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Gloom and Sunshine

Wednesday 2nd March, cold but the sun has come out. Hazy sky, faintly blue, suffused with light. Lulu Belle Camellia may have to come indoors again tonight, however. Three frogs have been seen, no further action, no spawn. One of these years...

Sunday 27th in the grey stillness of a shrouded end-of-winter day, we found something strange outside Mayfield (=Maul's field in Saxon times, formerly the capital of the Sussex iron industry you know). A large rectangular pit, still partially clothed in swimming pool blue, a few inches of dead leaves and water in the bottom, the trees around leaning close to grab the open sky. Marked on the map, "swimming bath", wonder how it got here, who swam here, and when did it fall into dereliction. The answer to the first might be the spring close by, running strongly from a metal pipe into a mossy stone basin and spilling downhill to a tributary of the Rother. Spring recently adopted as an al fresco "Celtic Shrine", and declared sacred, which does not mean it was left alone in beauty, no, it means the young ash tree above it had been requisitioned as an eyesore: coat hanger for rags of coloured cloth, beads, twisty things. A notice wrapped in plastic invited us to add our own. Bloody Pagans, litter-louts. Where do they get off? Are we on Celtic ethnic territory here? I don't think so! Oh well, at least they didn't build themselves a lurid basilica. Yet.

But I tasted the water, and it was sweet.

This is richly populated country, since Saxon times. Walking around Mayfield woods and fields you're rarely out of sight of some human dwelling, mainly ancient and fine, or derelict and pleasingly spooky, but still it feels as if you're strolling through an extremely leafy extended garden suburb. Bit like the Shire, maybe, except no grass roofs. Yet. The footing also unspeakably slimy throughout, that's Wealden Clay for you, and sometimes vile (eg getting past the deer feeding station in Wadhurst Park, disgusting lakes of slurry). But there were primroses, the first we've seen, crowds of yellow hazel catkins, fully expanded; amiable sheep. I like sheep, as you may have gathered. Birdsong, non-stop and the sound of water; neither of these disturbing the quiet. A skein of geese went honking overhead, dropping rain and then a cold breeze got up towards sunset, but we didn't mind.

Many thanks to Mr Plashing Vole, for his book order. Universe of Things is in the post, and a donation of £13 has been made to Amnesty International. I have more Universes! It's for a good cause, come on.

Meanwhile, joy it was in that dawn to be alive seems to have segued into a dreary, deadly civil war in Libya, and no good news from Wisconsin either. The tight little group of regular respondents on Common Dream are convinced the anti-Gaddafis are being financed by the CIA, and maybe that tells the whole story.

Meanwhile #non-war news, Gill Spraggs has posted some new links on the doubtful future of copyright, and the issue of Mr Cameron's plan to adopt a US style system. Join the mailing list if you're interested:


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Tierney Fairchild on :

Hi Ms. Jones! I am the literacy coach at Hickory Ridge Middle School in Harrisburg, North Carolina. I have been searching for a way to contact you and I apologize if commenting on your blog is an inappropriate forum! I am reading Dr. Franklin's Island with a class and I would love to have my students video chat with you. Would you consider doing that? I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your books...they are fabulous!

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