In August, I moved. I moved to an apartment with a view; described by one local amateur thespian as ‘Not a location, but a destination, darling!’ I didn’t just arrive here, I was absorbed. My default detachment setting was over-ridden. The neighbourhood took me in, gave me flowers, wine (lots of wine, it’s Wivenhoe), conversation and a sense of community.
Four months later, I remain centre stage at a waterside theatre; the winter stalls filled by fishing boats, cyclists, walkers, runners, dogs and their humans. This week, I exchanged Christmas gifts with neighbours and so discovered my new name. NextDoor is where I am (even if they live in the next street).
Out at daybreak on Tuesday to photograph cobwebs in the freezing mist, I literally bumped into a professional photographer doing the same. He gave me his card and we both turned to go in opposite directions, disappearing into the fog to go our separate ways along the river. It was a great way to start the day before my final lectures of the year.
Tymperleys was originally a fifteenth-century building, here in Colchester, Essex. At one stage, it was the home to William Gilberd, who became the physician to Queen Elizabeth I and who was a pioneer of research into magnetism. Although he died in London, he was buried across the road at Holy Trinity Church, Colchester in 1603. Now, just off Trinity Street in Colchester, Tymperleys is an oasis of calm in the town centre.
Taken on my sunset walk along the River Colne tonight, in the freezing fog, looking across to Rowhedge and their Christmas decorations. Every season, and each change of the weather, has its own beauty. The fog muffles sound and alters light, bringing quiet and calm, slowing life down.
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
Raymond Carver, A New Path to the Waterfall, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1989.
Welcoming Advent on my morning walk along the quayside at Wivenhoe, before starting another day working from home.