Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Waking by Moonset

Staying in a low-browed surf-shack on the furthermost tip of the sand-dunes of the Towans, near Gwithian, a post-Christmas break postponed by the deep freeze in early January. Sad that Oliver couldn't come, but Meredith is the perfect companion. We each have a table in the roomy sun-porch, hers for gouache sketches of Godrevy lighthouse [visible in the photo through the righthand window], the ever-changing sea, sand and sky; mine for laptop and notebooks. The book is hiccupping along - I still feel I am writing parodies not my own stuff, but it is interesting to talk to Meredith and compare the problems of painting and writing. I know I have a facility, but that is a long way from the imaginative leap that it takes to write fiction in my own voice. Still, spirits always rise when there's an unlimited horizon, and such good company. This morning I plan to get deeper into my cast; to write about them longhand  in the way I can so easily talk about them. This is a sensational place - as there is a full moon I have been waking by moonset: first dramatically black and silver, then as dawn rises, the pearliest pink, like a ghost of the sun.
We see St Ives at night as bold garlands of gold beads scattered on the distant headland to the south west. Walking northwards around the cliffs above the lighthouse, we looked down vertiginous cliffs to a bevy of seals relaxing on the beach. There were two newborns tucked under the shelter of the cliff, and a great bull guarding the approach from the sea from the rocks. These furthest reaches of Britain have a romance all their own. I've been dipping into the original and ascerbic Ruth Manning-Sanders West Country, written many years ago for Batsford: made me want to go to the Scillies next - and to get a book she refers to by Walter Besant with the wonderfully seductive title Armorel of Lyonesse.