Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Meeting Loki

Occasionally I pass a piece of litter on a path and guilt sets in, I have to turn back and pick it up. It was similar driving north the other week. Heading through Yorkshire for Scotland I picked upna leaflet telling me of a Loki stone sited in the church of Kirkby Stephen. I first heard of the Loki stone in a story by Brina Katz, who I was supervising on her MA thesis, and some resonance with the name set in. Sooner than take the detour I veered north. For a couple of hours guilt set in - I should have visited the stone, it seemed to be pulling me back. I made a deal that I would take it in on my return south.
It's been a good two weeks since packing up the old house and moving on - back to my old haunts in Glencoe, a spectacularly bog-ridden day clambering over the island of Iona, and new to me was Kilmartin Glen, surprisingly the area of Europe most densely packed with Neolithic sites. Some day I may drop back and post my own pictures of the visit - I can't get my computer to connect online since leaving home.
The weather has been astonishing, especially for Scotland. When I last lived here I fled one day in March when more than 60 inches of rain had already fallen for the year. Staying a week with friends in a valley near Dunoon has been magical, swimming in rivers and the sea, basking in sunlight. Their place was powered with the sense of the mountains that ringed it. It's a while since I have felt that mountain force so tangibly.
Glasgow was jolly too. When I lived there I noted how it became Mediterranean on the back of two weeks of rare sunshine, people calling to each other across the street, smiling. Then the rain sees them locked inside tenements again, begrudging the fact. Memories of my years there were triggered as I walked around, eating in the fine seafood restaurant Rogano's at last, decorated in the art deco mode of the ship Queen Mary in 1935 I believe, when that ship was being built on the Clyde.
On to a fine day's work with friend Sara Maitland in Dumfries, moving forward our joint book on mentoring creative writers. Then a meandering trip into England today, a few historical sites en route.
And finally to visit that Loki Stone. Again, my own pictures when I get them available (till then, here's the picture link). The stone is set to stare out through the window, from the 8th-10th century, the only such one in Britain I believe. It portrays the devil, but in a lighthearted way, quite a cheery piece.
I'm settled into rooms at Lancaster University now, adapting to a temporary spell of homelessness, holing up to get on with some serious writing work. First task, finishing off my PhD thesis - a bit of a headbanger of a task but almost there. So I may well get to post more while here. Glad to be back with you!


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