Norman Nicholson, love, music and geology

Black Combe with sunshine and cloud
It's been a brutal week, and I've driven more than 500 miles for events connected with Norman Nicholson's Centenary - another interview for a BBC documentary, library talks (including one where nobody braved the torrential rain to listen!), workshops and finally, yesterday, a day in Millom with the Norman Nicholson Society discussing Norman's early love affair with a Russian Jewish emigree in the sanatorium - mostly conducted by letter from their respective beds.

Norman at 19, his father Joe, and ?Sylvia Lubelsky

Norman was fascinated by, and very knowledgeable about, Geology and his poetry is littered with references to the bedrock we all stand on and take very much for granted. Professor Brian Whalley took us on a walk round the streets of Millom to look at some of the oldest rocks on earth, embedded in the stone walls around the town.

Amazing what we walk past and never look at.  There's Skiddaw Slate, several different kinds of sandstone, volcanic granite and limestone, from the ancient to relatively modern (2 or 3 hundred million years anyway!)  in one wall alone, arranged in a style that's unique to this area.

And in some of them you can see the waves of those ancient seas still etched in the stone.

The sun shone and there were lovely views of the fells.  The day ended with the first performance of a newly commissioned piece of music, composed by award-winning young composer Harry Whalley - a setting for strings of Norman's poem 'Seven Rocks'.   St George's Church, with its memorial stained glass window, had the perfect acoustic for the Gildas Trio who came up from Manchester for the performance. Unforgettable!

The Gildas Trio - part of the Gildas Quartet

Norman Nicholson's Memorial Window by Christine Boyce
This morning I'm about to get on a train for Bristol and Weston-super-Mare.  Another suitcase, another train .......


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