Friday, 10 February 2017

Time passing

A cold grey morning and my watch mysteriously lost an hour in the night. A false hope of spring! Thought for a moment when I woke at what I thought was six that the mornings had already started to grow light....

Daffodils from M&S bought yesterday, the stems already perfectly dry and healed over. Picked in Cornwall how many days ago? Just opened overnight.

Defying time: Alessandra Ferri in Woolf Works this week so fabulous. She said Virginia Woolf at 59 thought in her mind of herself as a teenager - and so she too, in her 50s, thought of herself as a teenager. But something so poignant about her in this. The opening act based on Mrs Dalloway about death, of course.

Patti Smith (M Train) talks about her 66th birthday. "As always, I quietly thanked my parents for my life, then went down to feed the cats."

Her mother, who sent an early birthday gift in the winter of 1993 (a copy of a favourite book from her childhood) - remembered vividly earlier in the book:

'It was to be a difficult winter. Fred was ill and I was plagued with a vague sense of trepidation. I woke up and it was 4am. Everyone was sleeping. I tiptoed down the stairs and unwrapped the package. It was a bright 1909 edition of The Little Lame Prince.  She had written we don't need words on the title page in her then-shaky hand.'

At the end of her birthday she sits on the stoop looking at her dungarees straining across her knees.

Patti Smith - Willows, St Clair Shores
"I'm still the same person I thought, with all  my flaws intact, same old bony knees, thanks be to God. Shivering, I got up; time to turn in. The phone was ringing, a birthday wish from an old friend reaching from far away. As I said good-bye I realised I missed that particular version of me, the one who was feverish, impious. She has flown, that's for sure. Before retiring I drew a card but left it face up on my worktable so I would see it in the morning when I woke."
She takes cards as a ritual from her Tarot Pack before journeys.

Throughout there's a slightly melancholy and a sense of loss in her life - left by her late husband, Fred, whose old flannel shirts lie in her bedroom ' washed into weightlessness'  - someone who she  perfectly existed with - 'silent synchronisation'.

'For a time we considered buying an abandoned lighthouse or a shrimp trawler.'

Reading and watching

  • Foot by Foot to Santiago de Compostela/Judy Foot
  • The Testament of Mary with Fiona Shaw at the Barbican
  • The Testament of Mary/Colm Toibin
  • Schwanengesang/Schubert - Tony Spence
  • Journals/Robert Falcon Scott
  • Fugitive Pieces/Ann Michaels
  • Unless/Carol Shields
  • Faust/Royal Opera House
  • The Art of Travel/Alain de Botton
  • Mad Men Series 6
  • A Week at The Airport/Alain de Botton
  • The Railway Man/Eric Lomax
  • Bright Lights, Big City/Jay McInerney
  • Stones of Venice/John Ruskin
  • The Sea, the Sea/Iris Murdoch
  • Childe Harold/Lord Byron
  • All The Pretty Horses/Cormac McCarthy
  • Extreme Rambling/Mark Thomas
  • Story of my Life/Jay McInerney
  • Venice Observed/Mary McCarthy