Friday, February 1, 2008

The Land of Counterpane

Now, if you had to answer this question - what would you say?

"Shall I stay in and iron all these vintage mangle cloths I've pre-washed to turn into aprons .. OR .. shall I take advantage of this lovely sparkling morning and head outside?"

Answers on a postcard .... but really it was a no-brainer this morning.

I was expecting rain, snow or sleet, but instead woke up to one of those lovely sparkling days you sometimes get in winter. So, casting those pesky mangle cloths to one side, I took the leads off the hook, fought my way to the back door past two over-excited dogs and we went up to Blackdown Rings. We had a wonderful walk, it was so clear, you could see for miles.

And it brought to mind a poem I used to love as a child. It's called "The Land of Counterpane" by RL Stevenson and though I'm sure it's very familiar to most people, I'm going to quote it here 'cos it really describes how I felt standing on top of the old Iron Age Rings looking out across the South Hams....

"When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane. "

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