinews
Now in the fire light
The case continues

Another night in court
The same old trial
The same old questions asked
The same denial

The shadows closely run
Like jury members
I look for answers in
The fire's embers

Why was I missing then
That whole December
I give my usual line:
I don't remember

Another winter comes
His icy fingers creep
Into these bones of mine
These memories never sleep

And all these differences
A cloak I borrow
We kept our distances
Why should it follow I must have loved you

What is the force that binds the stars
I wore this mask to hide my scars
What is the power that pulls the tide
I never could find a place to hide

What moves the Earth around the sun
What could I do but run and run and run
Afraid to love, afraid to fail
A mast without a sail

The moon's a fingernail and slowly sinking
Another day begins and now I'm thinking
That this indifference was my invention
When everything I did sought your attention

You were my compass star
You were my measure
You were a pirate's map
A buried treasure

If this was all correct
The last thing I'd expect
The prosecution rests
It's time that I confess: I must have loved you

Monday, 20 December 2010

A Winter Trip To Orford

The tartist and I have just returned from yet another rather splendid few days away in Orford, a favourite nearby spot up in Suffolk. It's strange really as it is relatively close to home and very similar in it's landscape etc. but to us it seems quite far from our every day hustle & bustle. We stayed at the Crown & Castle which overlooks the old castle in Orford built by Henry 2nd in 1170'ish (the castle, not the hotel!). It is a great place for a few days unwinding with tastefully designed rooms plus an excellent 'unfussy' restaurant with a lovely menu on which there is always locally landed fish which suits us both really well.

Orford Castle through the bathroom window of our room.

Reed Beds at Snape

The bitterly cold weather, snow & ice was a feature of this particular visit and on a couple of days out I tentatively drove us on the icy road a few miles through Tunstall forest to Snape.
At Snape the old maltings have been converted into a concert hall and visitor centre with an art gallery, cafés and shops but one of the real beauties of Snape for me is the vast area of reed beds that surround the maltings. Despite the cold I went out walking with my camera (it really was too bitter for sketching this time) under very leaden skies between blizzards, meeting up later with the tartist for hot chocolate & cake. I'm pleased to say I have returned with some very interesting reference material of the snowy, muddy, windswept reeds.

On our way home we once again stopped off in Woodbridge and spent rather more than we ought to have on books in Browsers bookshop & café, where the coffee is pretty decent and the cakes are all homemade from recipes taken from books available for sale in the shop (a simple and brilliant marketing rouse on their part). As I've mentioned before in a previous post this part of Suffolk is really well worth a trip out even if it's just for the day. I can guarantee we'll be returning soon.