Well there was no typhoon today, only grey clouds and a mild temperature. In fact it has been the first day of the year warm enough for me to work in the upper room and not bother with a fire in the kitchen. Tara stayed out all last night and has been asleep much of the day recuperating. I really love the upper room with all its old oak beams and prefer to work there whenever possible. It looks better now that I have redone the lime on the chimney breast. I've also reorganised the furniture to give a more open feel to the room. It is a good idea to change things around every so often - one finds all sorts of things, clears out dirt from hidden corners and has the opportunity to check for damage and repair or replace things. This room is built in the really old style. Between me and the sky there is only the layer of tile - nothing more. In fact, in summer when it gets really hot one can just take a few tiles out to let the heat escape. At this time of year it is mostly too cold due to the total lack of insulation - one might as well be outside except that it does protect one from wind. It is a bit like being in a large tent. The old oak beams are beautiful and all held together with pegs. One of the supporting beams is slightly broken and long ago I asked a local if it would collapse. "Oh, yes," he said. "When?" I asked, "How long have we got?" "Oh, probably a hundred years or so." Oak is very strong and the core they call iron wood, so a fracture on the surface does not necessarily imply any imminent trouble.
I'm working on the manuscript of a possible new book based on my series "Questions in the Sand". There are now quite a lot of questions and answers now, so Kaspa has suggested that we organise them into a volume that will be a resource for people practising the Amida Shu approach. It is slow work but interesting going back through so many points. My other manuscript on the Dogen text Genjokoan is currently being considered by a publisher - so fingers crossed. My normal pattern is to write in the mornings and do something practical in the afternoon, but this week I am giving the writing more priority. Sometimes one needs to do writing all in a whoosh or you lose the thread.