Sunday, January 4, 2009

Only When It Blooms

So the Icemaiden arrived on new year’s day. Mr. Signs and I were there at the gate with a nicely crayonned sign – totally unnecessary as we recognised each other at once and I was in any case wearing my signature purple trousers. “I am dying for a ciggie,” she said, so we went outside and she lit up. She’s wicked. Since being in her company I have been almost constantly smoking and eating salmiakki - I reckon that while she is here anything of this nature can be safely blamed on her and therefore my conscience is clear.

Looking at this Dr. Zhivagoeseque image of her (taken on our trip to the Smoke earlier in the day) makes her look fabulously innocent (in a sophisticated kind of way)

but don’t be fooled. She’s wicked I tell you and she takes things in: well you’ll see for yourself at some point, I have no doubt (keep checking her blog).

She has put away a fair quantity of mince pies. It's wonderful what you can cobble together with a bit of good quality cardboard and pvc glue -

I told her the pastry was wholemeal spelt (same thing really) and she had them with brandy sauce, washed down with Irish coffee, which was not Irish at all as it was made with brandy instead of whisky. It's fine, for everything pleases her: the sign of a true artist, I reckon. I just knew we would be kindred spirits.

Yesterday we went to the place on the Ashdown Forest where the spirits of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Eyore still roam, Pooh Bear being something of a personal spiritual guru. Here is the Enchanted Place

where the Morris dancers come at dawn on the first of May to dance and stamp about, for they have to do this in order to make sure the sun still rises every day. Not many people thank them for this, but I always do. The plaque commemorates A.A. Milne and the artist E.H. Shepard who captured the likeness of Pooh and his friends. The bunch of flowers on the side was probably left by someone in memory of a person no longer alive who once loved coming there. People quite often go there to scatter ashes and one has to be careful not to stand too close when that happens or one is liable to breathe in the dusty remains of someone's dearly departed. Such is life.

And speaking of the dearly departed, my father-in-law used to like repeating a saying to the effect that one should only ever make love when the gorseflower is in bloom

the point being that there is never a season when it is not in bloom, and I can vouch for this because it grows everywhere on the Ashdown Forest, and this is how it looked when we walked there. But I say that one could add to this any other activity - writing, singing, taking pictures, eating mince pies or turning cartwheels. Only do these things, or anything at all that makes you happy, when the gorseflower blooms. The time will always be now.

Photos courtesy of The Icemaiden, apart from the one of her which I took.


Montag said...

I saw a candid snapshot of a fish (!) in your library perusing a copy of a book about Paul Celan!
How is that for coincidence?!...or something close to it.

Furthermore, your word verification shibboleth today is almost an anagram for travolta: "tratolv(a)". Since he is unfortunately in the news, another coincidental-type-thing, as Jung would say.

You are so lucky to live near an actual mythic landscape, that of Ashdown Forest. Pooh and Eeyore indeed, but also Walpurgis Night and Beltane and Morris dancing!
Friendship, Christmas, and the ancient festive places must have been wonderful tonic for one and all.
It is positively Fezziwiggian!

trousers said...

My attempts at commenting on all this wonderfulness (which it surely is. More please!) have suddenly been completely stymied by the word ver:


I'm really not sure where to go from there. I just hope you continue having a good time.

Mellifluous Dark said...

Just wanted to say I loved your post, the flow of words, the tale about you and the Icemaiden meeting... and Ashdown, which is beautiful indeed.

Happy New Year, Signs.

Reading the Signs said...

dear Montag, it is all just as it should be - and speaking of Fezziwig, we saw a production of A Christmas Carol when we were in London yesterday, Gawd bless us one and all.

That place on the Ashdown forest (I do love it round here) is also where there is a meeting of leylines. So much activity in all dimensions, as you might expect.

Trousers, wilkommen to you as well, and your wish is our command for there will assuredly be more.

Nothing wrong with redromp - a nice robust resonance there, and spirited. I had wanned before which was a bit flattening.

Happy new year to you too, dear Mel Darko. Icemaiden is a bit of a wizard with her little camera and it's good to be able to show some of the loveliness I'm surrounded by.

The Periodic Englishman said...

Hey Mellifluous Dark, sorry that your rabbit died, poor soul. That's a really horrible start to the year for you.

Hello, splendid Signs.

I'm still reeling a bit from the non-ironic lion thing you put up. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing, I'm afraid. Never fails to get to me. Man, but that was a beautiful moment.

Anyway, just passing by to say hello and to check that you're surviving The Visit. Everything seems to be going well and Anna MR appears to hint, elsewhere, that you are a perfectly brilliant and mentally stable host.

How come you're eating salmiakki, though? This will surely leave less time for smoking? Unless you're doing these things simultaneously, I suppose, which seems probable and admirable and gutsy and wrong (in the good way).

You seem to be surrounded by beautiful things, Signs, and I am delighted - delighted - to hear that Anna MR is pleased by everything. The best kind of guest, that. I knew she was probably alright underneath all that Finnishness and barky seal-talk.

Multiple regards, all of them kind.....


Kahless said...

I am seeing triple in comments it seems....

I am glad you had a great time.. smokes and all.

The Periodic Englishman said...

I'm seeing triple comments, too. Get your house in order, Signs, people are becoming scared.

Unless you're trying to make a point? You give Montag, Trousers and Mellifluous Dark three responses each, whilst leaving Kahless and myself empty-handed. I'm pretty sure that's racist, Signsy.

And now, of course, if you remove your repeat(ed) comments, you'll just leave me and Kahless looking perfectly mental.

Expect to hear from our lawyers, either way.

trousers said...

My word, I'm glad to see the comments from tpe and kahless, I was suddenly beginning to think that it had turned into Groundblog day...

Reading the Signs said...

Well really - I don't know what you are all talking about. I don't see any triple comments here. You surely don't think I'd be so cheap and low down as to try and big myself up (as they say in Ali G) by duplicating comments?

Anna and I have just been having a culturally enriching hour watching a Buffy the Vampire episode from my Xmas pressie boxed set and then I come here and find myself perplexed and bemused. It is you who are mental, naturally, not me. You seem to be suffering from some sort of mass hysteria, a group delusional state. Pull yourselves together.

But anyway, lovely to see you.

TPE one really can eat salmiakki and smoke at the same time. You just go puff, chew, puff, chew and it is most horribly satisfying. She is wicked, I tell you. We don't smoke all the time though (well she does, when at all possible) - today we ticked another box on Anna's doing-the-English itinerary and had a full cream tea with home-made buns, scones and all the works, made by a friend down the road.

et tu, Kahless, are you encouraging me to carry on smoking? If so, it's not surprising. Why did God make lovely cigarettes if they are supposed to be so bad for us? It has always baffled me.

Trousers, you should read Ouspenssky (Strange Life of Ivan Osokin): the whole of life is Groundhog Day until our karmic footprint is completely rubbed out. Is it any wonder we need cigarettes?

Kahless said...

If it wasn't for TPE I would indeed be looking and feeling perfectly mental at this juncture.

Our lawyers will be serving you tomorrow...

The Periodic Englishman said...


You tell her, Kahless. What better way to start the year than with a class-action lawsuit?

Signs - you're definitely for it now. You will be formally charged with wearing purple trousers over at Anna MR's blog, attempted racism and/or incompetence against two of your guests and three counts of first-degree murder (I'm including Trousers in this). It's true, our case may be hampered slightly when the jurors see that we're all still alive but I think it will send a message that we mean business if we go in hard from the start.

Hello. How are you tonight? It's a nice image, the thing with puff and chew and puff and chew. Classy.

Excellent to hear that you took Anna MR for a full cream tea, by the way. (You really are a magic host, it seems.) Home-made is almost always better, I think, so I can imagine that it was absolutely lovely. Maybe even good enough to demand more of a chew-chew-puff-chew-chew-puff approach? It's sometimes possible to postpone the pleasure of a cigarette for a few moments longer if you've already got something heavenly in your gob. Home-made buns and scones fall into the heavenly bracket.

Buffy the thingy, however, does not. Which reminds me - the new Doctor Who seems insubstantial. I saw him on the news. Maybe he'll grow into it, I suppose, but he looked all wrong to me.

Night then, Signs.

north said...

happy new year to all thing Poohish - and gorse, and friends from afar and mince pies shared.xx

Reading the Signs said...

Kahless, just between you and me, His TPEness is what we in the trade call an unreliable narrator, in other words he makes things up.

Englishman? I have not murdered anyone at all since Christmas, so don't start, and as for racism, well it takes one to know one and a nod's as good as a wink if you get my meaning. Do you? For I'm not sure I do. But never mind, it's my blog and whatever I say goes. I learned this attitude from you (and it's fun, I like it), so I'm blameless. Mea culpa to the purple trousers though.

Hope you slept well.

Reading the Signs said...

Ms North, mwah! and happy new year to you, Poet. See you soonish, I hope.


Mellifluous Dark said...

Signs, it is a lovely place.

TPE – thanks, old pal. It was a horrible start to 2009... Life, eh? hope all is good with you.