I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


Rare pic of RR going rural at snail's pace
Brother Sir Hugh's long solo walk from Berwick-on-Tweed to somewhere in Somerset (Check out the map, it's rather more than a step.) came to a painful end when he fell and broke his arm quite badly. A metal plate and all that. We picked him up from his home in Arnside and had him convalesce with us for a week.

The sun shone on Saturday and he suggested a gentle walk suitable for invalids or, in my case, unwalkers. Familiar with his obsessions, I knew it would have to be quantified - numbers play a huge role in his perambulations. I also sensed I must push against notional targets however piddling the distance.

A loop was devised around Dore Abbey (Cistercian, 12th century, thoroughly modernised in the 13th.) The first problem was parking: Herefordshire's rural roads are one car's-width wide and snake between high impenetrable hedges. The pedestrian route lay between a mini-river (name unidentified) and a seemingly endless field of early wheat - a word that always invites me to pronounce its internal h. Then an orchard, then narrow roads with a surprising amount of uphill.

Back in the car, surrounded by electronics, we got down to the good stuff: measurement. The walk covered 3.27 miles and took 72 minutes. Our rate was calculated as 2.85 mph which I regarded as pathetic - in my swimming days a mile's crawl took about 55 minutes. Sir Hugh, who seemed impressed by my gait ("As if you wanted to get if over with."), said it was OK... considering.

MORE ATYPICAL RR. Bought myself a stainless steel dibber, nominally £16 but reduced somewhat. Used it to plant cosmas, candytuft, Californian poppy, etc. Sir Hugh took the pix. That's it, Tone Deaf doesn't do horticulture.
Even rarer pic: RR gardening with expensive new dibber


  1. You set off like a man on a mission. I had to concentrate to keep up with you. The average speed would be more than satisfactory for a full sixteen mile day. When you consider the four year age penalty that is impressive, especially in the light of my friends Pete's pessimistic, but regrettably true utterances, often reminding me that each year older makes an exponential difference - he is the same as age as you.

    I think the ludicrously expensive dibber was compensating retail therapy for your enforced exertions.

  2. Haha! I like Sir Hugh's comment, and the occasionally lugubrious tone.

    Oops, just called from frivolity to dinner. I love a man who cooks. Anon.

  3. Sir Hugh: Short as it was this was a walk not an amble, a peregrination, a roaming, a traipsing, or on itinerancy. The aim was to come to the end of it and then luxuriate in the arithmetic the walk had generated: that, if anything, was the mission. To establish a pace and to maintain it throughout. Taking notes would have been literary slippage. The sort of thing Coleridge would have done.

    The account is later fleshed out with whatever one can remember which isn't very much. I teetered about including the hoodie you found in the orchard then decided it was what musicians call an "accidental". There was also traffic on the road which irritated me but I further decided I would ignore my state of mind. In any case it would have been hypocritical to discourse on traffic since we'd arrived by Skoda Octavia.

    I could too have concentrated on the walk's topology, the surfaces we traversed, the way my feet disappeared into the narrow grassy trough that constituted the pathway, the potholes. But that might have been seen as "going poetic" which risked pretensions about an experience sensed mainly through the soles of one's feet and the unaccustomed use of one's thigh muscles.

    The walk is over and is suitably categorised. I have ruled out gardening. That seems to leave only philosophy. Ambulare ergo sum.

    I trust you are well. Or at least better.

    Marly: Your brief comment might be considered as an aperitif or, as quotidian restaurants are wont to say, a "starter" for your dinner. But does hubbie cook imaginatively?

    I am heartslufted to be labelled only "occasionally" lugubrious, having aimed at "continuously" .

  4. Continuously! Perhaps I was just being a softy.

    My husband is a wondrous cook and baker. I am spoiled. His grandmother taught him to be a plain cook and pastry-maker when he was a child, and he has grown adventurous since then. He is grand with or without a recipe, and often imitates meals tried in foreign countries. I'm still thinking about the old-fashioned peach pie we had for dessert. He got the recipe from somebody's mother, and I think it's late nineteenth-century. For that matter, I'm still thinking about when he made chocolate croissants. Yum. He's a much better cook than I am now (was not always true.) He is willing to put a lot of time into dishes. And I can't stand cutting up meat, and he's a good butcher. URGH. I could so easily be a vegetarian. Also, he hunts (I know, absolutely not p.c.), and so we've eaten elk, antelope, etc. I credit him with giving me time to write several books. Not having to cook often is a great savings to me.

    Wrestling with phone (deleting stuff so I can update) and computer (updating so I can open files that I can't open at the moment, drat it.) Shall come back and read the story later.

  5. Marly: You're blessed in so many ways. Great writer, great poet, boundless energy, eternal cheerfulness (like the Boy Scouts, whistling and singing throughout all dangers), social conscientiousness (ie, you answer all comments however prolonged the sequence) and - this latest endowment - a true helpmeet. Releasing you into unfettered imagination.

    "Can't stand cutting up meat" (Not to be confused with meet as in helpmeet). One contributory reason may be that your knives are never sharp enough. May I recommend a sharpening steel embedded with diamond dust; expensive but life-enhancing. A blade that passes through shoulder of lamb - that most difficult joint - as if it were smoke takes you straight into the Empire of The Senses. All writers should book regular trips there.

    I trust you match your paragon's abundance with little treats which cost you dear. Cleaning his guns, for instance.

    Or how about a joint bank account? VR and I have had one since marriage; mutual financial awareness can be the mortar that holds together the nuptial structure.

    Blessings on your union.

  6. The knives and the guns are boy domain in this house! It's not the sharpness of the knives (he has good knives) but the queasiness of this flesh. Steel with diamond dust sounds like a good present for the future.

    Oh, we've always been joint bank account. I do have a new savings account for book-related expenses. Because I don't want to spend non-book money on books now that I am going to do a reprint myself. It will have to pay its own way. Or rather, royalties will have to pay its way at the start

    Thanks for the blessings! 30th anniversary in July.