i remember when I was 19 sitting in a field - wind blowing but the day warm - with a bottle of 1979 Portuguese red and a slab of blue cheese and a copy of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. And the grass rustled, and the leaves made that sound they only make in high spring and I turned the pages, drank the wine and ate the cheese. The day got dark, the bottle emptied and the book finished.
I was going through an Oscar Wilde phase (no, not in that way) - in that I read Oscar, wanted to be an aesthete, well-rounded, well-read, lettered and all that. I swore that although I thought Wuthering Heights the most magnificent book, I would never read it again, so perfect was the time and place.
Yeah, what a nob. I get that now.
More or less finished my primer on Charles Bukowski. Yes, he has some style, and yes he has viewpoints, but, frankly, towards the middle, it all seemed a bit, well, one note. So, he drinks. So, he likes the bigger woman. Yeah, he likes horse racing (yawn). So, he has consistent but incoherent views on poetry and the human condition. But I stated to feel imprisoned as though trapped in a bar with a ranting drunk next to me, grabbing my shoulder and raging about things I don't care about.
Next on the night-table, The Best of Guy du Maupassant, I've not yet pinned to my wall of prejudice. He hovers mid-air, awaiting my judgement. The historian in me is interested in the Franco-Prussian War setting a war which tends to be forgotten these days. The eternal truth that war is hell. How this is forgotten and then rediscovered, as though the first time ever, each time mad men, ambitious men and the stupid beat the drums.
But, for a comforting ritual, I'm reading the second of Robert Graves' Claudius series - Claudius the God (just finished I, Claudius). I've read these books many times but I keep coming back to them. The second isn't as good as the first, but it's still a rattling good read. I feel though I could be a little more ambitious but, as this is the book I pick up before lights out, a challenge is probably the last thing I need.
As for writing myself, I've taken the week off from creation. It's strange - isn't it - then when I'm busiest I want to do more and when I'm not, I do less? Actually, it's probably not that strange at all. Probably it's basic human psychology. (He sits down, embarrassed, to the sound of titters from the back).
Anyway, I have the Stilton, the weather is just right - being warm and breezy - I have Hardy's Wessex Tales to read. Now can anyone tell me where I can buy a 1979 bottle of Portuguese red?