The Weather Gods finally grace you with a clear evening, so you hurry down to the beach, camera in hand.
The sun has touched the horizon line as you get there, and you begin to snap away. And then, you stop. This is something new, and not an event to be witnessed through a viewfinder.
The sun is sinking as you watch. Over thirty seconds it shrinks to a half-coin, a sliver, a dot, before the sea swallows it and it winks away. There is no record that you can show people of this. It doesn’t matter. You have it, warming a corner of your memory in coral pink and Florida orange. This one’s a keeper. This one is safe.
You walk back to your cottage in the dimming light, hand in hand with your wife.
And your heart is full.
The Storm Giants come at us from a thousand miles away. That’s one hell of a run-up. They hurl their fury at the coastline with brutal, unforgiving force, and also with a dreadful patience.
We can do this for millennia, the cannonade of the surf declares. Eventually, your castle walls will fail you.
But the defences at Bedruthen are strong, and built to last. Better yet, they are manned by invisible creatures, twice as tall as we are. The steps carved into the battlements are much too steep and wide for we puny humans. They fling rocks at the storm, and have done so for a very long time.
We are simple observers to a war that has raged since we first whispered around campfires. A war that will continue long after we are sketches and memory.
TLC and I have gone into the west, where stories bloom between the rocks like strange, glorious flowers, and all the beasts have TALES.
She sleeps, and her dreams are as green and deep as the earth she rose from. The wind through her branches gives her the deep, even breath of a maiden adrift on a sea of longing.
In winter, she would be blanketed in an even swan-white cover. At the height of summer, the day after the solstice, the sun warms her flanks with the heated touch of a lover.
Some say it is that touch and its fleeting nature that makes her seem so sad.
Meanwhile, in his bed along the copse path, her brother lies awake and plans out mischief.
Both these figures can be found in The Lost Gardens Of Heligan, a ten minute drive from St. Austell. Very heartily recommended.
We are in the west, walking strange paths and forgotten woods.
Here be Mythagos.
This board is by the bar of the Eagle and Child in Oxford. There are better pubs in the town, but few with such impeccable geek credentials. Snag one of the snugs at the front, and you’ll be sorted.
This is the display over the bar at The Harp near Charing Cross, which recently won the coveted Camra Best Pub award. Their selection is always impeccably chosen, and swiftly served. But boy, does it get busy on a Friday night. I recommend Dark Star’s Hophead for these warm summer evenings, and they do a great pint (or two) of it at the Harp.
And this is the ceiling of the Hobgoblin in Reading. This is a gem, with a tiny bar that opens out into a labyrinth of woody snugs, scarred with decades of graffiti, love poetry and dirty jokes. Some of the best beer in the Ding can be found right here.
We spent a highly agreeable day in Oxford yesterday, and took full advantage of TLC’s ability to get us into the colleges for free. I can recommend a wander through the grounds of Magdalen or Balliol. You get a feel for why the city is called The Dreaming Spires.
The pic below is of the window at the chapel of Balliol College. It had me quite mesmerised.
Up until the point where I was lured away with the promise of a pint, anyway.
Seems to me sometimes that the more you travel, the less there is to see…
As seen over cloister number 5 at Magdalen College, Oxford.
As seen over Number 5 Cavendish Square, in London’s fashionable Mayfair.
I’m taking bets on whether the designer on the flag was educated at Oxford, or just saw the pic in a book somewhere…
Round the back of Carnaby Street in the swingingest part of London. The secret power source of all things groovy. If it’s ever unplugged, we’ll be back to trad jazz and spam fritters for tea before you can say Alma Cogan.