Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Night Thoughts.

It is 3am and I sit at the kitchen table, drinking my mug of weak tea, eating my arrowroot biscuit and waiting for my pain-killers to kick in. I am afraid my still-sore back does not care to lie down all night without a break.
My reading tonight is Borderland (Ronald Blythe) and its entries for April - Eliot's Cruellest of Months. Outside it is cloudy, so no frost tonight, and a little warmer and there is promise of a Spring-like end to the week. About time, I say, as the daffodils line up, all in bud, just waiting for a burst of warmer sun to set the off.
Inside, Tess sleeps through my nightly sojourn; I have been doing this for a few weeks now and catching up on my sleep with an after-lunch nap. She makes a brief, accusatory glance at my arrowroot biscuit, turns round half a dozen times, sighs and settles down to sleep again. I eat the biscuit which turns to sawdust in my mouth with guilt at not giving her a tiny corner.
And, I read. Such diverse topics and so beautifully written.
Firstly an entry about April rain; Blythe talks about how it falls 'vertically' "like glass bead curtains" in a cake shop he knew as a child. Do you remember those bead curtains? How they parted with such a gentle tinkling as you pushed through them. Edwin Morgan talks about bead curtains in Port Said - maybe they still have them in some parts of the world. I wish they still had them here - their sound was so much nicer than the muzak you get in shops these days.
Blythe's next piece is about his travelling by train to Hereford and watching April 'slide by' outside while inside watching people. Well we have all done that, haven't we? He particularly enjoys a story which a Granny is reading to her two grandchildren - and indirectly to him too.

When he arrives in Hereford he talks of walking with friends over "a ferocious battle ground" and how Shakespeare records this in Henry IV - how the Welsh women finished off the dying men on the battle field. Gruesome, although long ago, he finds comfort in celandine 'like gold leaf'.
The last piece I read is about Spring lambs (did you know that Beatrix Potter of Peter Rabbit fame said that ' every lamb which is born is born to have its throat cut'.) It is also about dancing hares and about Francis Kilvert, that eager young curate of Clyro in the marches (Kilvert's Diary) in the nineteenth century. I love his diary and read it often - it is such a window on country life at that time - but sad because he died so young.
Kilvert talks about the end of Lent and the coming of Easter Sunday and tells us of how the village women decorated the church for the Easter service with flowers:-
Kilvert enters his church and finds "a round dish full of flowers in water and upon this dish is a pot filled and covered with primroses, violets, wood anemones, wood sorrel, periwinkles, oxlips and a few early bluebells, rising to a gentle pyramid, ferns and larch sprays drooping over the rim, then bands of ivy leaves." I close my eyes, see it, almost smell it, begin to nod off. Time for bed again - but what a rich half hour I have had.
Through the landing window I see the manger full of tete-a-tete daffodils in bloom. Still and colourless in the night I know that when I come downstairs in the morning they will give me a moment's pleasure with their nodding golden heads.


jinksy said...

Another night we were companionably awake without realising it! Fridge Soup will attest to my being in Blogland the same time as you...

Arija said...

Oh dear, you and I in the same boat! I have been battling the pain and water retention in my legs for some time now, to the point of screaming and not being able for concentrate on anything. Doctors totally unhelpful. my nightly sojourns in the living room were mainly to sob in peace and let the poor Prof sleep. To get some rest I had to resort to sleepers.

Glad to hear that you can at least read and your painkillers do kick in.

All the very best my dear.

Pondside said...

So many of us up and about when we should be in the land of Nod. It's nearly 0420 here and I'm wishing for sleep, but have given up for a bit. Oh for a full night's sleep!

Anonymous said...

Ronald Blythe and the Rev. Kilvert - favourite rural reading here too, Pat. Not a cure for continuing pain, but something of a tonic, I hope.

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Sorry to hear of your disturbed nights but am grateful for the opportunity it gives you to write for us. I smiled at Tess' "accusatory glance". And don't worry about the biscuit turning to sawdust, that has more to do with arrowroots than your guilt!! (I jest; used to love them and haven't had one for years).

Glad the Spring flowers continue bringing you pleasure.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

May you soon have a full night's sleep due to a pain-free back. Take care Pat.

Golden West said...

I read long ago that some dogs instinctively turn circles before lying down from a long held ancestral memory to force the snakes and bugs from the grass so they could rest easily. Makes me smile that wee Tess retains the knowledge!

Hope you're improving steadily, Weaver, and back to normal soon.

willow said...

Weaver, I'm so sorry to hear that your back is not completely well. I remember those glass bead curtains. Enjoy your arrival of spring, my friend!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, I'm so happy you are posting more regularly again! Even though, I'm so sorry for your back pain. Such beautiful words you were reading last night... they had to serve as a balm for your back!!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Poetry, Weaver,loved it.

Heather said...

Another beautiful post Pat - I could almost smell those lovely flowers too. What a blessing that you can find comfort in reading during your broken nights. I can't imagine not having books to dip into, as and when needed. I used to think that bead curtains were very exotic when I was young, and thought it would be marvellous to have one.

Reader Wil said...

Oh Weaver! I didn't know you were in pain. I hope that you will recover soon and enjoy spring with all it's splendour and promises. I am glad that winter is over and that the sun was shining today.

Cloudia said...

YOUR nodding golden head gives us lots of pleasure!

Sorry I haven't been visiting as often as I'd like, but I've been
having connection issues that I THINK I've solved. Thanks for YOUr
visits & comments :)

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

Dave King said...

Sorry to hear you are still in trouble with your back. No fun that, as I know - at second hand, from Doreen. Your pain, our gain: a really lovely post, which has made me want to read Blythe - and wonder why I haven't.

And yes, I do remember bead curtains. Indeed, I've seen some recently, and I can't remember where... enough said about that!

The Solitary Walker said...

Lovely piece, Pat. Keep well.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Aches and pains of getting old seems to be troubling so many of us!
still - knowing that a lot of you have similar problems does make it easier (a trouble shared is a trouble halved).
It is good to be back for some of the time - and lovely to read all your comments - and your blogs.

Seems a lot of you remember bead curtains with affection - perhaps we should start a movement to have them back again - has anybody out there still got one?

Thanks for the comments.

acornmoon said...

I am sending you all my very best wishes for your poorly back. x

funnily enough I have been thinking about much the same, April being the cruellest month and Kilvert, maybe because he was featured on the radio.

Poet in Residence said...

There's a fraternity of dedicated arrowrrot biscuit eaters - or at least there should be, it's certainly an acquired taste!

Bad back?
Ask yon Veterinary. He'll have summat for 't.

Get better soon.

MarmaladeRose said...

Sorry to hear your back is still bothering you. I do have a lovely mental picture of you though, sitting in your dressing gown all cosy infront of the aga with Tess at your feet and hot tea and a good book in hand.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Solitary Walker directed me to you in a comment on my blog. I looked up from the computer and there was Borderland on my desk.
I hope you manage the pain,


Pam said...

Thanks for that quiet window into your world Weaver in the wee hours of the morning.I had forgotten about arrowroot biscuits. When I was a child there was used to be an advertising jingle "Arnott's milk arrowroot biscuits... girls and boys should eat them every daaaay!!" Wonder if the jingle was just in Australia.Hope your back gets better soon.

C Hummel Kornell a/k/a C Hummel Wilson said...


I, too, stalk the night with only snippets of sleep. RA is my unwanted companion and he's best suffered alone. My heart goes out to you. Nothing seems to help the pain except allowing my mind to create perfections where none exist. Here's hoping you sleep well tonight.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pleased to report that I am back doing my exercises, which I have been unable to do for weeks - so that is a good sign.
Good to know that there are so many night owls out there blogging in the small hours.
Thanks for the comments and the good wishes.

BT said...

It's a strange feeling to be up in the night when the whole world seems to be asleep. I had this problem for months some while ago and eventually stopped worrying that I coudln't sleep and started to enjoy it. I liked your snippet.