Category Archives: Writings

Body Suit

I wore my new coat. He’d bought it for me because I think he’d grown a bit tired of me getting his coat so wet, though he did offer it. That’s him all over, generous to a fault, though sometimes regretting it. I wore it. It took me a bit of time. I struggle with the new. I get used to things. It felt odd. It is very long and is fully, so it says, rain proof. I look like I am about to ride a horse across a prairie. It makes a shushing sound as I walk. It is marvellous and little ridiculous. I feel lost in it, anonymous. Nice body suit, a student called out to me as I passed between him and his mate talking on the Prom. Body suit? I wanted to say, it’s a coat. I saved it up for him, anyway, knowing it would make him laugh. Body suit? he called out to me from the shower, body suit?

It’s all change. New coat and new boots. My old ones developed a hole but I’d grown into them. I had them just right. These are stiff and unyielding. I walk like I’ve got wooden planks in my trousers. Ah, me. Old age. Gone is the fluidity. Will it ever return? My bodies are going too. My underwear that is. They will have to be replaced. It’s important to feel pristine close to the skin. I love beautiful underwear don’t you? Silky, something that holds you tight, close. I mend and mend them but to no avail. Time to go, to be replaced. But what with?

We saw a fox. It was early. It ran across the road just before our headlights. A small fox. Beautiful. I catch my breath at the gorgeous wildness of it. The gift of it. Thank you.

I must have compassion. I do have compassion. There is always a reason. People don’t generally mean harm, they, we just do our best. I want to feel kindly towards him. I’ve a lot of time for him, he said. Yes, I know. Why wouldn’t you? I wasn’t finding fault. He’s going to. A new boss, a new broom. A woman this time, apparently. Beware, she told me, beware of big organisations, they are drains. Drains and radiators. What am I? See the goodness, always. Always. He thinks me a Pollyanna, a little fey perhaps. But it is for me, you see, not them. See no evil. And I don’t. Not now, not ever.

I was less than friendly to all those women of a certain age sitting around that table. I don’t know why. I tried to warm a little. It wasn’t what I was expecting, that’s all. But there was something to learn. Certainly. And the scissors were lovely to hold. A child’s paper scissors, she thought. For that I am grateful.

She is my joy. Pure. Her smile. She smiled at me. I felt chosen. I was chosen. I am chosen.

Fat Cat

Even though her voice is croaky she sounds so much brighter. She laughs as she tells me of the dogs and the cat who find their way to her door. Two dogs, cross-spaniels, Spot and Bobbo. I gave it that nickname, she says, cos it bobs up and down all the time. She is delighted with them. They wait for her in the porch and accompany her on her walks. They love having a ball thrown for them, she says. Are they from the farm? I ask. Yes, she says in that husky voice. The last one that used to visit and then eventually stayed, Bonnie, died. And these seem to have taken her place, migrating towards this kind, gentle women. The cat is a different matter. She stays in the shed, she says. There a basket and a pillow there for her and she just prefers it, she says. She has a lovely nature, she says, though she can scratch. She just suddenly turned on her. I know now, she says, to watch out when her ears go back. A lost cat, abandoned, not feral. A neighbour had seen her in a thorn hedge. Was it hers? We asked around, she says. I thought I’d give her a neighbours’ children, they’ve a little terrier who loves cats. But she can’t stand dogs. But now she’s got so fat, eating three pouches of Felix a day. She laughs. I hear her kindness, her attention to detail, her love of the land, the animals, her fragility, her protective love for her daughter. She shouldn’t really have gone into work yesterday, she says, the cold was still in her head.

I am glad she is in my life, a short chat every Friday. We’ve never met. We don’t need to. It’s been almost five years now. It’s part of my week. A connection. Something good, something innocent, something true.

Cross Words

We rarely exchange them but we do do them. Crosswords that is. It’s a gentle thing between us. I like the play with words. To play with words, to feel them on my tongue and in my head. Words come up that neither of us know the meaning of, or at least we think we do but are not certain. Picaresque was one from yesterday. A picaresque novel. Now, what’s that then? he say. I’ve just looked. It means an epic-style novel where the hero is a ‘rough dishonest type’. Well what-do-ya-know? And then I came up with pettifogger. What’s that then when it is at home. As my mother would’ve said. Google tells me it is a rather bad, tawdry lawyer who deals with petty cases. Petty presumably comes from ‘petit’. Lovely isn’t it. This kind of delving. Pantry did you know comes from the French for bread, pain.

A quiet morning. Few people were about. The three rough sleepers were tucked up under their duvets in the Prom shelter and a couple of strange girls wandered about, clearly unable to sleep. They have a wildness to their eyes. And I? I fretted as usual while trying to take in the firmament which was marvellous. Isn’t it? Two boys had lit a fire on South Beach and its smoke billowed. As did the cloth in the giant deckchair by the ‘ship’. It was a sail at sea.

Off to work soon. I am nervous. You just feel alienated – that’s all, he said. Yes. Spot on. How I love him for knowing. For knowing so much about me. And for wanting to. I am blessed.

Warren

The Prom sandpit has become a paddling pool. The two oversized deckchairs seem to be floating. There is sea debris and flotsam everywhere. It’s as if it has been hurled across the road. Pebbles, seaweed, shale and bits of wood. A raging sea. It has calmed down now. Will they clear up? Or are they expecting more of the same?

Four big-thighed girls are walking along Llanbadarn Road as I set out. They are returning home as I was leaving it. One of them is talking while the others listen. Warren said, she is saying, that he’d only had five shots of rum. So much for the newspapers purporting this week that young people are not drinking. Not so Warren, eh? The wind was up. It seems to the buffet the students roaming from club to pizza shop to halls. A neon signed flashes outside Pier Pressure – CLUB OPEN. Several revellers were spilling out, two large security men in high vis jackets look on. And music still pounds out. An A4 sign affixed to the window in both The Celtic Bay and The Cardigan Bay guest houses advise residents that they are ‘welcome to borrow the fishing nets, buckets and spades’. Further along the terrace the Marine Hotel is already advertising for Christmas Lunch. Through the window of the bar I can see several guests still drinking, the bar staff long gone. Has there been a wedding? Down by the harbour the lobster pots have been taken out of the water and piled high behind railings. There is that same warm, fetid smell of fishiness. The boats’ rigging jangles in the wind.

I’m trying to pay attention. To listen, to watch, to fox my mind, to bring it to a stillness. To now. This moment. To drink it in.

I worry you see. I worry too much. Have I done or said the wrong thing? What if I upset someone? What if it all dries up and there is nothing? What it? What if? Worry, worry. I want to trust. To let it go. I do my best. Always. I have my Sunday. Chores done. Some yoga, then work. My work. My gentle work. Preparing. Repetitive work. I need it. Next week there is joy to be had. Friends and love, holding her and being with him all day. You see it is enough. To know what he feels about me is enough. The rest is tripe. Mind-bullying tripe. Bah.

Adjectives

I hear things on the radio and try to recall them. It isn’t always possible. My mind has become sieve-like. I have metamorphosed into a constant note-writer. The other day it was a quote from Mark Twain. It was in a play, so whether it is truth or not, who knows? When you see and adjective, he was supposed to have said, kill it. It stuck with me as I wrote yesterday. Do I need that word? Or that? Yet another judge to sit on my shoulder. But I agree, less is more. It’s just a confidence thing. Does that say enough? What is enough?

I overslept. My alarm may have gone off, I don’t know. I didn’t hear it. Half an hour late. So I had to shave it off my walk. So regimented. I know, I know. A brisk jaunt. Missing out the gentle bits, though in this weather, with all that rain it would have been hardly gentle. It is still lashing now. And the Prom is littered with stones and shale. A student was throwing up in a shop doorway when I walked past, my umbrella aloft.

And no bakery smells.

Cleaned the house, did my emails and stuff. It takes so long. And now some yoga then work. A bientot. x

Beloved (2)

Sometimes I forget to mention things. I write little notes, scribbled scrawlings when I get back from my walk to remind me. I meant to mention Toni Morrison’s Beloved too. Hence the title for today and yesterday. Carried over because I forgot. They are broadcasting a reading of it on Radio 4 Extra while I make breakfast. I didn’t want to listen. They made a short announcement beforehand warning that there would be material about abusing women, hurting women. I didn’t want to listen. I know it is important to know, to let it be heard. But do I have to hear it? I know of it. I dream of it, I see it in my mind’s eye. Is it enough? So I turned it over. I turned it over to Radio 3. Lieder and big pants. Wailing women and marvellous motets. Who knows? I’m sorry for my lack of courage, my lack of bravery. But sometimes I just cannot.

The wind was getting up. The Angel’s pub sign was pulling at its chain. I’ve never seen that before, a pub sign chained to a wall. It yanked and tugged, like a wild animal trying to break free from it tether. There was coarse sand on the Prom. No students this morning. No students climbing the fence into the sandpit and sitting on the giant deckchairs swinging their legs. I smelt charred wood in the wind. Someone had lit a beach fire the night before. It was still smouldering. A black smell, a warm smell, smoky. A lad crossed the street ahead of me. A tiny bit of lit ash flew towards me, still alight, a yellow-orange firefly. Then it was gone. He walked on the balls of his feet. I watched him. His heels never touched the ground. It was a bouncy, rolling sort of gait.

I want to let it go. The work is drying-up. No one calls. Can I find something else? Can I write instead? Can I use my talents? Work from home? See I am pro-active, sending out suggestions. A yes, today. That is good. And two more suggestions sent. All is change. Go with it. Let it in. Don’t fight it. All will be well. All is well. To work.

Beloved

I walked with music in my ears this morning. I like it but I miss things. I am one step removed. I don’t hear the students’ chatter. There is a wall of glass between us. I thought it might help, fox my mind a little. It didn’t, not really. I had on shuffle. Kate Bush came on twice. Breathing. My Beloved. Her mother’s nicotine.

I irked him. We didn’t talk, just texted. I felt his rancour. Has it been resolved? Possibly. He probably won’t pass any on anymore, will I mind? No. He is a nice man. I am just prickly. There is so little to go around. I’m sure that he feels the same way about me. My shoulders carry my dis-ease. Like pins, like knives.

I found some more money. A ten pound note this time. I was sorry for the person who dropped it. What should I do? Keep it. A boon, a prize, a gift. I feel looked after, looked-out for.

She replied. It is going to happen. I will see her, and her. My loves. My beloved.

Calling

It was so long ago and yet hearing her voice made it just yesterday. Just yesterday when I was living with them and all their children. I couldn’t remember all their names. It was good to hear her voice. I always loved her gentleness. I cannot recall her ever shouting or raising her voice. So steady. So balanced. She just got on with it. All those endless meals, one ending and another being laid ready. All that sewing, mending and cooking. A quiet voice. An understated voice. What did she make of my mother? I’d like to see her, to see them. He’d only been given two days to live, she said. Imagine that? What resilience, I said. What determination. What a determination to continue. Was it fear of losing her? Of death?

It’s going to be a sunny day, today, he said by way of consolation. I am all agitated. I cannot say why. My body is fighting, jarring, every edge, every corner jagged. So be it. Let it be. My hips are tight, no movement, no going forward. Let it be. Let it all be. Pain is a great teacher. I get to know my body. What am I fighting?

Life?

Thistledown

It’s black as pitch out there and it’s past 7.00am. A crow caws. All else is still. We’ve breakfasted and I’ve done my admin. He’s gone back to bed and I sit here in my studio warmed by the yellow light of my angle poise and listening to the aching groans of my little halogen fire as it grows cold. Why is it that the dark makes me feel so bleak? There is nothing to be frightened of today. Not today. I finished the two reviews yesterday and she was pleased with them. Great as ever, she said. It is enough. I am satisfied. Today I shall sew. I’ve much to do. And I can relax, breathe, letting my hands take over. I’ve to go to work in between naturally. But that’s OK the money has to come from somewhere.

I got a text. A possibility, like the found fiver. Not to be. Not available. And it is so far. Would it be worth it just for a showing off and dressing up? And he would have to sit and sit. He does so much of that, bless him.

I caught the tail end of piece of drama on the radio yesterday as I made lunch. John Mcgahern’s Parachutes. A lovely piece. And from what I understand it’s about a man who has broken up with his girlfriend and he tags along on a sort of pub crawl with two friends. His thoughts invade their chatter. At one point he begins to notice tiny bits of thistledown floating into the Dublin pub. He calls them parachutes. I love the focussing in on such a little thing. He can’t understand where they are coming from. A tip? Is there a tip nearby? he or one of his friends ask. Something like hope or at least serendipity is being carried in on those seeds. Won’t everything be alright, in the end?

I’ve much to listen to, much to catch up, not least The Archers. A gentle day. I send out a wish. Just let it be, eh?

Coconut Generosity

I shouldn’t really eat it, though I love it. It doesn’t sit well in my stomach or my gut. So I buy body creams that smell of it instead. I follow it’s perfume. I love its texture. Those carts on the Balcon de Europa selling it in wedges, with the trickles of water keeping it fresh. I don’t mind its milk in cooking but the taste of it raw is rather strange. Why is it that some foods agree with us and others don’t? Is it all psychosomatic?

I found a fiver. It was there amongst some litter by the Bar at the end of the Prom. Was it real? Should I pick it up? Should I take it?

I am edgy today. It’s my writing and the fears that overwhelm me at times. And the edginess makes me indecisive. Should I give it to the three homeless bodies sleeping top and tail in the Prom shelter? Should I give it to him? Should I put in the bucket for the Indonesia tsunami victims? In the end I put two pounds in the tub. And he bought a packet of Quality Street for the food bank. One pound for me. In my purse. Some spending money. A gift. Something to hold. He is more generous than me. Money is a flow with him. It comes and it goes. My relationship with it is more tricky. There is no flow, much constriction. But I recognise and acknowledge the abundance when it comes in. And it does.

We talked of her church. It is a large building and very cold. She has taken to attending a smaller one, but she worries what her former community may think of her. How old is she? I am always adjusting her age in my head. It doesn’t matter. She feels the cold. As do I.

She reminded me of the beastly child in Rev. She had the same cute blondeness though her hair was pulled back rather messily by a headband. She didn’t respond to my questions. She is ‘independent’ was clearly a euphemism for what? Rude? Can a young child be rude? She is wilful, knows her own mind. It felt like disdain. She didn’t engage with me and so I didn’t with her. I babysat from a distance. She talked to herself, her little wooden horse and the bits and bobs he’d pulled out of her pink rucksack that looked like they’d come from a dolls house. I was offended because I’d been brought up to behave differently. She wasn’t me and vice versa. It’s OK. Quite restful actually. She was safe. That was the main thing.

Someone had printed out the sentencing tariff for the possession of child pornography. It was chilling. And not so long ago he was in there, in front of the camera. I still feel compassion for him. How can I not? Surely it is a compunction beyond his rational mind? There must be forgiveness.

He writes to complain about marriage.

I’m sorry I say. Mine is a joy. And it is.