Feeling Reflective

Over the years I’ve decided that May is probably my favourite month of the year. The weather’s just about right for me, everything comes properly alive again after winter and there’s a whole summer of promise ahead.

It’s surprising, then, that I’m in quite a reflective mood this week. I feel more autumnal than spring-like.

This week’s been a quiet one: self-contained and introspective. It’s been relaxing to get out in the warm evenings for long slow rambles with the dog. Poor Sally’s not up to bounding about the fields any more, but she’s quite content to limp along behind me as we walk along the river bank, or through the fields above where we used to live a few years ago.  One of my favourite walks is alongside the river Derwent, down by the priory church in Old Malton. On Monday night the fields and woods rang out with birdsong. It seems louder, more varied and more vibrant than it has for years.

Yesterday felt like the hottest day of the year so far, so to cool down I went for a night walk round Malton. I love walking late at night when the rest of the world seems to be going to sleep. When I left home at eleven there were still a few house lights on in my my road, but most people were already asleep. Most of North Yorkshire goes to sleep early, which is pleasing for a night-owl like me. I love the feeling of having the place to myself, quietly observing the jumbled Georgian and Victorian streets.

There are still a few people about: late night shop keepers, putting down the shutters; the railway signalman packing up for the night once the last train has departed for York; and the odd straggler leaving the pub and the takeaway. I was only out walking for an hour, but it seemed much longer. Back at home ours were the last house lights on in the street. I’ve got it all to myself as I write this post.

I’ve read voraciously this week too: devouring books in a way I haven’t done for years. I started off by finishing Charles Dickens’ Picture from Italy, which I read to get myself in the mood for visiting Florence and Bologna in June. Then I moved on to some of the books I bought from the Ryedale Dog Rescue charity shop in March. First it was John Wyndham’s classic 1950’s science fiction tale The Midwich Cuckoos, followed up by C.S Forrester’s whimsical love/adventure story, The African Queen. Next I read a book lent to me by a friend, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. If you’ve never read this book, you must. I did something I haven’t done in a long time and read it through virtually in one session, punctuated by a few hours sleep when I couldn’t focus my eyes any more. Jane, if you’re reading this, thanks very much for lending me the book. You were absolutely right, it’s amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

I’m now finishing off my reading fest with an author I’d heard of, but never read before: C.P. Snow. He’s largely a forgotten author now, but wrote what looks like it’s going to be an interesting series of eleven books Strangers and Brothers. I’m reading the first one, Time of Hope. It’s another charity shop purchase, so it looks like I got a good deal with three great books. Who says a pound can’t buy anything nowadays!

All that reading adds up to a plentiful supply of reviews for this blog. Look out for them from the end of June.

I’m going to round off my quiet week with a day’s fishing on Friday. Going fishing is  absolutely the best head emptier I know: it forces me to be still and quiet and focus on a small patch of water in front of me. This makes it a perfect antidote to the full on digital assault that most days seem to be.

There won’t be a Friday post this week. Given the atrocity committed in Manchester on Monday,  what I’d planned to publish doesn’t seem quite appropriate, so I’ll hold it over for a while.  With the time you’ll save not reading my post, you could pop over to the Just Giving page set up by the Manchester Evening News to help the families of Monday’s attack. They’re aiming to raise £2 million to help support the victims of this horrible crime. The link is https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/westandtogethermanchester

Hopefully after all this introspection I’ll bounce back next week. Until then take care of yourselves.



4 Responses

  1. Jane Hutchinson says:

    Well not sure what happened to my comment so second time lucky. Firstly cygnet pictures were beautiful. It’s lovely seeing and watching nature.

    I was at a friend’s yesterday drinking coffee in her garden. On the lawn we noticed a mother wren and then a chick. Must have been a naughty chick because it ran away from mum and got stuck. We left it awhile but after lunch felt we had to assist a reunion. With the help of a food scoop we managed to help the chick out into view of the mother. She soon sorted him out fed him and I am sure she gave him a good telling off.

    Glad you enjoyed book, thought you would. It gives a good in site into a condition people find hard to understand. Feel free to pass onto anyone else who would like to read it.

    Going back to nature it makes me sad to think that some of the Manchester deaths may never have experienced what we have. Life is short, for some, very short. My love goes out to those who have lost and the many who are fighting for survival. To the rest of us make every moment count and not give into the evil perputators who have a desire to destroy!

    • Dave Fernley says:

      I like wrens, we don’t get many round here, but when we lived out in the countryside there was always one in the garden. For a small bird, they must have one of the loudest songs going. They can be heard over nearly all the other garden birds. You’re right about making every moment count too, and not be cowed by those who’d make life difficult for us. it’s the best antidote!

  2. John M says:

    I’m pleased to hear you’re having a quiet and restful time of it. It’s been hectic where I am and the weather has been indifferent till now. Beautiful day today though.

    I was up on the water tanks this morning while we bunkered our potable stock from the supply vessel. It’s a fairly frequent task but hurrah, the crew can shower for at least the next three days… Fortunately I’d remembered not to wear my fleece under my coveralls so the gentle breeze that carried the billowing diesel fumes from the boat’s funnels towards me, was quite cooling for such a warm day.

    After I’d done my tests, measurements and calculations and applied my potions to the incoming supply and while I waited for the tanks to fill, I had a moment to ponder amid the rumbling of the vessel’s engines and growling of the crane.

    After the boat had pulled off I took a further fifteen minute respite in the sunshine with the breeze in my face. I was “polishing the handrail” with my elbows (as y’ do) and gazing out over a flat calm sea. Lovely to see a school of half a dozen porpoises bimble past, just wish I’d had my camera with me… Sometimes this job seems quite bearable.

    Regarding Manchester, although neither of us are real Mancunians, we both have a close affinity to the city seeing as we grew up in such close proximity to it. Words fail me on how to describe my feelings, having little ones myself.

    Alison Phillips of the Daily Mirror gave it a good go though. I whole-heartedly agree with what see says. Please read it through to the end.


    • Dave Fernley says:

      I guess you’ve got to look for a bit of peace and quiet wherever you can find it. I’ve seen some photo’s you’ve taken of the amazing sunsets in the North Sea. If you can spot porpoises, surely that’s a good reason to buy yourself a 600mm prime lens. They’re not that expensive (chortle!).

      You’re right about Manchester, it was the biggest city to where we grew up and I worked there too. It makes the atrocity seem worse somehow, when you can picture exactly where it happened. Alison Phillips’s article was a cracker, she got it spot on: you can’t let kids be caged up by fear. I don’t think this will happen in Manchester somehow. I was heartened to read about the One Love Manchester that’s being arranged. It’s a great way to remember the victims and stick two fingers up to terrorists too.

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