november is hurrying along into december – the last leaves are falling and most days have a dull, greyish, fog-filled sameness to them that often calles for depression and sadness – and it really could be quite easy to succumb to all that – however, my november was rather pretty cool until now
right in the beginning i went to karlsruhe for the german finale of science slam – no great pictures here, as it was all rainy and grey, but jackie and i fell i love with the bathroom tiles in our hotel room
the journey back home was wonderful – i stopped in ludwigshafen to see my family: my aunt, uncle and godson, where i stayed over night; my cousin, his wife and two kids, who invited me over for dinner and a good play session with the kids (barbie with the six-year-old and “what’s this?” with the two-year-old); then sitting snugly in the car with my other cousin and her husband, who dropped me off home on their way to hamburg
coming back home, i went to see the new james bond with the girls – in english, of course – and apart from the 45 minutes of commercials it was a great night out – also this november, i went to a fantastic reading by john burnside of his novel *summer of drowning*, which i had coincidentaly gotten as a birthday gift – i didn’t like the book when i first read it, but having listened to burnside read and talk about it, i am desperate to give it a second try
also, november has been very much dominated for my new-found love for sewing – i am taking a class and have working on a skirt, apparently a complicated one, as six sessions have passed and i am still not finished – but i made use of my learned knowledge and finished a simply skirt yesterday – i had a bit of silk fabric lying around ever since my birthday (one of my gifts was wrapped in it) and i simply added a waistband (left-over fabric of my other skirt) and finished the whole thing in one afternoon – i am very proud and you can look forward to further sewing projects of mine
i feel like a pigeon with a very strong homing instinct trained on yorkshire – it has been over a year, since i last strolled down the streets of york, listening to the minster bells and over two years, since i spent that delightfully sunny day at whitby, when i fell in love with whitby and decided that i want to grow old there and be buried in the graveyard by the sea – i love the sea, wherever i go, but whitby really has that special feeling of safety and adventure about it, that draws me in and does not let me go
but i also feel like a day on the moors with only sheep and the wind to keep me company – or a walk up to top withens with all those wuthering heights and heathcliff emotions floating around me and inspiring me to start writing again, instead of sitting at my desk all day, lost for words and lost for inspiration because germany is just plain old boring and people are unfriendly, rude, and, simply put, not english!
it is obvious to anybody, that i was born in the wrong place, since people keep on asking me, if i am english all the time – and while i have strong feelings for my home as well – after all, i do love fairy tales (reading and writing them) and the brothers grimm were pretty much my neighbours from very long ago – and germany has some wonderful places and memories – but it is only ever in england that i feel truly like home, like i belong, and fit in perfectly – and it is always to yorkshire that i am pulled by invisible forces – perhaps my ancestors really did come from england – after all, i have to have gotten the red hair and the weird sense of humour from somewhere along the line
anyways, all this reminiscing was just the introduction – i have handed in my application to give a presentation at a conference in leeds in january and i am terrribly excited about it and do so desperately hope that i get in – i want to talk and tell people about my work and research and my fascination with yorkshire – but i have decided, that even if i don’t get to talk, i’ll still go and this knowledge is like a little glowing spark right inside of me – it keeps me happy and warm and feeling like dancing along the streets – i don’t care, that it might be cold and dreary in january – i love yorkshire and just like david hockney i love seasons and how they change nature, so i’ll put up with the cold and rain and snow, if i get to spend time there – i am planning to stay 5 to 7 days and am really, very excited, preparations have already started: writing old friends, planning outings to whitby and the wildlife trust reserves with the volunteers, and hot chocolates at la place verte because that is, what happiness is all about
this is a post in which i am delightedly rambling on about the time of the year – it is the autumn of dreams: cold, yet not too cold and at least 3-5 hours of sparking sunshine each day – lovely hot chocolates, teas, apple and pear cakes, scarves, and wooly hats are all i need to make me sing and dance along the streets – a little stormy weather and curling up at home with a good book – collecting chestnuts and colourful leaves – lighting candles and slowly, but steadily taking leave of summer and welcoming winter, which will be here all too soon with it’s own glory and fun times – but as of yet it is still wonderful autumn and i like to imagine that the changes in nature come to pass exactly like this – very mary poppins and magical
what a busy and successful day – i worked for two hours (money earning work) – then exercised for half an hour – showered – had lunch with a friend – i took a little nap after i got home, worked two more hours (the money earning kind) – i hand-washed my favourite dress – changed my sheets – made ginger sirup – wrote a couple of paragraphs for my phd – had a couple of interesting thoughts for my phd – counted some obscure words in some novels for my phd – spent some tender loving care on my bicycle – and now i am off to dinner and two more exciting football games – and i will most definitely fall asleep with a smile for the moon – that is, if she shows her face, otherwise i’ll have to make do with a dance in the ever present rain
“strawberries, and only strawberries, could now be thought or spoken of — the best fruit in england — every body’s favourite — always wholesome” (jane austen)
there’s nothing sweeter than a sunny sunday afternoon spent picking strawberries and gossiping with a good friend – so at the first sign that today was not to be one of those drear rainy june days, of which we had plenty this year, we took the chance and planned a drive out to the strawberry fields – we weren’t the only ones – seemingly half the city had had the same idea – yet there were strawberries for everyone – we each picked our fill, all the while stuffing our faces with the biggest and sweetest berries and yapping away about football, men and the ennui of working and studying life – afterwards we rewarded ourselves with more strawberry feasting in the sunshine before returning to our respective writing desks and tasks in happy anticipation of even more strawberry eating during the game tonight
really, that is how sundays in the summer should be spent! – strawberries, a little bit of light work and a football match to look forward to
two springs ago, i posted wordsworth’s daffodils, which is one of my favourite poems – and today want to add another daffodil poem to the list of favorite spring poems – to me this is wordsworth updated – hughes takes the wordsworthian daffodil ideal and turns it into a beautiful love poem – i like it very much
Daffodils by Ted Hughes
Remember how we picked the daffodils?
Nobody else remembers, but I remember.
Your daughter came with her armfuls, eager and happy,
Helping the harvest. She has forgotten.
She cannot even remember you. And we sold them.
It sounds like sacrilege, but we sold them.
Were we so poor? Old Stoneman, the grocer,
Boss-eyed, his blood-pressure purpling to beetroot
(It was his last chance,
He would die in the same great freeze as you) ,
He persuaded us. Every Spring
He always bought them, sevenpence a dozen,
‘A custom of the house’.
Besides, we still weren’t sure we wanted to own
Anything. Mainly we were hungry
To convert everything to profit.
Still nomads-still strangers
To our whole possession. The daffodils
Were incidental gilding of the deeds,
Treasure trove. They simply came,
And they kept on coming.
As if not from the sod but falling from heaven.
Our lives were still a raid on our own good luck.
We knew we’d live forever. We had not learned
What a fleeting glance of the everlasting
Daffodils are. Never identified
The nuptial flight of the rarest epherma-
Our own days!
We thought they were a windfall.
Never guessed they were a last blessing.
So we sold them. We worked at selling them
As if employed on somebody else’s
Flower-farm. You bent at it
In the rain of that April-your last April.
We bent there together, among the soft shrieks
Of their jostled stems, the wet shocks shaken
Of their girlish dance-frocks-
Fresh-opened dragonflies, wet and flimsy,
Opened too early.
We piled their frailty lights on a carpenter’s bench,
Distributed leaves among the dozens-
Buckling blade-leaves, limber, groping for air, zinc-silvered-
Propped their raw butts in bucket water,
Their oval, meaty butts,
And sold them, sevenpence a bunch-
Wind-wounds, spasms from the dark earth,
With their odourless metals,
A flamy purification of the deep grave’s stony cold
As if ice had a breath-
We sold them, to wither.
The crop thickened faster than we could thin it.
Finally, we were overwhelmed
And we lost our wedding-present scissors.
Every March since they have lifted again
Out of the same bulbs, the same
Baby-cries from the thaw,
Ballerinas too early for music, shiverers
In the draughty wings of the year.
On that same groundswell of memory, fluttering
They return to forget you stooping there
Behind the rainy curtains of a dark April,
Snipping their stems.
But somewhere your scissors remember. Wherever they are.
Here somewhere, blades wide open,
April by April
Through the sod-an anchor, a cross of rust
… is not gray, but sunny and no one broke my heart today at all – but tuesday i fall in love – this tuesday especially – five minutes at the library were quite enough and now there’s a new man in my life, a new príncipe, if you will – let’s call him príncipe bibliotecario for the moment, which will be quite sufficient – my strange fascination with guys working at libraries can only be natural for a phd candidate in literary studies, who’d rather spend her money in a bookstore than a fashion haven
and this was a special moment we shared – he took my books back and checked out the new ones, while i chatted about the incredible amount of library books which have turned into permanent lodgers at my apartment, a phenomenon i’ve known intimately ever since i became a phd student – then he asked what i did a phd in and that he’s just finishing his degree and going on to do a phd with my advisor as well – we got to talking about phds, allergies and the lovely weather and only a friend, who waited outside with my bike, could tear me away – príncipe bibliotecario has red hair – it’s like i made him up, someone interested in the same things i am, with red hair, a sweet temper and a dimpled smile – almost too good to be true and very good for me and my slightly waning crush on someone else, also working in a library – oh dear, i can see a pattern there … and let’s hope friday is quite as nice as today as well