g e a r s

990401.1933 st mary’s

o golly , this is beautiful . i’m sitting on a crate down at the rechabite quay , looking across hugh town’s harbour with samson , bryher and tresco hazy on the horizon . the sun sets behind the garrison , sillhouetting the elizabethan star castle . the tide is high , the sea laps the granite quay . a couple of youths circle the grass to my left on their bikes . two people and a dog on the narrow crecent of sand . forty odd vessels slowly turn on their moorings .

these days have been rewarding . more threads woven into the fabric , some delightfully unexpected harmonies discovered .

several hours this afternoon were spent with julia mackenzie at her house on the strand , playing through various pieces on two pianos . my reading is not as sharp as it was , but i enjoyed it immensely . julia was for many years the islands’ music teacher . more recently she has been director of music at a series of prep schools around the country . now she is back to stay , and the islands are the beneficiaries of her energy and passion .

i first met julia through henry doughty , head of music at truro school when i was there , assistant organist at truro cathedral and my first organ teacher . it was henry who first introduced me to these islands . i discovered from julia that he and his wife francesca will be here next week . we plan a surprise for him . he has no idea i am here .

i should head for the main quay now , where the spirit is due at eight to collect johann from a council session . the sky is huge and striated in purple and orange . it must look magnificent from castella downs on agnes .

990402.2010 tamarisk farm

whew ! just back from an exhilarating cycle round wingletang downs , bumping and sliding over the granite , sand and bramble . this was the test run for johann’s newly souped-up machine . when i first arrived i was happy to discover an ancient mountain bike in the shed . but my first enthusiastic sortie down to the post office ended smartly with the ping of the rear deraileur falling to bits . johann and i took a few inches out of the chain , reducing the number of gears from eighteen to , er , one .

undaunted i ordered a new part from a cycle shop in penzance . it arrived just as i was leaving for st mary’s on tuesday . i spent several hours this afternoon with a socket set , some wd40 and the ingenious little omni-tool adam gave me last year . the gears are working , the tyres are taut ( though profoundly wrecked ) , the brakes just about work , the saddle sits three inches above the instantly-crippling position in which it was rusted solid . in short the thing works . there remains a lingering sense that the hopelessly corroded and worn-out beast is liable to collapse at any moment , but until then it’ll be a lot of fun .

whilst i was on st mary’s nick kindly trusted me with his gorgeous aluminium creature . i couldn’t find the lights , so i was blessed with the experience of speeding along the deserted lanes by moonlinght from gaz’s cabin at watermill . an experiene further heightened by the fact that i was just a little the worse for wear . quite a contrast to my late-night journeys across london , with their mournful street-lamps and poisoned air .

tomorrow my parents and caroline arrive for easter . i pray they see some of the divine weather of these last few days , but fog is forecast .

: cH

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