Friday, 29 April 2016
I was in Bristol for the first half of the week, and Tuesday was a day of rapidly changing extremes of weather. It is April, after all. From a favourite vantage point on Clifton Downs you could see hailstorms passing over both ends of the gorge, and yet the air was also clear enough to see the cranes at Avonmouth four miles away and the Welsh mountains beyond the Bristol Channel.
Later, I was wandering around on a park-on-a-hill near the university known as Brandon Steep, when a thunderstorm broke out overhead with yet more hail, so I abandoned a plan to climb the Cabot Tower as foolhardy and retreated instead into the City Museum, where I came across this wonderfully strange thing:
It put me in mind of the "expensive, delicate ship" in Auden's poem "Musée des Beaux Arts", and I automatically looked up, half-hoping to see a boy falling out of the sky, but saw this instead:
Oh well, another day, perhaps. You have to work with what you've got. Boys don't fall out of the sky every day, even when the weather is as mixed-up as this. And it's easy to forget what a privilege it is to be out and about just feeling the afternoon weather in your face, when so many other honest citizens of my age are still bent over a desk under fluorescent lighting, or some other form of wage-slavery, longing for the long bank holiday weekend.