I’m exploring through an epic realm of enclosed red sunlight, in vast underground Egyptian chambers. I arrive in the first chamber, and there is a small 3 metre pryamid with a giant eye carved deep into it’s surface, weird unidentifiable vines with large white flowers, turned pink by the red sunlight creep up the walls of the chamber, anchoring themselves to cracks in the runework. Grasses and wildflowers grow out of the stone floor. As I walk to the pyramid I notice that in the distance there is a corridor to another cavern. I amble toward it, obligingly it opens up into a second, larger, duskier chamber with green laser light shining in all directions, again there is a mini pyramid in the centre of this chamber, again with an eye carved meticulously into the middle. Just as I enter the larger second chamber, I am somehow transported to a hillside, now somewhere out in the open. A single dark black tree looms, silhouetted in the red sunset. The dream ends.
I am floating in glassy dark cool water that stretches into darkness, in what seems like a giant cavern. The only light here emanates from a giant towering winged beast of pure white energy a thousand metres wide and two thousand tall. It gently rises and falls in tandem with it’s own breath. Gentle warm wind blows, with wisps of smoke that smell of burning frankincense, and steam whipping outwards in large slow vortexes and curls, as it exhales.
There is diffuse light and scattered crepuscular rays splayed out in random directions, illuminating fissures in the cavernous rocks, light turning to shadow with angular precision. The beast stares at me and I stare at the beast. It has no face, just a general form with wings. I regard it with awe, and it senses me with curiosity. Acid rain falls all around me and causes great gouts of steam to billow and hiss from the hovering creature.
What is this effigy, and why am I here with it? I fell through the soil to this place one night, its coolness turning to warmth as I slipped further and further into the bowels of the planet. I cannot get out. I seem to be trapped here with it yet I do not panic, I simply feel calm, there is no malice here.
The rain whips and crackles against the double glazing as the new wood-stove sends waves of heat into my soul, rejuvenating me from within. I listen to atmospheric music and imagine giant swells of dark Atlantic winter waves boiling and howling with storm energy. Somewhere out there in the obsidian vastness, thousands of sea creatures are living and dying, out of sight. Sometimes your imagination is your best friend on cold nights like these, when you remember yourself as a child, scared of monsters and seeking solace from maternal family members.
The cool trickles of water you hear on your walking travels.
In spring they indicate a freshness of life.
In the summer they are a psychological respite from the heat of late afternoon sun.
In autumn they just seem miserable.
As for winter, cold water touched by ice a embodies purity and stillness.
As it is autumn, there is a dampness around after a late evening downpour that is only intensified by the sound of water trickling off every surface. It inspires nothing more than a need to get home, warm and dry. If I were more adventurous today I would probably blend some fresh raspberries with some elderflower cordial, maybe warming it in the microwave into some kind of fresh fruit tea, but yet again apathy gets the better of me and I accept the ubiquitous yet intensely refreshing sensation of fresh tap water. Sometimes, even with the best intentions, you just can’t be bothered doing a bloody thing.
I awake and greet a clear and alert head with great gratitude. It’s noticeably cooler today, and to me this is welcome because: It means I take a hot shower. On cold days they are truly soothing, but you have to wake up cold!
Out to the supermarket before the crowds to grab a freshly baked sun dried tomato loaf, then back home with the spoils of the supermarket foraging session. The morning is spent eating buttered tomato bread and boiled duck eggs, with a fresh pot of dusky black coffee. The great British weather is living up to its reputation. It could go one way or the other as great tears of sunshine glow through grey blankets of cloud.
The yolk from a good egg is not yellow, but deep ochre, and they are almost always free range, meaning lots of omega 3, which many of us neglect with our high grain diets. Duck eggs have especially rich yolks and are great for home made custard. They come into their own when boiled and coupled with the good fresh bread and rich salted & grass fed butter. We are so lucky in this country to have such a rich farming heritage, and that many of our cows are treated with the respect that all living things deserve, and are allowed to roam free and eat grass.
We walk along the various paths surveying the decay of the vegetation. Piles of leaves are scattered everywhere. In the wetter parts of the woodland, wild spearmint grows. I pinch a flower atop half a stalk, first crushing the surrounding leaves, then the flower itself. It strikes me how much more potent the scent is from the flower. Fresh mint evokes a sense of cleanliness, uplifting while imparting a soft cool numbness. I vow to create a dish where the mint flower is the star, but today we are here for work. There is a new hive in the back of the car, full of rather relaxed bees. The constant bouncing of the car on the journey over would usually infuriate other strains, and by now they would be ready to kill, but today we are lucky. We install the beehive, and feed every hive present so that the other stronger colonies will not steal the newer, less established hive’s food and try to kill them. The sun is setting and the air temperature is dropping so we head back. In tribute to the day’s success a steak and onion sandwich with Manx wetland honey and Canadian cheddar is the only way to go… Served up in giant fresh white baps with the caramel lick of slow fried shallots. When eating the mind wanders to whether those bees found the clump of spearmint nearby, and whether it is emaprting any flavour compounds into what I’m eating. I also wish I’d taken a fucking picture of the mint.
Yet another weekend passes by, I drink too much and mix it up too… Beer, wine and spirits. It’s toxic, and I pay for it on Saturday morning. A good gym session sorts this out as far as is possible. I can feel the toxins dripping down my face as I drive them out of my body by red-lining it with kettlebells and a good cardio session on the cross trainer. I like the equlibrium of feeling healthy, so I couldn’t possibly enjoy a hangover cure until I’d paid for Friday night’s indiscretions. I celebrate the conquest of my hangover by getting a good nights sleep on Sunday, the kind of deep sleep you only get once in a while. The next morning I wake with a taste for Sunday morning bacon! Streaky is all I have so I roast it slowly in the oven. After around 40 minutes I cannot wait any longer and eagerly clank the grilling plate out of the oven. The bacon is so brittle you can hardly handle it, dripping in roasted brown bacon fat. The smell is un-beatable, anticipation towers above me, urging me to chuck 2 pieces into my mouth before they even meet the bread. I pile it all into 2 small pieces of freshly toased rye with no butter, but a touch of tomato sauce. I bite in. Soft bread and brittle crunch of bacon. The best hangover cure.
As I walk along the prom I can sense the first telltale signs of Autumn. The distinct smell of woodsmoke on dense cool air. But where is it coming from? Must be a house. As I look up at the renewed wildness in the twilight clouds, the pristine silverness of their edges. I consider our origins as two black suits amble along the shores edge, discussing the day’s deals. I cross a tree that has barely any leaves left, it is naked, and looks like a skinny dragon. We have begun the yearly descent into the dormancy of winter, and I love it.