A visit from Alan and Rae Riach combined with mostly wet and windy weather - currently blowing draughts through the study and the fire is out - has been full of poetry and Scottish independence and New Zealand memories while dear Bar feeds the cows each morning, and then the humans.
I am working on composing a circular piece of music for the shells into bells project, and trying to tidy up Window to the West which Meg Bateman and I have been working on for eight years now and still get on well together! It is "towards a re-definition of the visual in the Gaelic-speaking world" and is crazily ambitious: it is a substantial joint-author book but we have loved doing it. It is holistic and it looks out at the world from here, rather than starting with the world looking in and telling us we are peripheral and remote and isolated and all that nonsense that comes from people living much more lonely lives in cities.
Work also on ogam - a paper to give to Rannsachadh nan Gaidheal in June about this fascinating "alphabet" - simple and phonetic in its basic form, but deliberately obscure in much of its usage. It is visually and structurally provoking and I am making an initial stab at interpreting a manuscript of spells and charms from the 19th-century written out entirely in ogam representing Irish Gaelic. It's a bit like the way doctors used to write prescriptions in illegible Latin so that only they and the pharmacist could actually read them. Trade secrets and so on. Put it this way, I am trying to hack into this manuscript and reveal to an expectant public what is the one and only cure for the evil eye or, if it comes to that, toothache. The truth is my sole qualification for pursuing this is curiosity and the fact that the manuscript has so far been ignored. I hope to annoy enough experts with my presumption into getting them to do something serious about it.
Spring would have y-sprungen, as Chaucer might have it, were it not for cold winds. The soil is not going to warm up in a hurry and if I can locate some Golden Wonder seed potatoes in time, they will still have a chance to chit before there is any point in planting them. We are in process of reforming the lazy beds into raised beds with gravel paths. Alarmingly suburban, but a lot less work for our elderly joints and muscles.
The Te Gheal - our 13 foot Orkney dinghy - needs her fiber-glass keel repaired: too many batterings getting onto the trailer at awkward tides.
As Alan likes to say, "There is still damage to be done!"
John Purser is widely known as a composer, musicologist, poet, playwright, and broadcaster.