Ten days or so have passed without my pondering aloud. My amanuensis and I have been elsewhere, throwing ourselves on the kindness of strangers and, when it comes to the weather, caution to the wind. This lovely picture illustrates Jack Frost’s handiwork along the lanes of Suffolk, adorning gorse bushes and spidery homes with his glistening crystal thread. Like some wonderful fisherman, he captures nature in his nets, holding it fast until the sun sets it free.
But unseasonal warmth and rain of all kinds all too soon replace the odd icy morning we’ve enjoyed this winter. There has been very little beauty, just a preponderance of damp and drizzle. Up in the extreme north east we’ve been luckier by far than those in the south of the country, as I’ve frequently noted. Day after day we’ve watched the news and gasped at cottages transformed into granges on the ancient flood plain around Avalon.
Here is the view from Snape to Iken, down the coast in Suffolk from where the floods have been most devastating in that region. The tide is out, the quiet is profound, pierced only by the cry of the curlew and chatter of the gulls. In the distance, beside the ancient anchorage where St Botolph drew up his coracle and staked his claim in Redwald’s land, is the place he made holy, still dripping with meaning to this day. The church is always open: always.
All of the Dickens Dogs are presented there when we are pups; shown the silence and the shelter from the rain, which is always falling, as it is today; whether tempestuously, as it was this morning, or tenderly, gently, as it is as I write.