Hazel & I spent Saturday on an 'Artist's Date'. We've been doing these irregularly ever since we started writing together, sometimes in flamboyant venues like Paris, Barcelona, and last christmas Manhatten, though more often in downtown Frome. This time it was in rural Worcestershire where Haz now lives.
A great day, divided between working on new 'Live & Lippy' material, and walking on the Malvern Hills, where we discovered a wayside shrine where passing poets were invited in Blake's words to
"see a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour."
We wrote 7 pieces, walked 3 hours, & rewarded ourselves with fish&chips.
Bristol Harbour Festival expected 200,000 visitors and most of them seemed to be swarming round the docks on Sunday. Streets were in full fairground mode, the river chokka with tour boats, and Cascade Steps throbbing with poetry performances. Rosemary Dun defied an overcast sky with odes to summer passions and the rain held off, till later.
And once more on the theme of writers in their own words... did you know Willm Shakspere never penned his name the way history has selected? I'm engrossed in the Bill Bryson biography, which finds the man himself missing for most of his life but paints a fascinating picture of his theatrical world. This was a time when, despite plagues and casual violence, theatres were crowded nightly with plays seen as so relevant to current politics that performers risked erratic penalties like having their noses lopped off. Ah happy days...
I finished this book knowing a great deal less about our greatest playwright and poet than when I started, but it's a compelling read. And here's Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, one of many conspiracy-theorist candidates to the challenge Will the real Will Shakespeare please stand up - despite being 'sexually dissolute and widely disliked' and prone to murdering his servants, he was the favourite of a researcher named Looney.
Off now to Languedoc for a couple of weeks. Have a good August, y'all!