Sunday 22 November

I have had all kinds of feedback on the blog today which is massively exciting. Christina Pluhar has excited interest, a former student has written to say she reads the blog every day, I have had advice on the French for bubble (une bulle), and a cartoon about remaining optimistic (I have good days, and good days}. I am so grateful, please keep it coming, it’s nice to know there’s folk out there, as I fire off into the void!

This morning I did my daily walk in Cator Park, new territory for me, but near to where my friend lives: a single girl, working from home, and feeling very isolated. We spent a couple of hours together, and I am aware that it was very important for her. People who live alone are very affected by lockdown, we must remember that. She comes originally from French speaking Africa, so we had a hilarious time looking at trees and learning new words: for her, acorn, sycamore, holly, ivy: I tried to resurrect as many French tree names as I could. We came unstuck on horse chestnut, she could not believe it was “horse”: why, she said. No idea. To put you out of your misery, it is marronnier d’Inde. Why India, I do not know.

This afternoon I swept more leaves, and piled up the bonfire which I then lit. It burned merrily in the gloaming. A quote of my father’s sprang to mind: he was very well read and encouraged me greatly in a love of literature. At his secondary school they learned poems by heart, which stayed with him for ever, and he would say certain lines in an appropriate situation. Tonight I remembered as I stood by the fire: “The shades of night were falling fast.” I had no idea till just now that it is a poem called Excelsior by Longfellow. This is the first verse, it is a very moving poem, you will find it on the internet.

The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ‘mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
      Excelsior!

My attention has been drawn to a most lovely harp piece by Stefanie Bieber. The tune is simple and haunting, and the photos are also very beautiful.

2 thoughts on “Sunday 22 November

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