Susan Cooper.... More From ‘Emergence’…..

by Bernie Bell - 08:05 on 31 January 2023

Susan Cooper....

It’s quite some time since I’ve come across a writer who is new to me who is as good as Susan Cooper. She doesn’t just write about exciting events – she writes in a way which carries you along with what’s happening.  ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’ is perfect for me at the moment – I’m unwell, stuck inside – the book took me…outside – to Cornwall - onto headlands and beaches in the open air.

Towards the end of the book I wanted to get on and finish it to find out what happens – but at the same time, didn’t want to finish it because then….it would be finished.  I consoled myself with the knowledge that there are four more volumes to follow.  I wanted to start on ‘The Dark Is Rising’ straight away but if I read too much my eyes get tired. So, I’m rationing myself.  It’s all too easy to think – ‘Just the next chapter’ but I won’t do that as then I’ll have finished them all and be hunting for reading material again.

Andrew Appleby tells me that he’s finished writing ‘Skara 5’, but it needs to be illustrated, professionally edited, book cover designed etc. etc, and he says not to expect it to be available for about a year!  I read ‘Skara 4’ too quickly too….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2020/08/02/skara-the-fourth-wave/

I’ll just have to practice a little self-control.

A final word re. ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’.   In the early 70’s I studied at St. David’s University College, Lampeter, Wales and then lived near Aberystwyth where I was told about a nearby mansion called Nanteos, where the Cwpan Nanteos used to be housed……  https://www.nanteoshistory.co.uk/index.asp?pageid=175941

And, in Welsh….  https://artsandculture.google.com/story/gAVxJhkb_RqZLw?hl=cy

Seeing images of this modest wooden ‘Grail’ - held together by staples - my mind went to the bowl which was discovered in the Well at The Cairns dig, South Ronaldsay…..


At the end of ‘Over Sea, Under Stone’ -  a glancing refence to Merlin reminded me of this…


I’m just ramblin’ on….

I did an odd thing – I got ‘The Dark Is Rising’ from the bookshelf, and on the front is a ‘sticker’  saying it’s a 50th anniversary edition.  I thought ’Blimey – Susan Cooper must be really old.’  Then I realised - 50 years ago was 1973, when I was 18.  I haven’t adapted to time passing.  Every now and then something  pulls me up and I have to face it – my generation are not young any more!

This might be a good point at which to introduce Susan Cooper.  I didn’t know anything about her, so I ‘Googled’ and here she is…. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Cooper

She has now been added to the list of writers that I admire.  She does it well – very well indeed - weaving tales of the Old Ways.  And there’s a link – Mr Mac’s book, which I refer to in this piece…. https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/08/09/living-mountain-living/ .  A different kind of Old Ways, but the two often connect up – Simon running down the Holloway to escape.

I likes Holloways. I remember walking one near Lampeter. I wouldn’t be able to find it now – it’s nearly 50 years ago. I remember though that there was a light in it, and an air in it, like no-where else.

I’ll start ‘The Dark Is Rising’ by reading his introduction……here I go…..


More from Mr. Mac.  I've just seen this... https://twitter.com/RobGMacfarlane/status/1620147156622659584?cxt=HHwWgMDSpanQ9fssAAAA

And - look at that lobster!  I thought it wasn't real, but Mr. Marine Biologist Mike tells me it is. Oh - and it makes me wonder.


More From ‘Emergence’…..

This one has recipes…..

Praise Song for the Kitchen Ghosts

by Crystal Wilkinson

“Remembering her grandmother’s jam cake, biscuits, and sweet black tea, Crystal Wilkinson evokes a legacy of joy, love, and plenty in the culinary traditions of Black Appalachia.”



Here’s one I made earlier….  https://theorkneynews.scot/2019/08/08/babe-a-tale-for-our-time/



Comment from Annie G at 08:48 on 31 January 2023.
Lovely ramble Bernie, hope you’re feeling cozy as the days lengthen x
Comment from Bernie Bell at 09:03 on 31 January 2023.
The hail is blatting on the window - but yes, we're cosy.
Comment from Sarah at 21:34 on 13 February 2023.
Did you catch the splendid adaptation of 'The dark is rising' at Christmas? It's on BBC sounds...adapted by Rob McFarlane. That's how i came across Susan Cooper recently for the first time.
Comment from Bernie Bell at 08:03 on 14 February 2023.
Hello Sarah

No, I didn’t listen to the radio adaptation. I take things in beter through my eyes than my ears - except for music! I don’t know if it’s me getting old or just being me, but I don’t tend to sit and listen to talking on the radio. Reading suits me better - I can sit and read, when I can. And I am doing so – nearly finished the last volume, then what will I do with myself?

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