Walter

I’m not good with spontaneity. I’m not good with the unexpected. I rise to it. I’m a stalwart. But I’d rather know what is coming, so that I can plan and be ready. And yet I have a job that is all about the moment, responding to the now. The boys are out. They are safe and the media is in a flurry even here in the sticks. He is┬áthe top man, a spokesman and they all want a part of him. For now. It will die down, it always does. It was TV last night. He was nervous, his voice breaking a little. Understandable, it isn’t easy talking down the line to a faceless camera in a noisy office. I tried to wish him calm. I’m here, I wanted to say, you are not alone. And then the threat of another late one. Newsnight. My heart sinking. What of my sleep? And then relief, they’d booked my colleague. I would’ve done it. I’m a stalwart.

I want to write today. Not for anybody but myself. I saw the show. It surprised me. I thought I knew his work. I didn’t. I don’t know what to say, not yet. It will come. He said hello. I don’t know whether he remembers my name or not, it doesn’t matter. He knows me. And that felt good. I was making sketches of the work and he led me into the other gallery to talk about the ceramic show. Even lifting up a tiny porcelain pot for me to hold. I love porcelain, he says, I love it’s unevenness. I didn’t have long, but didn’t want to be rude. And I was pleased to be noticed. He followed me back into the other gallery and we talked about his work. He left me only to come back again with a signed book. You get it, he said, it’s because you get it. We discussed collectors. They’re all getting old, he said. The young don’t buy. They don’t have the money. Yes, I said. He told me of a tea set he had and some cups by Walter Keeler. The tea set was expensive. I asked if he used it. For special occasions or on a Sunday, he said. It depends on what I’m drinking, he said. If it’s herb tea it’s always a Walter. He waved when I went. It felt good. I felt good. Happy. Yesterday was a happy day.