Thursday, 28 May 2015

Wisdom from a Whippet Owner

Yesterday I visited the campsite spa for the first time this year.  Whoever decided to build  this haven of peace and tranquillity was a bloody genius.  It is the perfect antidote to the hullabaloo that goes on elsewhere around here.  For noise is the consequence of bunches of happy kids playing in that rough and tumble kind of way that brings a nostalgic smile to the faces of older generations.

The date tea from last year is still available but alas my Dalai Lama coffee table book is not on the 'chillin' room' shelves anymore for me to peruse.  Perhaps someone who sorely needed to heed its advice stole it and is now in a Tibetan monastery as we speak, clocking up some good karma to cancel out the bad debt accumulated by nicking it.   Or maybe after being flicked through by people that had just got out of  the swimming pool it inevitably turned into a soggy mush.

So instead, between a few lengths of breast stroke and a go on some underwater exercise bikes I turned to the current book I'm reading.  I got quite excited  when I found it in the library. Narrow Dog to Wigan Pier  is the third of Terry Darlington's beautifully written tales of intrepid trips on narrow boats accompanied by his wife Monica, Jim and latterly Jess, his dogs.   He's a very funny bloke and I've almost been tempted by him to buy a painted barge and a couple of whippets myself.  The spot-on humour as he describes trips on the canal system in the Northern throes of England- is interspersed with fascinating autobiography.  Thrown into the mix there's wonderful snippets of thought provoking prose and verse.   Perfect for a bit of navel gazing in the spa.  Even before Chapter 1 there's a beautiful  quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery does not consist of gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.

I was rather taken by Allen Ginsberg's rhetoric. 'Don't you ever feel that you want to f*** the stars?' Sometimes potty mouthed descriptors are just what is needed to express sheer wonder.   As an outdoor type of girl I totally get what this means!   And  one of Darlington's own poems which reflects the state of my easily distracted mind.

While  in the sales office this morning
To discuss the allocation of bargain packs in Scotland
It occurred to me
That the waves seethe along the rocks in Barafundle
And the seas lies in the bay's hand like a green stone.

As I lay on a sun lounger sipping the tea, probably provided to reverse the negative effects that eating all those white baguettes are having on my gastric system,  this poem by some forgotten bloke called John Millington Synge leapt out of the pages.  Sometimes words seem to sing.  I can't decide if this is funny or desperately sad as a misspent youth of daydreaming in very boring English lessons means that I'm not the best at analysing literature.  Maybe it's both.

In a nook
That spread south
You and I
Lay mouth to mouth

A snowy gull
And sooty daw
Came and looked
With many a caw

'Such' I said
Are I and you
When you kissed me
'Black and blue!'


  1. Who'd have thought underwater exercise bikes eh....even an exercise equipment averse gal like myself could be tempted.....

  2. Ginsberg once stayed in my London flat (he was doing some reading at the Albert Hall). I asked him if there was anything I could get for him. He replied 'A young boy'. He was serious too, although at the time I thought he was joking. I didn't grant his request.

    1. Reckon he was best sticking to stars. Interesting yet disturbing story