Monday, June 30, 2014


Last night it blew a gale, cold as charity etc etc. I took to the bed early with my socks still on, a big cup of hot milo, and the six hundred pages of Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom of which I'm a third the way in and still any thoughts of taking Akabar are only just emerging.

While I'm impatient to get to the Bernanos books which have arrived, I can't skip quickly through Arabia and its all male world (there has yet to be one female character), a world of men whose "strength was the strength of men geographically beyond temptation [of civilisation]".

For whatever it may reveal about me, I can say I had to read twice the description of twenty nine year old Sherif Shakir whose 

"mother had been Circassian, as had been his grandmother. From them he obtained his fair complexion; but the flesh of his face was torn away by smallpox. From its white ruin two restless eyes looked out, very bright and big; for the faintness of his eyelashes and eyebrows made his stare directly disconcerting. His figure was tall, slim, almost boyish from the continual athletic activity of the man.
  [ ] 
In war he was the man at arms. His feats made him the darling of the tribes. He, in return, described himself as a Bedawi, and an Ateibi, and imitated them. He wore his black hair in plaits down each side of his face, and kept it glossy with butter, and strong by frequent washings in camel urine. He encouraged nits, in deference to the Beduin proverb that a deserted head showed an ungenerous mind: and he wore the brim, a plaited girdle of thin leather thongs wrapped three of four times round the loin to confine and support the belly. He owned splendid horses and camels: was considered the finest rider in Arabia: ready for a match with anyone."

Back in the bedroom. Most of all, there's the dog, and her body heat. She presses hard against me, playing jig-saws, moulding herself into my contours, often starting the night on her back and looking face-wards into the bedside light. Last night she crossed her forelegs with a display of nails I couldn't resist catching on the phone.

In a brilliant piece of design, the actual nails are really only half their appearance. Reality is doubled by hairs of matching shape and colour.

(As usual, clicking of photos enlarges them)

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