Sunday, April 10, 2016

And the Beat Goes On

The school holidays seem to have lasted for at least six weeks, but the calendar says otherwise. Determined to get my money's worth from our National Trust and English Heritage membership cards, I've subjected my younger son to a gruelling tour of castles, stately homes and parks. His older brother has remained in his room, mostly sleeping, like someone in cryogenic suspension on an interstellar voyage.

I find the planning and recollection of days out much better than the thing itself. The reality is usually either slight disappointment, or an awareness of being detached from the thing I am looking at and wondering why. But occasionally, something serendipitous happens that negates the angst.

My last moment of serendipity happened recently, on a mild, end of March day. I was sitting on a bench, by the ramparts of an 11th century castle and could hear birdsong, a cock crowing and the sound of people singing in the nearby parish church - it was Good Friday. At one point, a brimstone butterfly fluttered past and I remembered why I love this time of year so much.

On the way home, I picked up my mother and brought her to have lunch with us. As she struggled to get into the car, she suddenly said "I'm running out of books. Can you get me some more on your thing?"

I've ordered so many books for my mother, Amazon now thinks that my literary tastes revolve solely around tales of working class girls who become impregnated by the local squire's son. When I open the Amazon home page, a long list of titles is waiting for me.

I found one novel that looked like my mother's cup of tea, but the customer review was one of the oddest things I've ever read, straggling the line between madness and a haunting, epic beat poem.

To quote it in full (and scroll down if you lose the will to live):

Wow this Book was absolutely Great. or shall I say Fantastic
Yeah. Kay Brelland knows how to write a Book.. Thought the
Windmill Girls was good. But she's gone one better with this
One. It's been good to begin with . Got more exciting as it
Got to Rosie joining the Ambulance service. And her father's
Old Associate.I will call him Frank Purves was a bad man
Wanted to cause trouble and make him start his old business
Up. And Rosie s father said no he wanted no part in the deal
He'd made with someone down at the docks.
But he said to this man he got five hundred pounds to start
Up. A whisky brewing set up. Illegal. But John said no.
And sent a man to see him called Connor Flint. John told
Him no way was he going to do this. He'd given it up years
Ago. And .Connor said but you got five hundred pounds for
This. He said. No Frank Purves got that . He hasn't seen any
Money at all. Come his way. Frank has it all stashed away
Somewhere. Connor believed John. Cause he didn't trust
Purses and didn't like him either. So he went after him
Rosie had a child. And she'd been attacked by purves son
And had his child. Lots of hair Raising episodes happened.
From Kidnapping of Rosie s Daughter. And John and Frank
Having a bad fight. And Rosie ending up falling in love
With Connor Flint. Who was in his thirties. Rosie was twenty one
And her dramatic life in her Ambulance job. She was once a
Windmill girl. And settled down .eventually. but will not
Spoil to much by giving away too. Much. But. This book is
A must to read. Lots of war. Happening V1 Rocketts falling.
And causing disasters. keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Well this was truly great .enjoyed it very much . Worth waiting
For. To read. So I give this
Five stars truly worth it and more."

I like the seventh line from the bottom "but will not Spoil to (sic) much by giving away too."

I've been taking lots of photographs, trying to improve. I now have a cheap but cheerful zoom lense, which makes it easier to take shots of people. I'm particularly pleased with the touching scene below. It may not be a great photograph, technically, but it warms the cockles of my heart:

And further along the beach, another heartwarming sight - someone reading a book:

I used to wait for good weather before taking photos, but Gothic style buildings like this look far better on dark, stormy days. 

This is Pevensey Castle. It used to be by the coast, before the sea disappeared.  

This doorway appears to be the only surviving remnant of a much older building than the one behind it, but I can't find any information on the internet. It's just outside a village with the memorable name of Blackboys. 

This is part of Battle Abbey, built on the sight of the Battle of Hastings. Unless you visit at the height of the tourist season, it's usually mercifully empty.

Hove Station, where a footbridge offers this striking perspective.

This medieval ruin reminds me of a Caspar David Friedrich painting. I'd love to come back here at dusk and take some pictures, but I expect the staff might have something to say about it as they close at 5.00. I wonder how tall the walls are.