After lunch I cut off a length of my rope and tied it onto the iron banister at the tower steps, and now it trails handily into the sea, moving darkened in the waves. I have knotted the seaward end for easier grasp. I have had less success with the ‘cliff’ for the simple reason that there is nothing here to attach the rope to. The rocks are too humpy and smooth, and the rope is not long enough to reach the house. Buy a longer piece and attach it to the kitchen door or to the post at the bottom of the stairs, and haul the long wet end into the kitchen every night? These problems too are not without interest. The rope itself is beautiful stuff, lightly burnished and smelling like retsina. I am told it is made locally. I spent part of the – afternoon lying upon my rock ‘bridge’, between the house and the tower, and watching the waves coming flying through beneath me and killing themselves in fits of rage in the deep enclosed rocky area on the inland side. The sight of the rushing foaming water made me feel, after a while, almost lightheaded, as if I might have become giddy and fallen in. Most enjoyable. I am a bit dismayed however to find, from studying the picture postcards in the shop, that my bridge and its whirlpool are well-known local features. Fortunately the cards seemed rather old and crumpled, and I bought up the entire stock for less than a pound. I want no trippers here seeking for a beauty spot’. In fact the ‘bridge’ is nothing much, just a hump of rock with a hole in it and an open pit beyond. At certain states of the tide the water, forcing itself through, produces a loud hollow report; I hope this does not draw attention to the place. I learnt from the cards that the enclosed whirlpool is called ‘Minn’s cauldron’. I asked the shop lady who Minn was, hut she did not know. Statements made by distant church bells remind me it is Sunday. Today the sky has become cloudy. I have been watching the clouds and it occurs to me that I have never done this in my life before, simply sit and watch clouds. As a child I would have been far too anxious to ‘waste time’ in this way. And my mother would have stopped me. As I write this I am sitting on my plot of grass behind the house where I have put a chair, cushions, rugs. It is evening. Thick lumpy slate-blue clouds, their bulges lit up to a lighter blue, move slowly across a sky of muddy and yet brilliant gold, a sort of dulled gilt effect. At the horizon there is a light glittering slightly jagged silver line, like modern jewellery. Beneath it the sea is a live choppy lyrical goldeny-brown, jumping with white flecks. The air is warm. Another happy day. (‘Whatever will you do down there?’ they asked.) In a quiet surreptitious way I am feeling very pleased with myself.
Another day. I have decided not to put dates as they break up the sense of a continuous meditation. I have been rereading the opening pages of my autobiography! How full, for me at any rate, of frightful resonance those statements are which I have made with such an odd and sudden air of authority, about my childhood. I had never thought of myself as being that much interested. I had intended to write about Clement. Do I really want to describe my childhood? I have not swum today. I went to the tower steps in the afternoon intending to swim but found to my annoyance that the rope which I had fixed to the banister had somehow become untied and floated away. I am not very good at knots. In any case that rope is perhaps too thick to knot easily. It occurs to me that a long piece of nylon cloth might be more serviceable. Felt a little depressed but was cheered up by supper: spaghetti with a little butter and dried basil. (Basil is of course the king of herbs.) Then spring cabbage cooked slowly with dill. Boiled onions served with bran, herbs, soya oil and tomatoes, with one egg beaten in. With these, a slice or two of cold tinned corned beef. (Meat is really just an excuse for eating vegetables.) I drank a bottle of retsina in honour of the undeserving rope.