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Midsummer's Eve

Wednesday 24th June, another clear warm day, strong breeze.

Midsummer's Eve, eight in the evening, I stand on our ledge (sort of balcony with rickety-railed steps down to the garden, outside the kitchen door), watching the swifts, scimitar wings, flashing when they catch the sun, one, two, four... Maybe a dozen, that's twelve oh children of the C21. Reflected sun, evening gold, making all the roofs and walls across the blue gulf between me and Racehill glow. The trouble with moments like this is that one can't shift them out of context. They come with all the grief and losses and impending doom of the present day drawn up after them. Making it difficult, briefly, to wish the world otherwise.

Just finished Soldiers of Salamis, and found it very good. Falange, it means Phalanx, a greek squad, a noble little band of heroes is the image, only that's not what happened, Franco's dismal exhausted Spain happened. In theory it wouldn't be worth saying over again, but if you loved Pan's Labyrinth you'll love this. Salamis? Ah yes, one of those "turning points of European history", and I don't suppose Javier Cercas knows the Browning poem, but Name not the clown with these is exactly what he means, I think, by his "Miralles"

I praise masculine deconstructed heroics, male-ordered romance about lost causes and the courage it takes to go on living, and live well, because these aren't the Seventies.

Working on the Long Price review now, and just got the ARC of Grazing The Long Acre from PS. Good heavens. Wonders will never cease. The cover work by Mark Garlick was my choice, it's an sf version of Magritte's La Reponse Imprevue, which means "The unexpected answer". For the record, my favourites are "Destroyer of Worlds" and "In The Forest Of The Queen". There had to be a frog story!

PS, I decided not to do a Spirit encyclopedia, enough of that with Bold As Love, but I always search my characters' names, just in case, and this is what I turned up, long ago, for "Yelaixaing", night comes fragrance, which means tuberose (I suppose the Mexican flower? But maybe there's a Chinese tuberose). Isn't that nice.