So, this evening I'm coming down with a sore throat! This virus we've both had is a total joke!
We're in Walton-on-Thames at the charming Riverhouse Barn theatre watching the lovely Kate doing her thing at an evening of swing music. It's been beautifully put together. All three performers are incredibly strong. Kate is amazing. Funny. Classy. A brilliant singer. I'm having a lovely time.
I've been trying to avoid people this evening as I'm finding loud noises very difficult to cope with, having spent much of the last seven days in total isolation. In a bar environment, there's a tendency for everyone to shout at each other, and that can be hugely bewildering if you're caught in the cross fire. I reminded myself of my Grannie after she'd gone deaf, sitting in the corner of a bar, looking a bit confused.
My feet have turned into trotters. My ankles still look like pillows - particularly by the end of the evening when I've been standing on my feet for a while. I can feel them swelling like a little old lady and am having to raise them up as often as I can! It's terribly undignified.
The whole day has been spent researching the Nene. I bought an online book which is introducing me to the myths and legends of Northamptonshire. I have ordered a similar one about Cambridgeshire. The Nene feels like quite a dark, mystical river, and although there needs to be a good dollop of joy, light and high energy in the music I write, I do feel I need to reflect what I actually experienced. I've been reading up on the "will-o'-the-wisp" phenomenon - the inexplicable appearance of strange, dancing firelights - which is a huge part of Fenland culture. These days, the occurrence is attributed to methane gases inherent in marshlands. Back in the 17th Century, people believed the sparks of light were creatures from the underworld attempting to lure unsuspecting travellers to their deaths.
I suspect the "peasant" poet John Clare will provide me with a rich seam of inspiring poetry. He was born just outside Peterborough and spent many years in an asylum on the banks of the Nene in Northampton.