"I HAD hardly turned my back on the late afternoon when the vast, bleached Advent moon swung up in the north-east. It whitened the puddles and lit the wet fields. The paths are darkened with sodden leaves, and rainwater dribbles from a blocked gutter.
Carry Akroyd arrives from far Northamptonshire, and we splash off to Lavenham for Sunday lunch. My boyhood lanes twist and turn through a scrubbed universe. The pub restaurants boom in and out of season.
When we walked here long ago, Lavenham was still asleep after all the toil of the Middle Ages, when the looms clattered in every cottage, the sheep were Abrahamic, and wool was gold. We visit Carry’s exhibition in the wildlife gallery, where her hares and foxes slink across canvas and paper. She is mistress of the fenland nocturn and of the geometry of sluices and cuts, of measureless skies, and this end-of-the-year moon. Our mutual passion is John Clare.
For everything I felt a love,
The weeds below, the birds above.
She can actually paint that amazing second when a thousand starlings turn left, turn right, all at once. Their only human equivalent is a thousand North Korean soldiers on parade, a breathtaking drill not without its absurdity.
Carry gone, I take part in the Advent carol service at Little Horkesley. Packed church and much expectancy. The stunning Advent antiphons, the gloriously scary Advent hymns. The first andsecond coming, the one precipitating the other... "
A very Happy and Blessed Christmas to all followers of this weblog... it's a labour of love for me.