Creative flare. Careless pointing of the camera into the light can sometimes have quite agreeable results. And of course it is 2012, and not quite the end of it, so if you like you can believe those iridescent globules of light are something to do with the Mayan calendar.
Creative flair. I don't seem to be able to muster very much. I miss the small computer, find it hard to apply myself to sitting at the desk. Further research discourages me from the whole idea of a tablet device, tempting little shiny widgets though they are. Apart from anything else I don't think many of them, perhaps the undesired I-pad aside, would be much use for blogging or for commenting on blogs, which though I am less assiduous than I used to be, is still one of my main requirements. One or two of my betters have chuckled a bit at my pretentious parroting of reviews which say that tablets are designed for the consumption rather than the creation of content. 'Won't do for you,' said Tom 'you are a creative spirit. Wherever you go in the world something is created. Usually mess and mayhem.' Or something along those lines.
The impulse when on my couch I lie in vacant or on pensive mood, usually vacant, to reach for an electronic device and graze has to be satisfied by the Kindle, but I resent paying any money for stuff on that. It's fun seeing what you can get for nothing though. Carlyle is a good companion on Novalis (the link is to a cheap e-book but I think I got it free), since he more or less says don't worry, I find him largely impenetrable and slightly bonkers too, but stay with it and you won't regret it. I'm coming to like Carlyle. wryly lamenting the laggard intellectual ways of 'the Scotch philosopher and the English unphilosopher'.
Lowering the tone significantly I've also been reading Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks, which might seem a little desperate, coming across it I was roused to curiosity by the rhyme that my mother used to quote, and which my friend H is always slightly surprised and tickled that I know, since it dates from her youth too:
Would you like to sin
With Elinor Glyn
On a tiger skin?
Or would you prefer
On some other fur?
Poor bloody tiger, you died in vain, it really is a dreadful book. It's not like I don't have any decent things to read around either, electronic or otherwise.
In fact too many, I am threatened by drowning by the tide of good reading matter, books, magazines, blogs, and I'm not getting round half as many of those as I should, even though blogging in general seems to be a little quieter than it was. And as I say, creative activity on my own part seems to be at something of a low ebb; I do wonder if perhaps whatever force I had is pretty much spent and if giving in to being mainly a consumer of others' creative output might be what I ought to be doing anyway. Consumption and acquisition are such negative ideas, but someone has to be the audience after all, and there's just so many lives and talents deserve one.
Supposing I said I was going to stop trying to turn out any worthwhile content here, limit myself to commenting on other people's blogs and answering the several e-mails I seem always to owe peoplewith the thought and promptness they deserve? In both instances I often seem to find I have more of apparent interest to say for myself. But if I did that, I know I'd instantly regret it, find I had something desperately important I wanted to say, perhaps experience a sudden burst of creative fervour and start writing three poems a day or something, then have to go through the fraught business of reinventing myself, which I suppose then might make it worthwhile. But if that didn't happen, what would I do with all my holiday snaps?
So in that spirit here are a few snaps and snippings of the season.
The sunflowers continue, though many have gone over and been blown or battered down by wind and rain. But they are still a feast for green- and goldfinches. I was tidying up the veg beds the other day, and went to clear out the cold frame, which has been invaded by nettles. I lifted the clump and a small newt and a midwife toad looked up at me balefully from under them, to say nothing of the spiders. A group (or a charm, if one is being accurately lyrical) of goldfinches chided me with impatience from the eucalyptus tree, as good as saying I was keeping them from their lunch, and indeed, as soon as I walked away they were on the sunflower heads. I'm chased out of my own veg patch, which I suppose is how they feel.
So I took a walk, there are some late butterflies about, more really than we've had through much of this apology for a summer (yes I know August was three hot days and a thunderstorm, and I don't really mind cool summers, and those of you who are sweltering and gasping under rapid desertification elsewhere on the planet will chide me, but it really has been fairly lousy).
There was a peacock on Marcelle's shabby chintz Michaelmas daisies,
and a comma on the bramble leaves.
The brambles themselves offer colour, though the berries are finished,
there are late flowers of knapweed and hawksbit,
and pretty leaves of this and that.
To me, umbelliferous plants are like wading birds, an area where my taxonomic awareness and smart-alec need-to-know identification skills let me down, getting vague and hazy, consequently I miss out on foraging opportunities, some of them are delicious, it seems, others toxic.
I believe these things which seem to flourish most of the year, rather coarse and rank but with interesting lines and forms and geometries, are hogweed, which are not edible, maybe toxic, except they're said to yield a seed which resembles cardomon in flavour, but I hesitate to risk it.
and more delicately translucent.
Another creature joined us, walking always ahead of us;
despite its being put into this landscape purely to be blown out of it, and despite that I was a human with a dog with pointing a black mechanical device at it, it didn't bother to fly away or even hide, but trotted in front of us like a barnyard fowl.
It turned out to be a black pheasant, though I couldn't be sure of this until I enlarged the photos. I've not seen one of these here before. Though pheasants are introduced game for the hunting season (which seems to be depressingly and oppressively noisy and well-subscribed this year) a number do survive and breed; I was delighted back in the early summer to encounter a handsome red, gold and green cock pheasant with a brood of chicks pottering along by the side of the road as I was driving past. Someone told me some years ago in the UK that this newer strain of black birds tend to unsettle and stress out the older multicoloured ones. Likewise, the white-ringed ones apparently drove out and displaced the original smaller ones without the white neckband.
Back to the vegetables: pumpkins, or rather winter squashes, the real pumpkins aren't on stream yet, and pink onions are furnishing the kitchen.
Tom has tried his best but had to admit that he just can't really get to like pumpkins; he'll eat them in soup with some enjoyment but that's all. Oh dear, there go my plans for a pumpkin based cuisine and diet. Molly really likes them though, so Tom will have to have pease pudding or something and the two of us will thrive on a beta-carotene cucurbit rich regime.
You can't go wrong with pink onions, though. We've eaten most of them already, so the celebrated Roscoff rosés' keeping qualities remain largely untested.
And what better in which to cook these delights than this cast iron enamel, not quite Le Creuset pan in the most sublime shade of deep violet, posing here with one of the runts of the pumpkin litter and sundry other items of autumn produce? A snip from Noz at just under fourteen euros. I have such things already, in dark green, butter yellow and black, but you can't have too many cast iron enamel pans can you, and I didn't have one quite this shape and size, and certainly not this colour... oh OK, so I'm a feckless spendthrift, an unfettered consumerist junkie with no conscience and an obsession with bowls and saucepans.
Fed up with rainy days and damp air, though it wasn't really cold, we lit the first fire the other night.