Saturday, 13 June 2009

Local Journeys

The past few weeks have been a flurry of movement. There was another trip to Gatehouse of Fleet, to attend the launch of Markings 28 with the amazing Pete Brown, who wrote many of the lyrics for Cream, as the main reader. He talked about his hitch-hiking trips to and from Scotland in the sixties. AJ came up in conversation and he happened to phone me soon after that. He said – Pete Brown was the person who started the poetry readings, he was the one who got it all going. He'd pin a handwritten notice outside an art college, saying there would be a reading, and maybe half a dozen people would turn up, then the next time he appeared, there would be twenty.

AJ had tried to get in touch with him, to let him know about his recent books, A Great Beauty and Walking Through Apocalypse, [available from ] so I was able to put him in touch with Chrys Salt, one of the editors of Markings.

The day after the reading at Gatehouse, Tessa and I revisited Cairn Holy (this pic was taken earlier in the year, at the equinox.) Tessa and I went there at sunrise on the equinox, but the mist and rain obscured the view of the line of sunlight moving across one of the stones. J Proskauer later described it to us (he had seen it the year before) : the growing shadow moves across and up, as if cutting the sunlight in two, until the lower sunlight is almost obscured by the shadow. But just before it is, one drop of sunlight moves downwards, towards the earth, an actual and metaphorical view of the seeding of light into the earth.

Then there was a quick visit to Fife, in a slow bus, where J W now resides close to the sea, after living for a few years in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Her poetry pamphlet, Sky Blue Notebook, was one of the winners of the Poetry Pamphlet Competition . We talked about some of our favourite writers, including Henry Miller, Natalie Goldberg and Dubravka Ugresic. She also gave me some needed gardening tips on how to dissuade slugs from lettuce munching. The sunny weather continued though there was a seriously brisk sea breeze.

Music and poetry performances were planned for June 5th, at Iliff Simey's wonder woodland, in Coed Nant Gain, North Wales. The event was cancelled because of the rain, but Maureen Weldon and I still managed to do a small indoors reading. This is a magical forest: Iliff says “The deep ecology concept underpins all that I do at Coed Nant Gain, for we are not dominant but co-exist in harmony with all beings, otherwise we harm ourselves. “ Iliff is also an architect and has built his own wooden house in the forest. You can find out more about his woodland project HERE.

Meanwhile, Balkan Travellers have invited me to be one of their blog contributors on their site, with content relating to the Balkans. The first posting is up, as is the article on Durres and its amphitheatre