Poppies

I’m on my way back home from my walk. I’ve just passed Tesco Express and Sophie’s CafĂ© and I’m just about to pass the insurance company that at Christmas time has such an elegant and restrained Christmas tree in the window when I hear a voice. A disembodied voice. Well, it’s more of a growl. My hackles rise in my back. An angry voice. I see his feet first. They are pushed up against a door jamb. Then I see the rest of him, his body concertinaed into the entrance to a house. If anyone pisses on me, he is shouting, I’ll fucking smack ’em.

He tells me later when we are driving back home with the shopping that it’s a common occurrence, no doubt considered a ‘jolly jape’, to piss on the homeless as they sleep in doorways.

I chose to return home along Llanbadarn Road so that I could see the poppies. They are giants. Gorgeous red blooms with those impossibly fragile, papery petals. They won’t last. A day maybe, but they are stunning while they do and the seed pods the petals leave behind are equally magnificent.

The sky is blue as I walk home. A special time where morning is breaking. I want to make him happy. No, keep him happy. For he is happy already. He talks of living maybe another five years. If that is to be so, so be it. Let me. No help me to make them good for him.

A lovely day yesterday. An elegant day. The sun shone and I walk on light feet, my back less tense than it has been for days. And to sit amongst such good friends was such a delight.

Our neighbour below was cooking bacon as I went out at 2.30 am. I like to hear him clattering about in his kitchen. I am fond of him, he was, is, kind. A bright man who assumes a kind of paternalistic pose with me that is not unpleasant. Far from it. His mother, now a hundred years old, think of that, who is nearly blind and pretty much completely deaf still strides out each day into town with some dapper Donny Osmond-esque cap on her head. We sometimes get their post. Yesterday it was a CD with ‘Articles for the Blind’ written on the cover. It was a collection of James Herriot’s stories. Other people’s post. Other people’s lives. Does she choose the titles or are they sent randomly? An equally bright woman, she is tremendously stoic. She comments on our geraniums. They give her pleasure she says when she sees them on opening her front door – though they are a blur.

I didn’t get to write this yesterday and there are quotes I’ve written down which I feel duty bound to include. Such as from Anne Frank’s diary read out on Radio 4 Extra where she writes visitors of from the ‘outside’ and of smelling ‘the wind on their clothes’. Beautiful. I know that smell. And how she wanted ‘to go on living when I am dead’ through her writing. And another but I can’t remember if it was from Dickens and his Mystery of Edwin Drood or Frank – ‘there is said to be a hidden skeleton in every house’. Then, and this is definitely Dickens – ‘As a particularly angular man’. And then his sumptuous list of characters’ Christian  and surnames – joyous, Charles, just joyous – did you chuckle to yourself as you thought them up? Names like Twinkleton, Honeythunder, Christingle and Rosa Budd.

And I also want to record the pleasure I get from listening to the salon babble while getting my hair trimmed. Gloriously inconsequential. AND YET NOT. She spoke of trips to Aberdovey and Dublin and of crying over Emmerdale and the light relief of Love Island but she also talked of her relationship with her recently widowed father. Her struggles to fills the silence, his anger when she is late for tea (‘you were late so started without you’), which work sometimes makes her. And the day he just turned up at work to see her and yet had nothing to say. I like her. She is such a girl/woman with her buoffed-up hair and large teeth. But a kind one, I think.

What a rich life. And the sun is out. The clouds bubble up but for now the sun is out.