Freshly coiffed, here I lie beside the saltire of my father’s country and ponder the fact that, by first thing this beautiful morning, all evidence of the film-makers had gone from the beach, save the scaffold – now charred and worn from the work to which it had been pressed. A lonely relic among the dunes, we hope it will be left until reclaimed by wind and weather over the years to come. An empty stage is always evocative and – no matter how briefly peopled – ghosts persist, as we boys know better than most. Reading the signs of other realms of existence – an excellent tracker – head down, I charge along employing my spaniel-isms; the poetry, the images of time and place, footprint and breath; what once was there and now is there no more. Shakespeare, who seems to have understood everything, through the character of Macbeth, his own creation, shows us that he understood the difference between dog and dog: the swift, the slow, the subtle,/The housekeeper, the hunter. Interesting isn’t it, that at the point of choosing a suitably ruthless murderer to take on the assault on Banquo, his own best friend, Macbeth reaches for his knowledge of mankind’s truest companion? Yes, we have our uses, and our talents; ‘bounteous nature’ throbs in our veins. You may have left us, Michael Fassbender, but I – a small spaniel – can detect you still! Other recent posts have reflected on the sudden transformation wrought here by the arrrival of the Macbeth shoot. In the village car park, now bereft of all the trainers, vans, equipment, coaches and trucks, only the marquee survives. No doubt by the end of the week, that will have vanished, too. The other sort of magic has all gone. But only in a sense.
If you would like to see some other pictures of the filming, you will find them here:
Amazing to relate: our little wren, Christopher, who has sung all summer trying to found a family, seems at last to have one. He built a nest in the tit box above the oil tank, and for weeks now he has filled the air with piercing song. In vain, or so we all thought. But today we saw a faecal sac being removed from the nest site and we are thrilled to watch the comings and goings. There was a someone for him, someone who answered his cry for companionship and urge to provide for the future. This is a good garden, he called; these are good people, who feed us all year, and feed us plentifully too. My nest is warm, dry and well sheltered, camouflaged by rugosa roses. Life will be gorgeous. Yes, the wind will soon be shaking our ears but there is always hope.
Every morning as we run along the beach towards Bamburgh I think about St Oswald, who lived there long ago. He made the humble monk St Aidan his ambassador to the poor. He was greatly loved by the locals, for his goodness and generosity. I imagine them both walking there, looking at whatever the sea is doing out by St Cuthbert’s cell on Inner Farne, as we do. Whatever the weather and despite whatever wind is thrown at us, out we go, blessed to be free along the strand which is both so majestic and magical. This week St Aidan was honoured with a beautiful shrine on the spot in the church where Bede tells us that he died. The church was full for the first time in ages and now that there is a focal point there perhaps others will come to know him better, as he is more clearly visible. In our own way, we have a sort of shrine too, where Jonny lies and where the wild flowers grow. His presence amongst us is wonderfully cheering, as is St Aidan’s. We are so lucky in our little corner of the county: much medicine is to be found.