June 6th, 2010


It's a Beautiful Day in Devon

It's just gone 10pm here and the sky is that very deep purple-y-blue it turns just before real night descends.  Only 30 hours in Devon, and already it feels like home.  We've unpacked, staked out our territory, run into a friend on the way to the square, had Sunday dinner in a pub with a group of artists and writers, bought the fixings for dinner, cooked it, had some cider, taken three walks.  We've talked a great deal, worked a bit, and borrowed two sets of Wellies in case it really does rain all week the way WeatherUnderground says it's going to.

Today was beautiful, all fresh and clear and coolish/warmish (depending on the time of day).  I woke to the smell of Theo cooking bacon and eggs--fresh eggs, local eggs, with yellows as orange as marigolds and a lovely, rich taste I haven't had in America since my friend who kept chickens moved to Colorado.  We bought some pickled ones from the lady three doors up, who leaves them (and her home-made marmelade and chutneys and pickled beans and beautiful, golden onions) in basket on a bench outside her front door, along with a tin box with a slot on it for the money.  Everything's pretty much closed here on Sunday.  The only store open is Spar's, a tiny branch of a big grocery chain that looks like a 7-11, but has fresh produce, very good meat, and some quite decent wine.  We bought chicken thighs there, and some snap peas and staples like rhubarb yoghurt and Coke Lite.  And Pimm's No. 1, for Pimm's Cup, which Holly wanted to try.

We had a lovely walk on the Common with the super-star Tillie--and Terri, of course.  ellen_kushner talks about it in her  post on getting here and her adventures with the moor ponies.  I had unfortunately forgotten to take my camera with me, so (until I find the proper software to download my own visual memory) there are no pictures of her sitting like a rock in a meadow while they grazed around her.  Pity.  It was quite a sight.

I've never been here so early in the year.  The bluebells are pretty much gone by, but the gorse and heather is in bloom and the bracken is still unfurling.  There's some small, fleshy-leaved plant with an intensely blue flower growing between the cracks of the grey stone church, particularly the southern facade and the eastern side.  We found it when we took our after-dinner walk (I braised the chicken in white wine with onions and garlic and rosemary, discovering in the process that things get done faster in a convection oven than I'm used to, which is useful to know if I want to bake a rhubarb pie, which I do).  Also a grave I hadn't noticed before, right up next to the church on the side, with cement poured all around it as if making absolutely sure that nothing was going to be able to rise from it.  There's probably some tiresomely practical explanation, but I prefer (of course) the one that's beginning to stir feebly in the back of my brain.

We've all poked at work today in the desultory fashion appropriate to Sunday and our jet-lagged state.  Tomorrow, however, the Real Work begins.  Ellen, Terri, and Holly will disappear into the studio to work on Bordertown.  Theo will set up shop in the lounge.  And I'll go check out the cafe that has replaced the wonderful Red Sofa where the Devon branch of Terri and Howard's wedding reception took place almost two years ago.  I've got a poem to write and a course to prepare.