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I had intended to write about George Orwell this blog but is it me or is this year, 2015, already zooming by at an unprecedented speed? I just cannot seem to catch up and George deserves a little effort to do him justice.

Since returning from seven weeks in China life has been rich in event and experience. I love my day job and my church life is dynamic and diverse I also have a family I adore, who like to keep me on my toes. So there is little time to ‘stand and stare’ to quote William Henry Davies, but I can not complain, however, just after Christmas I was feeling a little overwhelmed this coincided with our migrating over from PC to Apple.

I have also come to that stage in life where all those things one has struggled to acquire over the years have turned from a ‘must have’ to a distracting burden. “Who wants to spend their lives dusting?”

Expressing my frustration to Ian: husband, partner, best friend, he suggested we started to de-clutter with the studio. I sensed his underlying reluctance I had hoped for loft, cellar, cupboards and the rest, trips to the tip, charity shop and recycling but gladly accepted any olive branch even if it was the detritus of fourty years dating back to our college days.

The problem was, of course, we kept finding things which got us reminiscing and what should have taken a couple of evenings, if we had been ruthless, turned into nearly two weeks. I am very happy with what we achieved and apart from the shredder going up in smoke we cleared a lot of space (that was immediately filled up with something else) and I hoped that we would then move into the rest of the house.

I moved into the dining room, but there was now complete disinterest from husband, partner, friend. I moved into the sitting-room where I knew there were two drawers in a Victorian chest, that were bulging at the seams. By now nothing was sacred, and I caught Ian surreptitiously fishing things out of the ‘black bags’. To my amazement under the clutter I found a veritable infestation of pens and pencils; fountain-pens, ballpoint and felt-tip, marker-pens, propelling pencils, graphite, crayon, and even indelible. When I counted them there were over eighty I put them in a plastic tub whilst I enjoyed divesting myself of broken this, out of date that and the dust of ages.

Then I ran out of steam and the dust settled. The tub of writing implements remained ensconced on a side-table for several weeks. Eventually however, I had to deal with them and checking to see how many of them were still usable I discarded nearly half but that’s when my ‘ruth’ ran out; because I made the mistake of wondering where they had all come from.

One of the pens was from the Inn on Morro Bay, on California’s Central Coast. We were driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco and had stayed there on the recommendation of friends. They told us the Morro Bay area is where the 1980’s horror classic ‘The Fog’ was filmed. The Fog tells of crazed, ghostly mariners emerging from a bank of fog to wreak a terrible vengeance on the inhabitants of a small town whose ancestors had lured their ship the Elizabeth Dane onto the rocks to plunder the treasure on board.

It was a blue sky day and from the highway the bay made an idyllic scene, sunlight sparkling on gentle waves with only the massive, dome like Morro Rock, which guards the entrance to the bay, adding a touch of drama. As we dropped down from the highway a ribbon of fog appeared to delineate the horizon and gradually swelling in volume it rolled in off the ocean. At first we thought it was an optical illusion but it continued to approach, slowly, inexorably and as we stepped out of the car at the hotel door we were enveloped in the salt laden miasma. The place was shrouded in fog for two days it muffled sound and seemed to rob things of their colour and cast a gloom. The sunlight above the fog kept poking skeletal fingers through the murk creating a deliquescent light and the sound of the ocean on the shingle beaches and echoing off the hunched Morro Rock generated a brooding background anthem. The calls of invisible sea birds seemed far away and sounded like the cries of terror of the sailors on the Elizabeth Dane as its sails were torn and its planks and spars were shattered on those terrible rocks.   Imagination is a powerful thing.

John Carpenter the director of ‘The Fog’ also wrote the screenplay and composed the musical score. He got the idea for the film when he visited Stonehenge where he observed a similar phenomenon the huge monoliths engulfed in fog. We knew why the producers had chosen Morro Bay to make the film.

Though the ink in the pen had long since dried I just couldn’t throw it away. I hope you’ll forgive the tenuous link from my treasure horde of pens to loveslanguage?

 

Extract from my novel Reflections of the old past available on Kindle.

 

“She had lost her bag somewhere the strap must have broken but unaccountably she still clutched her mobile. She daren’t look behind her but she knew that Kurt was coming. Overhead she could feel and hear the thawak, thawak of the helicopters there were two of them, she knew they were looking for them. She had to get into the open so she limped to the centre, all around there were trees and above she could see a blue sky. There are worse places to die she thought.”

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