Tedious start to the blogging day — nine vaguely vile comments from Patrick, aka Micky. All zapped as spam. It is curious that the persistent efforts of a troll have united the recovery blogging community so firmly in our decision to ignore him and keep blogging regardless.
Up early, tea in bed and a shared newspaper, the sun streaming into the room, the happy noise of children laughing as they play in a neighbouring garden. After breakfast i went off to St Mary’s and heard Fr Richard, unkempt and very soft of voice, preach with great sincerity on the Oxford Movement of Keble and Newman. We sang Anima Christi from the 7th-century Latin and I kept thinking about the dark and strange church at Clodock that I explored yesterday, the high pale windows and cold light on the flagstones, the closed panelled pews and high wooden gallery. Outside row on row of old tombstones, engravings from earlier than the 1780s obscured, yews and a swift river rushing past behind the church. A weight of buried but unforgotten history evident in these olf pre-Reformation churches. Going up for communion and chewing a very stale wafer with some distaste. Then out again into the sunshine and coming home to lively conversation, him about to go off climbing. Laughter, and the house sweet with the fragrance of stargazer lilies in a vase in the entrance hall.
Such an enjoyable day yesterday, driving down along obscure half-hidden lanes past old Methodist chapels and country inns, over streams and stone bridges, through green and dappled woodland, down to Abergavenny. Stopping to look at Longtown castle, the round keep, so dark and mysterious, looking for something I could not name, the sense that this is a place used for rituals, for ceremonial there in the shadowy womblike space. Then up to Raglan and beyond, up the mountainside to have a walk and supper with Jim and Ann. More laughter, an easy rapport there, all of us talking about travels and education and family anecdotes (mine all ruthlessly suppressed, alas), looking down hill on Raglan castle and the landscape once ravaged by Cromwell. Supper and more conversation. A white and ginger cat, Bonnie, dopey from phenobarbitone, given to treat feline epilepsy. From the conservatory we watched buzzards circling over the steep fields below. In the garden I stepped into the shade of curving branches from a weeping birch and heard a muffled sound like women singing. Black bees flying out of a grassed-over hole near the hedge, buzzing like small fiddles all played at once.
Back along dark lanes, oncoming headlights a shock, the moon a chip of ice in the starless sky, driving on and on in loops and bends, swooping over hills, talking sleepily in the dark. But alive to the warmth and happiness of the day, the pleasure of homecoming.