Friday, 15 June 2007

A summer day in Suffolk

Saturday was the day of Roger Deakin’s memorial at his house in Suffolk. ‘Memorial’ seems the only appropriate word – it was a day of remembrance, the day itself seeming to stand as a testament to someone who loved the place where we were all gathered. It was one of those days one wishes for, sunny, but not too hot, with cloud interruptions and a breeze. Crossing into Suffolk from Cambridgeshire twice signalled that we were moving into a special, removed space and time. We walked through the long grass, oxslips and buttercups in the fields around the house searching for the elusive wood which Roger planted. Before too many guests arrived, we had a swim in the moat. It was shorter than I had imagined, but wider, with a warm top layer which, when disturbed, gave way to greeny cold. Our temperature gauge was the Granta the day before – the moat was warmer, fractionally.

It’s a strange thing going to such an event in honour of someone you never met. By the end of the hour and a half of songs, poems and recollections, we felt we knew Roger Deakin better, and felt all the sadder at his absence. One could only hope for such a good friend, and friends to remember us.

Terence Blacker ended the event with a rendition of ‘The Swimming Song’ on the banjo – almost eerily appropriate considering my discovery of the song only a few days before, and also because it’s one of Jordan’s favourite songs.

When we had a few moments’ silence, the birds kept on singing and singing all around the big striped circus tent where we sat. When filled with singing, every moment is marked and unique - the music makes each point in time truly exist.