I woke from my dream realising that I hadn’t managed to photograph the horses. They weren’t real horses but sculptures of them made from wicker. They’d been placed on top of hill and I’d kept intending to slip out and take an image of them but the house I was living in was busy so that I was distracted. People kept coming in and out, visitors from foreign lands mostly. Just before waking I’d been saying goodbye to them. I think they were on a large ship and somehow I’d gone aboard the ship even though they’d set sail to bid them a proper adieu. I hugged and kissed each one, though I didn’t know them that well, but none of them seemed to appreciate it or indeed, welcome my intimacy. Most were scowling as they huddled together. I continued to be as warm towards them as I could be despite the chill coming from them. I woke disconcerted however, and a gloomy bleakness overtook me.

I try to manage these winter blues, if that is what they are. I don’t hide from them or try to smother them. I walk with them, investigate them, shine a light on them, anything to find a strategy of living with them and managing them. They assail me. They weigh me down, my feet feel leaden, but worse they take the fire out of my courage, my willingness to take on challenges by kindling my innate desire to hide, to hunker down and just exist. Will they pass? It is still so so black outside. And today I must face the clumsy beginnings of my idea for the project, and worse, worst of all begin to engage with the ACWs guidelines. Such language represents the worst kind of authority for me, rigid, uncompromising and often unkind. I take my tender ideas to them knowing that they may be crushed, stamped on, made ridiculous but do it I must. And bravely. How I long to run, to escape. I could. But I won’t.

I sat in the cafe alone, even the owners were elsewhere. No radio, no sound. It felt calm. Soon she came, walking fast, open and friendly. Tea with soya milk. It was cold, and I was glad for my wrap. I chatted to her, feeling duty bound though I wanted to begin work. She is sweet and was distressed by the violent attack in the town, her town, on Saturday night. He was just left for dead, she said, who would do that? We talked about cleaning windows and the efficacy of vinegar and newspaper. My Mum used to do that, she said. Customers dribbled in. Two loud women sat in the booth next to me and talked about upholstery and overeating at Christmas. I couldn’t get into my trousers, said one. I worked steadily trying to push through my inner judgement. He said he was proud of what I’d done. Then work and the taciturn young singer. Then the carpenter. A nice lad, a climber.

I survived the day. The returning after the holidays. It is enough. Now it is time to make some sense of what I wrote. But coffee first.