The premise is that you believe what the man on the phone promises, even though you know that the printed information says something different. So no -- the promised PowerBook didn't arrive yesterday, although the man on the phone said it would. The printed confirmation stated the 15th, and this is almost certainly closer to being accurate. The shipping email said it had been sent on the 5th, and one does wonder how long it takes to get a box to Scotland from Ireland...  However, it's not here and the payment has not been deducted from my bank account, although I do have a receipt.


Never mind. In the meantime I managed to lock myself out of all the accounts on my pc for complicated reasons which I will spare you. I blame the Radio 4 programme Hacked to Pieces, which was unnerving and caused me to password-protect all folders, as well as change all my passwords.

Ah well. Nothing gold can stay. HappenStance new publications (and even the flyers) remain in a state of arrested development, but other processes continue. Publications have been dutifully posted out. The submissions box is being worked gradually through.

And I finally finished reading Don King's Hunting the Unicorn, a critical biography of Ruth Pitter. For any Pitterophile (and I am one) it is a marvellous source of information and anecdote -- all sorts of things in it that you won't have read anywhere else before. It is my privilege to review it for The Dark Horse, Gerry Cambridge's superb Scottish-American poetry magazine.

King quotes from a number of Pitter's essays and radio broadcasts.  Here is a lovely piece from a radio broadcast titled Glory Is Real. Pitter had a vivid sense of the numinous in life, from her very early childhood onwards:

"I had dreams of glory. The whole meaning of life was, and is, glory: an incomprehensible, but inevitable, supreme good. I had glimpses of it everywhere."

But one of the wonderful things about Ruth Pitter was (and is) her ability to root the spiritual in the everyday. She must be one of the very few mystics with a sense of humour. She goes on to describe the glory not of the nature but of their uncle's new car:

"This was magic. There could be no other name for it . . . . Glory was real. There was its angelic messenger, the motor-car. Hushed and transfigured, we three children climbed slowly into the heavenly chariot, sat down, already half etherealized, on the red leather, and were whirled away in a trance of wonder and delight."

Isn't that lovely? The prelapsarian automobile . . . .

The photograph, reproduced in its rather woeful state, without permission, shows my 'other half', Matt McGregor, in his youth - working on a car, when a 'car' was something more than the first syllable of 'carbon footprint'.


Serious business
Serious business