Pigeon Lock

Mooring at Pigeon Lock near Kirtlington just North of Oxford. After dinner went for a walk along the canal over several small bridges across the various streams of the River Cherwell past four horses grazing in a field across which ambled a small muntjac deer. Then along a mile or more of water meadow thick with grasses and buttercups, up a grassy slope where I saw a single pyramidal orchid and so across fields of ripening rape back towards home … Continue reading

The perfumes of spring

April 21st
I am delighting in my home on the water. I am able to travel, to visit new places, to retreat in quiet beautiful spots, and if the mood takes me, to leave my home and visit friends. I have seen places that were just names before. Coventry Cathedral is a magnificent and beautiful space. Hinckley is a busy town bubbling with life. At Rugby the women who go to the famous school wear long skirts – they were pretty and feminine without being provocative, unlike those I watched go to school past my father’s house who were pretty but sexualized. The boys at Rugby must have a much easier time.
As the spring came I delighted in the appearance of clutches of snowdrops and then, just few days later, banks of daffodils. I have never rejoiced so much in the advent of spring. When the weather settled warm, all of a sudden, blossoms and leaves started to explode into life and lambs appeared in the fields – at first huddled next to their mothers and then gradually venturing further away until they discovered others and started dashing and jumping about the pasture. Today I took a walk in the fields and enjoyed the perfume of the blossoms, especially the fields of rape that were in full bloom. I reflected that last summer I’d lost my sense of smell (and taste). It had slowly returned but a rather unpleasant ‘ghost’ smell had haunted me for six months or so. I rejoiced to be able to smell farmyard odours and I realized that the ‘ghost’ smell has finally faded away completely. I’d become rather depressed about the loss, food was uniformly like cardboard, and in fact texture became the main determinant in my enjoyment of food. Not being able to smell my environment made me feel partially dead to the world, alienated from it. But my sense has returned and I am even more appreciative of the connections it gives me to my environment. They say that memories are stimulated by smells and perhaps it was also that the loss of smell closed down a certain effervescence of memory, as well as perfume.


Wide and Narrow

Some canals are wide – and some are narrow:

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