Sunday, 13 September 2009

Blackberrying by moonlight . . .

I wonder if I could? I have been wide awake since 2 a.m., when I woke and my brain was determined to do reruns of things I had done wrong, mistakes I had made when I was 15 or 16 for heaven's sake? WHY do brains do this?

I think part of the problem was getting over-tired yesterday, then my daughter wanted help filling in forms in the evening, so my poor brain went into overdrive and stayed there. Once the effects of one small bottle of cider had worn off, that was it, back into overdrive.

My previous post invoked a lively response and I would recommend going and reading the wonderful discussion happening in the comments - and joining in the conversation too.

I was fortunate at yesterday's car boot sale, as I found several more books which came home with me. One is "Countryside Mood", a compilation of country writings, published in 1943, and many of the articles pertinent to the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War and working the land. You may be sure you will be reading extracts in due course. . . The other little book was H V Morton's "In Search of Wales" which is every bit as good as his I.S.O. England and Scotland, which I also have. He was a prolific writer (and journalist - he wrote the scoop on Carter's opening of Tutankhamun's Tomb) and I have quite a few books to go if I want to collect all he ever wrote.

I was very interested, in the light of the last post, to read the following extract by Peter Scott in the Foreword by Richard Harman:

"Friday was St George's Day. St George for England. I suppose the 'England' means something slightly different to each of us. You may, for example, think of the white cliffs of Dover, or you may think of a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe, or perhaps a game of cricket at Old Trafford or a game of rugger at Twickenham. But probably for most of us it brings a picture of a certain kind of countryside, the English countryside. If you spend much time at sea, that particular combination of fields and hedges and woods that is so essentially England seem to have a new meaning.

I remember feeling most especially strongly about it in the late Summer of 1940 when I was serving in a destroyer doing anti-invasion patrol in the Channel. About that time I think everyone had a rather special feeling about the word 'England'. I remember as dawn broke looking at the black outlines of Star Point to the northward and thinking suddenly of England in quite a new way - a threatened England that was in some way more real and more friendly because she was in trouble. I thought of the Devon countryside lying beyond that black outline of the cliffs; the wild moors and rugged tors inland and nearer the sea; the narrow winding valleys with their steep green sides; and I thought of the mallards and teal which were reading their ducklings in the reed beds of Slapton Leigh. That was the countryside we were so passionately determined to protect from the invader."


  1. It must have been extra special to return to the English countryside after being away at sea...
    I am the Queen of Sleepness Nights sigh,you have my sympathies x I thnk sometimes when brains do that rerun through everything~oh just get on with it then~ I give it permission(hard to explain lol!) & just think ah well it will run out soon lol! dont fight it type thing. Sometimes its good to rerun over things,after all if we thought we were perfect we would be dull wouldnt we,its our imperfections that fire us up to become better people,thats a constant ongoing thing.
    Just would be easier if it happened at noon though wouldnt it.!!!
    GTM x x x

  2. Yes GTM, but this was the silliest things like wearing laddered tights to work - what must people have thought of me?, I kept thinking . . . Not, my mother didn't know any better so never told me it looked bad. Which gives another insight into my way of thinking so Ill say no more. . .

  3. What absolute demon perches on the bedpost when we can't sleep--reminding us of unflattering incidents so long past they should stay buried? A rhetorical question, for sure!
    You put your sleeplessness to good use in typing up that lovely bit of essay. There is such a sense of recognition when we read something that strikes a spark---its why good writing has to endure long after the tv has been bashed into silence.

  4. BTW MM, your Cotswold book will be with you shortly as I was so brain dead I said yes when she asked if I wanted to send it Air Mail . . . Something to keep you occupied during YOUR sleepless nights anyway!

  5. I've a book for you as well, it may be a bit buried in this shifty pile of stuff on my desk--or how about the sewing table...? Sorry about the air mail--that's pricey!

  6. That's beautiful piece of prose, I've a feeling I have that book somewhere, the title is familiar.