Sunday, January 02, 2011


". . . '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. 


  1. happy journey, claire.
    hurry back.
    bring more you.
    HNY 2011

  2. I would love to see pictures of this structure. It sounds nice, I hope it is easy to fix.

  3. Happy New year, Claire from southern climes.

    I now wear a kimono as my dressing gown. A lovely touch of Japan that came to me as a Christmas gift from friends.

  4. Here's hoping that your roof will be fixable in a way that is pleasing to you and not hugely expensive. Enjoy your time away in what sounds like a heavenly place.

  5. Ah, for some sky and hills.
    Wish I could follow.

    When I was in the 4th grade, I longed for all things Japanese, sat at my desk and drew gardens with cherry blossoms, walked around my house in tiny steps. There's quite the fascination there. These words took me back 53 years.

  6. Steps measured as rain drops; I hope you get the roof fixed.

  7. Happy New Year, Claire.

    A new roof for the Naseby house could be the go ...

  8. Luck and more luck: the good kind.


  9. If you are back home, welcome. If still out and about, I hope the concerning pieces are being patched. Meanwhile, 2011 begins to unspool. xo