Butterfly Bush

There is a sort of wilderness outside and beneath our flat. It is a building site really, and we often hear a JCB winding its slow, heavy way down the slight hill and then round and through its undergrowth. I hated it at first. It was so ugly, so unkempt, but I’ve grown used to it and almost enjoy its wildness now. For it is wild. Ragworts and buddleia have grown in a profusion and there are some marvellous trees. The estates cats roam it pretending it is a forest. One of the Kray twins was out yesterday afternoon, I saw it from my bedroom window just about to creep into a clump of long grass. It was on high alert, its tail and sleek, spotted body razor-sharp with intense concentration. It looked like a leopard, or the tiger in Rousseau’s jungle painting. They’re worth a lot of money, he said of her two cats, she has them tagged. We pass this wilderness along the path to the car and yesterday the buddleia (he always struggles to remember the name, the butterfly bush, he called it yesterday) had a sprinkling of butterflies on it. I saw a Red Admiral and several Painted Ladies. There must’ve been about twenty in all, not that many, I own but an improvement on the few Cabbage Whites we usually see. Butterflies make me feel well. Soulful creatures – they fill the air with their grace.

Still not allowed coffee, how I want one. I miss the smell, the routine of preparing it. I roasted some flaked almonds last night to go on top of a salad. The smell, though subtle is divine. It lingers, like the mist this morning hanging high over the town. It will have to do. I catch it each time I go upstairs.