Sunday, 20 November 2016

HERE I AM with Jacqui Booth

...and there I was in the middle of a holy but squelchy landscape in Cornwall in late November being photographed by the hugely talented Jacqui Booth. On this day, we stopped at Lanyon Quoit and I suggested that I lie down and Jacqui asked me to reach out over the water. Jacqui then had the job of capturing the scene and the beautiful contrast of the tone of my skin with the mottled grey of the stone and the rich earthiness of the surrounding land and she succeeded brilliantly  in every respect whilst,  at the same time, topping it off with the haunting building on the horizon silhouetted against the forbidding grey skies. The composition is excellent and the spirituality of the place is palpable.

We also visited Madron Well having pleasant chats to dog walkers on the way there and on the way back but I left Jacqui to make her own way to MĂȘn-an-Tol and she basked in the freedom of her own little jaunt there as I nodded off in the car.

Jacqui had accepted my invitation to spend a few days in Cornwall but she had not reckoned with the atrocious weather through which she had to drive all the way from Leicester only a few weeks after passing her test - the same weather which damaged the main railway line out of the county and almost trapped me there when I left for Bristol a day after Jacqui's departure. I travelled down to Cornwall by train on a cheap fare but made up for it by hiring an incredibly expensive taxi to the house. I love the house and I unpacked my things quickly and settled down at the dining table overlooking the bay and began to write. 

The sun is slowly sinking down,

The leaves outside the window

Move like dancers in the wind

Jacqui arrived a few hours later and I ran up to the pub when she called so that I could more easily direct her from the passenger seat although I was so out of breath, she could hardly understand what I was saying.

The weather improved slightly over the next few days and Jacqui showed off her newly acquired driving skills as we pottered about visiting places the names of which I cannot remember but which worked their magic as they always do whatever the weather conditions and time of year. In between these little tripettes hither and thither, we spent our time drinking and eating at the local pub, shopping at Tesco's, chatting, cooking, over-cooking (well, burning might be a more accurate word), watching a DVD (we never watched the second one as she talked all the way through the starting sequence which then repeated itself until she stopped) and generally putting the world to rights. I cannot speak for Jacqui but I was never bored because she is a sensitive, amusing and intelligent woman as well as a very conscientious and skillful photographer with a knack for taking magnificent photographs.

Jacqui stayed for two days. I gave her the master bedroom so that she could enjoy the wonderful views out to sea which would appear when she pressed the switch operating the electric blinds although she explained later that the cup of tea which I took up to her on the first morning was a little too early for her - view or no view. 

Eventually, it was time for Jacqui to leave. We hugged, we smiled and we waved. She tottered off around the track above the cliff and disappeared out of view and I returned to the table overlooking the bay, picked up my pen and began to write.....

The sun is slowly sinking down,

The leaves outside the window

Move like dancers in the wind

Choreographed in awkward harmony

By breezes which lick with salty tongues.

Above, a sky painted pink by whatever God put you on this earth.

"In my house there are many rooms" wrote St. John;

Each of your homes has been invested with your essence, your soul;

They are the personification of you, my brother - strong, principled, welcoming, real.

What magic wand have you wielded like an enchanted sabre to create these places?
Magic? No, it is not magic.

No sleight of hand, no puff of smoke, no rabbit pulled from a hat.

It is love, pure and simple.

There is a vast shore on which stand all the people you have loved and who have loved you,

You visit them often in thought, word and deed as the waves visit them to wash the sand from their feet.

In my heart there are many rooms.

One of them is for you.

Only for you.

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