Jun. 30th, 2017

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I went back to Catney to stay at my parents' house for the night. The field next door, where the Halls used to graze cattle, is all overgrown now: grass about a yard high, with rust-spots here and there where docks grow. It would have been a nightmare in the hayfever season. It was a day of soft rain, delicious to walk in; I wanted to cup my palms and drink the rain from them. At dusk, the seedheads of the grass caught the last light, the field was silver-green. Bindweed's set its trumpets in all the local hedges; woody nightshade is flowering in the verges in little purple stars.

Currently reading John Howard's new collection, Buried Shadows. It's well worth the few years' wait since his last one, full of love-notes to London and Berlin, haunted architecture (lost German railway stations, a tower at Birmingham University waiting for a new sacrifice, a church that flits through the lives of three men across sixty-odd years). Rooms might be wallpapered in hyperinflationary banknotes* or maps of the Weimar Republic. A man looks for omens for his homeland in the clouds over London; another questions identity in Thirties Portugal. It's quietly fantastic in both senses of the word.

I had to pick up a job application from Shirley today so I took an hour or two to wander around its many many charity shops. The oddest thing I found was a Turkish saz (well, three of them in fact) hanging from a wall. They looked rather like stocky lutes. I used to have a mandolin but I make a better listener than musician. Picked up a book-length study on the uncanny by Nicholas Royle (an academic rather than the Manchester-based novelist, though he does appear in a chapter on doppelgangers). The subject line is a quote from HD ([personal profile] sovay , aren't you a fan of theirs?)  used here as an epigram. Also found an Eighth Doctor novel with Alan Turing narrating (as well as Graham Greene and Joseph Heller).

*It seems apt for this particular collection that the bookmark I'm currently using is a Scottish pound note I found tied to a velvet-wrapped coconut floating in the canal.


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