". . . 'Anyone there?'. . . Several plumped fowl, asleep atop a hand mill that is tucked in one corner of the entrance, awaken with a start and set up a raucous cackle. Beyond the threshold a clay hearth stands, wet and partly discoloured by the rain that is still falling. Above it stands a blackened tea-kettle, whether earthenware or metal I cannot tell. Happily, the fire in the hearth is lit. . . "
from Kasumakura by Natsuma Soseki - Chapter 2, page 15.
Kasamakura was a Christmas gift from a friend who's in love with all things Japanese - the more spare and ancient the form, the better. This book is considered to be a 'haiku novel.' I'd probably call it a meditation on the arts - and on reading.
I'm heading away for a few days, driving in the direction of the sky and hills you see in this photograph. We've had an excessive amount of rain here lately and my old mud house in Naseby ('2000 feet above worry level') has been objecting. Water's been making its way in here, there and everywhere. Her patient Christmas tenants have been doing their bit to catch errant drips with pots, pans and buckets. . . but this is about more than the odd drip. She's old and built of mud & hay bricks. Seeping rain is not good for her; it's clear her (very old) roof needs some tending to. . . So, up I go to consult with my builder friend Phil and come up with a plan of action. Wish us luck!
See you soon. It's good to know we are all - Northern and Southern hemisphere friends - officially 'in' 2011. Happy New Year.