Friday, August 04, 2017

Beach life

An exhaustingly lazy day.

It is not easy sitting on the beach and going in the sea for an occasional swim.   

For a start I have yet to find a truly suitably comfortable, portable beach chair.  I have a long spine and it is not slow in letting me know (the day after) that I have been sitting in the wrong position.  

 Secondly, the weather was a “reasonably sunny with a brisk wind that strips unsuspecting Brits to the bone as they tend not to get too hot because of the breeze and think its safe to go on sitting in the sun” sort of day.  And while the rest of me survive pretty well, the top of my hairless head now has that tingly tightness that does not bode well for skin retention.   

Thirdly, The Crow Road was a truly gripping read and therefore I spent more time in exactly the same position in the sun than I should have.

But, while a day later, I can tell that I have been in the sun, it did not stop me doing exactly the same thing today.  And at least I finished The Crow Road and, although radically different to The Wasp Factory (a book worth reading for its title alone) that I read in the 80s, it is another Iain Banks that will stay with me.  I understand that the novel was made into a television series that passed me by, but I can easily imagine it translating into television and, now that I have read the novel I would be interested to see how they coped with the fractured time frames.  I suppose they went to town on the Scottish location and I must admit that I would have liked to have accompanied the locations finder as an interested observer!

So, having finished the novel, I made some notes about the Visitors poetry sequence and I was generally dissatisfied with what I came up with.   

I think that the whole concept of a sequence is too restrictive and what I will do is merely write poems or notes for poems while the Visitors are with us.  I have mapped out a rough series of ideas for one poem about collecting sea glass and another about water on the beach - never let it be said that I didn’t try and tackle significant moral and ethical problems in my poetry!  I will see where these things lead!

Depressingly for my weight, we have had two substantial meals today.  One was in a restaurant that had slipped down the rankings last week but managed to regain its position with an exceptional meal today.  In a town that is filled with restaurants, we have a depressingly small number of regular culinary destinations.  I think that we suffer from the Teacher University Recommendation Problem, but related to restaurants.

Let me explain. 

Image result for university choice
Kids ask (or in my retired state “asked”) about which university they should apply to.  And we teachers would reply, usually citing our own universities as places of excellence for the subject that we actually studied and making hazy recommendations about what the other students in other departments looked like.  Our global university outlook was based on reading through prospectuses, long before the age of the internet and remembering from my experience the prospectus for Sheffield trying to assure potential students that that the city was actually far cleaner than they might have thought, and indeed proving it with a series of colourful maps and diagrams!  My detailed knowledge was from the late 60s in what is now a previous century and indeed millennium!  The undergraduate population changes entirely every three years.  Departments come and go.  Lectures do the same.  Buildings pop up and are pulled down.  Things change!  So whatever advice we were giving was based on ageing information about an institution that no longer existed in the way that we remembered it.

The life of restaurants in a busy seaside resort makes the undergraduate life look positively tortoise-like.  So our prejudices and memories are even more inappropriate for our eating choices than our recommendations were for future students! 

Doesn’t stop us of course, but then what does, we are humans after all!

Now for poems.

If you are interested in drafts of previous poetry that I have written then you can find examples at and I will attempt to post examples from Visitors - if I ever get round to making something of my notes!

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