More strange sentences on waking. This time it was: ‘you’ve got to salt over the barrel.’

There’s an artist that I know of, Simon Lewty, I believe he’s called, who makes work from his dreams. Not visions. He doesn’t try to paint them but writes them out in beautiful copperplate script.

I did it. I worked my sampler (for want of a better word) all day. It’s coming on. And it felt good to give it my attention. It is a knotty, fiddly thing requiring all sorts of decisions that I don’t always feel best qualified to make. It is a beginning. I like forming the letters and the way the nubs of black cotton create an unevenness, like a kind of bleeding of ink that you find in old letterpress manuscripts. And I like the focus of it. But my back fought it. I was rigid as a board. I could hear it clicking and clacking as I lay in bed last night, still there. Still responding to my inner wrangling. So be it, eh?

I listened to some marvellous readings and programmes as I worked. Laurie Lee setting out for Spain, Robert McFarlane and his adventuring around Surrey (I think it was) and Fergal Sharkey and Claire Balding rambling beyond the outer reaches of Greater London. I scribble down quotes in between stitches. These two are McFarlane’s, writing about two nature writers he admired, I forget who is who:  ‘He came to know his landscapes by walking’. ‘The marriage would be durable, childless and loving’.  And this one is Lee’s ( I think I have it right – my handwriting sometimes eludes me): ‘a tantalizing strip of voluptuous boredom’.

It was a blessed day. I was both tense and content. There was healing, rest and contemplation and glorious, glorious writing.