Apr. 16th, 2017

ashlyme: (Default)
Hello Dreamwidth. This is my first entry here, after jumping off LJ, adapted a little from an e-mail to Sovay:

I just got back from a week by the North Welsh coast with H and her son. We were in a caravan by a derelict farmhouse where owls are meant to roost; I listened for them every time I went to smoke in the night, but the owls always seemed to be passing overhead. There are lots of these wrecked houses all over the land; there wasn't the money to renovate them. The cliffs around Ysgo beach are bright now with gorse - the seawinds don't really allow for any trees apart from small warped hawthorns. It's a steep climb down to the beach. I can't swim, so I settled for wading through rock pools. I found sea anemones (burgundy with electric-blue dots); they felt like Velcro when they tried to snare your finger. A dead jellyfish washed up on the beach, artificial or designed-looking out of the water: pearl-white and the blue you find at the heart of a candle flame. There were oystercatchers peep-peeping on the rocks, and an island of puffins further out - I'll catch the ferry out there next year. I picked up stones; there's the equivalent of a small beach on my bookshelf now. I wish I'd the geological nous to tell you what they all were, but there are gnarled lumps of sealing-wax-red sandstone, glaucous pebbles veined with quartz. We built a beach fire from the driftwood on the last night: the cliffs bulked dark behind us. Louder than the fire, the breathing of the sea, fresh water bubbling under the pebbles on the way down to the waves.

We'd planned to do Portmeirion, but cost prevented us; lack of fitness stopped us climbing Snowdon, but we did a parallel hillside walk in nearby Llanberis. Waterfalls frothing over stark rock, trees furred in moss. You turn and the dark peaks have snagged cloud like a shawl; the workings of slate quarries have terraced the slopes. Nearer home, we pushed up through gorse to get to a radio mast on a neighbouring hill. Not permanently manned, but there are huts there: it looks like the setting for an early 70s SF TV serial. The wind was thrumming through the aerial that day and it just came to me the place is a huge Aeolian harp.

I didn't do much reading - some retreading of Machen and Sebald, though I picked up an anthology of natural history essays by women; I watched a lot of Jeremy Brett's Holmes. A beautiful, beautiful man: such a pleasure to watch those hooded eyes, those flickering thin hands. He's not only the canonical Holmes, he seems to me the queerest; there's a laconic archness to him. Maybe that's coloured by my knowledge of Brett's bisexuality.

I started puzzling out a new Nairns tale while I was out there, maybe called "This Candid Field" from an Edward Thomas quote. Or "When A Warm Wind Blows Through The Grass". "To Utter Dust", the first in the sequence will hopefully come out later this year, in Supernatural Tales #35. Like that story, this one will draw on love of place; it might be the closest I've come to a traditional ghost story. None of which is getting "The Concrete Child" finished - when I really want to procrastinate on a story, I just start another. Simples!

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ashlyme

July 2017

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