Dolphins & Dolls Houses


He is captivated. There are hundreds of them, he says, as we sit staring at the sea. They revolve up and round, rising up then diving down into the water. It is an elegant, graceful slow arc. It always lifts us seeing the dolphins. They do not need to show themselves to us but they do. Mermen and mermaids of the sea. Bringers of grace.

A radio feature on dolls houses. The children are in control, says the presenter. It is their little world. It is real but small, says a little girl. Yes, I remember. The making of the real in miniature. Holding the tiny, the delicate and the impossibly small. The scale is 1:12. We only make the equivalent of ten quid and hour but we love it, says a man at a trade show. There are courses that show you how to make tiny ceramic versions of cakes. It is the intensity, the concentrating down of detail. It is a world that one can manage, orchestrate, keep from the chaos of the big, the outsize.

A man in a woolly hat smiles at me.

The rain is heavy. Gum boots and waterproofs and my old rackety umbrella. The early morning air is warm. Students wander about, coatless, in a different reality to me. There is a man in a banana suit. He is with his friend. They are running. Come on, man, he shouts, encouraging him to run faster. I can’t, says his friend, bending over and wheezing. He is carrying a pizza box. Sam’s Fried Chicken is busy. The ceiling lights are white yellow and glaring against the black air. Their customers sit at Formica tables, in t-shirts and vests. Their voices are loud. It is still not 5.00 am.

We have begun watching Citizen Kane. I’ve never seen it. I love black and white movies. I love the stuttering, halted-ness of the camerawork. I love the old-fashioned language, idioms and timbre of the voices. It is clearly a ground-breaking work, even from the little we’ve seen. I think of a Taiwan-ese girl. Everyone calls me Angel, she said, they can’t pronounce my real name. She was taking a film module to improve her English. What is a rosebud? she asked me. She didn’t understand why I had to leave.

If I accept the rain it is beautiful.

I do wander around hoping something funny will happen ‘cos that’s all I’ve got, said John Bishop on Desert Island Discs.

What’s her face was in again yesterday, he said, and she ‘ad a tea cosy on ‘er ‘ed.

I stood on a snail. It was dark, I didn’t see it. I hear the crunch. It makes me sad to take life.

Yesterday a man was set free after thirteen years in captivity. I am glad.