Scarthin Books sign

on a hard seat over winding roads through the Peaks past Matlock Bath with it’s arcades and  motorcycle tours to Cromford and Scarthin split by a road whose traffic echoes up into the valley, competing with the crows that nest up in the rock face opposite the hotel on the hill. An afternoon spent with the sun on a duckpond and burrowing into books at the wonderful Scarthin Bookshop. A wonder around winding roads, snug bridges, run down mills, sturdy stone houses with leaded windows, killing time watching fly fishing in the river, more crows overhead, to the accompaniment of trees shedding beautiful colours, to meet a dear friend for a drive home talking of how to live and how to die and how to help mark it all, sharing stories and songs of love and family.

In Norfolk I’m introduced to 2 large cedar trunks and conjure plans of woodcuts to note and hold High Barn, a family home thats held some magic space for decades. Long chats and journeys, trying to make sense of what’s come before and what’s to come. A visit to the Morgan car factory, watching everyday people do wonderful things with wood, metal, leather bowing to their hands. Ash is used to make the modern day carriages.
In London a walk around the new serpentine building, Sackler as Cerith Wyn Evan’s neon sentences lead me along the outer perimeter, past sculptures that illuminate the words from the corner of my eye. Internal dark arched brick spaces where flutes play the air.
Cerith Wyn Evans, flutes
Anslem Kiefer at the Royal Academy. A a revelation in wood, paint, thick materials, heavy marks and thoughts of the body apparent in it’s absence, the tall brooding sunflowers, a huge pile of canvasses, wedges, dust, boulders of clay in a circular room, meteoric, wonderful.
Parsifal III 1973 by Anselm Kiefer born 1945
Large solid books, printed and painted, from board, from lead, from plaster skimmed card with print and watercolour and electrolyte, an object unapologetic. Landscape engulfing, looming large.
Wood everywhere along my journey, in a printed leperello room in the RA and at Sutton House in a panelled room full of carved trunks and chairs where Stick in the Wheel sang out London’s song and it felt as if they were singing the furniture and the walls and all of the house that has stood through so many years and stood there still as sirens flew past it’s old glass windows.
We stayed in a beautiful house full of care, it being made good for over 3 years now, sandstone, zinc, brass taps, wood, wood, wood, soft light, slept sound with dreams of singing wood.
trees somewhere