Having technical difficulties with photos. Will add later.
Time: 8:20 pm, English time. Weather: bright and warm. Not a drop of rain in sight.
Books read: 2 (1 memoir, picked up on impulse at the Borders in the Orlando airport, 1 British Women’s Fiction picked up at a thrift shop in Cranbrook, Kent when my Kindle broke somewhere between Denver and London).
Approximate # of miles walked (not including any miles walked while sightseeing): 9
Where I am right this second: in the bar area of a Victoria hotel in Weston Super Mare. I am drinking a Well’s Bombardier Ale, which I have to say is very, very good. I might have another, since I am, after all, on vaca…holiday.
What I can hear: the murmur of British voices. One so thick to my right that it must be Welsh or something. Cannot understand it at all. A pair of couples, maybe in their sixties, are discussing their holidays in clean accents much like CR’s, which I at least understand.
Today, we traveled to Cheddar Gorge, which is a spectacularly beautiful canyon. Crumbling gray limestone, thick greenery everywhere. It was raining most of the time we wandered around the village, which reminded me decidedly of Manitou Springs, Colorado—90% tourist traps with a couple of very interesting spots. In this case, it was the last place that makes Cheddar by hand, every day, where we watched a part of the process and sampled various varieties. The cave aged is, I think, meant to be the ultimate, but I have to admit I preferred the sharp, long-aged version.
This afternoon, I walked on the beach for a long way. It was utterly empty save a few dogs and their owners, including the biggest German shepherd I have ever seen, who was so beautiful and noble I was instantly reinforced in my quest to find a mix shepherd pup to rescue. Love them madly. This is not technically the sea, but perched on the Bristol channel, so the waves are small and simple. The shells are little shatterings across the sand. An island, broad and green, rises to one side, inviting you to come hike and enjoy the delights to be found on top, but a river cuts it off from the mainland, and signs warn of dangerous sands. (Which I will admit I only know because CR went running there. I walked nearly that far, but gave up before I found the very end.)
It’s quiet in my head right now, the tuners focused outward, not inward. This, too, is part of the writing life, arguably one of the most crucial: taking in whatever life offers, letting it flow in and fall into some dark center where it will ferment with other things and eventually grow something new. Today what went in: greenery and hedgerows, seagulls and seawalls, dogs and the effects of aging, the curious fact that there are those little turtle humps in so many bays and seas. I’m thinking of all the odd jobs people have—a girl is testing a microphone, getting ready to sing for the old dears in a seaside town on the Bristol Channel. The old men are flirting with her, and their wives are shaking their heads, shushing them. She is so young she wears braces. Today, there was an old woman selling sweeties in a stall in an indoor mall. The waiters are Spanish.
So many jobs. So many locations. So many different life paths and possibilities.
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