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Outside the window of my study where I'm writing this, the berries on the rowans are glowing orangy-red, even in the rain. Yesterday, I picked (and ate) a handful of blackberries (brambles in Scotland). Autumn is here.

When I was somewhere around twenty, I remember having a discussion with an artist friend, someone much older than me - he was in his early sixties then. We were talking about seasons and I spoke about Autumn, my favourite season, how I loved the colours and the feeling in the air. He said that when I was older I would come to prefer the Spring.

I still love Autumn very dearly. But he was right. The drawing in of the light saddens me more now, and though I admire the richness -- the lavish dispensation of fruit and brilliant colour -- I am more aware that it's a long time till Spring. There are people who won't see another. At some point I'll be one of them.

Right, that's a great way to start a Sunday morning! I was working on the poet William Soutar yesterday and that's perhaps what caused it. That man spent fourteen years in one room. I have a whole world of rooms to go at, and legs that twinkle still.  As usual, I've more work to do than I could tackle in a month of Sundays, but it is lovely work. That's what John Masefield said, 'What is art but delightful work?' Marvellous man, Masefield.

By the end of this turning-Autumnal August, three pamphlets should be done, and a fourth on the way. I've been type-setting a fascinating unpublished conversation between Thomas McKean and Ruth Pitter. It's rather long for a pamphlet but I think it will manage to squeeze itself between covers. She was such a lovely person.

When people ask about influences, I can never think whom to mention because I've loved so much poetry in my life. But Ruth Pitter was and continues to be an Influence for me. The inconsistency between her comic side and serious side, for example, is something I wholly share. Interestingly, Soutar (with his wayward whigmaleeries, riddles and bairn-rhymes on the one side and his love lyrics and sad reflections on the other) is party to the same division.

Huge amounts of Sphinx wait my attention too, and letters. Better get on. By next weekend, I'll need to be working on a subscriber mailshot, with news of the new publications and hopefully samples of the PoemCards, though they haven't gone to the printer yet.

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Friday, 09 December 2022