There is a quote from TS Elliot which I have always been struck by: 'We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.'

I came across it again recently and it has spurred me into a new project. I am going to the same bench overlooking the South Cliff Gardens and the sea at around the same time on the same day every week and I will quickly sketch and/or write briefly what I experience. By the end of twelve months I should have 52 snapshots of the turning year. What I will do with these snapshots I have no idea, but that is part of the exploration, the arriving and the knowing for the first time.

Today I rather regretted the spot I had chosen, but writing with gloves on (never easy) and hat pulled down I had a go:
I heard the roar from half way down Prince of Wales Terrace, and here I cling to the balustrade like it's a ship's rail. The wind doesn't want me to write, it is raw slapping on my face. My fingers tingle, the blood freezing in their tips. Grey rolling, white splashed, unceasing, cold. And yet on the way here I saw green spears of daffodils still to blossom standing triumphant above the dark earth. Smells elude me. Fresh, cold, great distances, void, murderous - are any of these descriptive of a smell?


Saturday was spent enjoying this year's Coastival ( - how very fortunate we are to have this fantastic arts festival in our town. I did not get round to see as much as I'd have liked (dallying in the sun at the Clock Cafe is the reason but no excuse). However, what a pleasure it was to see installations, exhibitions and experience the soaring voices of the Singing Ducks at the Rotunda, not to mention seeing the Spa transformed into something like the Taj Mahal by lights.

Recently there's been a letter in the local paper from a visitor from Milan Italy saying that Scarborough has no culture - how very wrong s/he is and what a pity s/he wasn't here to experience Coastival.
And I thought sending my proofread transcript off to the publisher would mean my job was done - apart from being the prima donna author, of course. But it is not so. I am now having to comb through the first proofs for errant apostrophes and misaligned headings. Idly I wonder how these could occur in our digital world when all that's happened is that my word document has become a PDF? Even more idly I wonder whether famous authors - for some reason JK Rowling comes to mind - has to do this work too.
I've just finished "Her Fearful Symmetry" by Audrey Niffenegger (author of the "Time Traveler's Wife"). It kept me reading until the end, which is a compliment. I used to devour novels, but these days I am less tolerant of slack writing, character creation and plotting and I will give up on books if they do not hold my attention. What I think Niffenegger did well was blend the supernatural with the everyday. I am no fan of ghost stories, however this one worked mainly because Niffenegger wrote about the supernatural as if it were ordinary and did not attempt any explanations.

I also liked the book because it was set around Highgate cemetery and that's an area of London which is vaguely familiar to me, plus I like cemeteries. Just walking through one yields a wealth of stories and questions. We have a wonderful cemetery in Scarborough, rich in atmosphere and tales. I noticed a nineteenth century gravestone there the other day, to a woman who had been born in France and I wondered what had brought her to this small town in Yorkshire by the cold North Sea to die so young.