October 26, 2020

Sunday, October 25. With ‘TV Church’ and housework behind me, I headed onto the road for a run down Llanbadarn Road, through the cemetery, up Plas Crug Avenue, returning home via Llanbadarn Road again.

The town during the ‘circuit breaker’ was as quiet as it had been under lockdown.

Monday, October 26. 8.00 am: I’d dreamt that I was sat on a train going north, nursing a large crusty loaf, an oven-ready chicken, and an enormous bag of chips. 8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I forwarded emails, confirmed tutorials, and set myself up in the study. Everyday is admin day, but Monday is particularly so. I would weave my research in between the irksome and routine stuff. Following-on from Saturday’s ‘awakening’, I re-read Jones’s A Geographical … , along with my research notes from 2002, searching primarily for references to early industry in Wales and signs of God’s wrath (as he saw them) in the landscape.

Emails landed and were dispatched, punctuating my reading and writing. I, first, source read the text without my notes and, in doing so, discovered images and possibilities to which I’d not before been attuned. For example, this strange anecdote:

A man of this Parish who worked at the Coal Mine in Rhase yr Glo, going into one of the Pits which had not been worked some past time, found there a number of Swallows seemingly dead, hanging by their Bills which they had thrust into the Clay roof of the Pit. Being therefore breathless in their sleeping state.

The more I read about the valley in South Wales where I’d grown up, the more I desired to return and wander those mountain paths that Jones had once walked.

12.30 pm: I read my notes. There’s an account of aerial angelic singing that I’ve not been able to trace. I’d always attributed it to Jones. Perhaps I’m wrong. 1.30 pm: In the studio, where I reviewed Saturday’s endeavours. ‘The Crucifiction (Skirrid)’ [working title] was radically edited to an essence in order to highlight the ‘choral’ voices. I wanted to evoke the sound of the Skirrid mountainside been torn as a consequence of the earthquake caused by the Crucifixion. To get anywhere near to it required, first, making a tube of thick paper. The shape created a resonance chamber that amplified the act of tearing. I, then, processed the recording in much the same way as I had done the bathtub splash for ‘Such a Noise as If All About Was Going to Pieces’, but without slowing down the capture. Time would tell whether the artefact would be included in the final mix.

4.15 pm: I read through the notes and quotes that I’d written during the morning, before taking advantage of the late-afternoon weather. As I was running down Llanbadarn Road towards the Vicarage Field, a young woman was walking towards me. Without looking back, she crossed the road slowly and at a diagonal as, unbeknown to her, an ambulance was proceeding at speed towards her. It missed her by just a few feet. The woman continued to walk slowly to the other side of the road, as though nothing untoward had happened. I was astonished! Not least because, during my exercise yesterday I’d had the wicked thought that if you were to get run over, then an ambulance ought to be the preferred vehicle … for obvious reasons.

7.30 pm: I began thinking through the electronic paraphernalia that I’d need to pull-off tomorrow’s simultaneous online/face-to-face delivery of Vocational Practice. (‘You’re completely bonkers, John!’) Then, on with a review of the afternoon’s accomplishments.

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