Wednesday, December 10, 2008

White Christmas

Just a quick note to say that I will soon be back amongst the lumpy New Hampshire landscape for a couple of weeks, and, as you can see here from last year's expedition with Jane in the Notch, it's somewhat different to Suffolk. But not much; there's always that 100 meter rise out of Clare to deal with.

So it's the White Mountains and, on the coast by my Mom's house, Lupo's Bar and Grill, which of course doesn't have anything so jejune as a website, (hence no link) and has non-stop ice hockey on the tv above the bar. It tends to score fairly low (if at all) on foodie indices. Imagine, in a place far away, a small place right on the ocean that's boarded over the windows with a sea view, with plastic lobsters in fishnets over the bar, and choppsy 60-year-old waitresses your mom is on first name terms with when they bring her that first scotch on the rocks, along with slightly left-too-long-in-the-fryer clam rolls.


ho ho ho


Sunday, December 7, 2008

another get-off....recovery drinks needed

Sunday... a freezing cold morning here at the Lazy K; got up, made coffee, looked out at the amazing lightly hoar-frosted landscape showing gold as the sun rose. Too much excitement for attempts at satori - so the wonderdog and I went out and slid around on the ice for 15 minutes up the path by the stream amongst all the fresh deer tracks, while the lazy sun came up and showed through our steamy breaths. Stood like a tree while the dog emptied, then back inside, tea brought up to she-who-toys-with-my-heart, nuke oatmeal, then light up the wood stove. We're leaving for the States at the end of the week, so I had to spend some time getting in firewood for the folks who will be house & dog-sitting while we're gone. Skating (literally) across the still-unsalted road with the dog, I was torn between wanting to get out on the fixee all day in the blinding winter sunshine with the chain gang, and knowing that we'd all be sorry as soon as we hit the first corner that the sun hadn't reached. I've been there before... A & E... stitches...picking gravel out of my head for the next few months...

Sooo.... fire up the chainsaw without guilt, knowing I'd have a ride to somewhere exotic like a 50 mile jaunt to Bures after the ice melted. Cut up the poplar I collected in the spring and split it. The day stretched before me - chainsaw stuff, cycle to Bures through damp, ancient sunken lanes and have a coffee, work on the Guzzi, do some composing. Soak in a bath, aided by grape nerve medicine - Perfect.
Come 10:30, togged up in roadie mode, complete with sunglasses, (sad) soaked the fixie down with WD40 and hit the road. Hmmm.... ice everywhere on the verges. Blew through Clare feeling good, cold sunshine on my face and climbed (gently, only about a 100 meters up) into Essex. Legs limbering up and cadence rising - what's that white in the shade of the hedge on the other side of the road? Into a corner for the junction at Belchamp which I notice is also shaded; I also notice the looming solid white road, slow down to have a look; but the rear wheel kicks out down the camber, I'm facing at 90 degrees to my direction of travel and still (momentarily) upright. This isn't supposed to happen on a fixed. One more time.

Limp 5 miles home.

So to the Guzzi, best to end the day on a high - all I needed to do was fill the crankcase with oil, screw in a pair of plugs,drag it out of the barn and hit the start button. Various pops and bangs scare the dog back into the house, and a sheet of flame blows out the open, silencer-free pipes; phooarh...I've got a spark, anyway. I'll see about getting it to actually run when I get back. It just so looks better now, and, as we all know, that's half the battle. Back to that wiring diagram.

The afternoon was spent trying to capture a sound in my head, an initial gesture to start an aria for the Neal Cassady thing. I kinda managed to find a start, and it's going to be low... cellos, basses, bass clarinets, that sort of thing. And woodblocks....lots of them. Neal is going to have to be a tenor, I think. I can hear the voice counterbalanced against the orchestra's low register unison lines. Who's the baritone, should it be Kerouac? I seem to hear him even higher, for no good reason. Countertenor? That would just be just plain silly. But he really doesn't come across as a baritone for me.

The strange thing is that lately, more and more, I am struggling against how my head keeps getting invaded by the musak tracks I can remember being piped into all the environs of my childhood. 2-feel perky electric bass played with a felt pick, banjos, unison male choirs a la Mitch Miller and the Gang, shimmering strings - that kind of thing. Spooky. Since the mice ate my mp3 player's earphones about a month ago (another story sometime soon) I have been struggling with this rising tide of banal dross running in my head. It's a bit like zombies taking over the malls.

So, today was good, apart from a red and blue rash along my right side. Time for a recovery drink, mmmm...probably a Slipstream Cream Ale would hit the spot and aid tissue repair.

So, with the sound of Mitch and the Gang echoing in our ears, sweet dreams.