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Writings

Penny Whistle

When it’s sunny and there isn’t time to ‘go and sit out’, I stand up on the window seat in our kitchen upstairs and stick my head out of the skylight. I love seeing the world, our small world, from the rooftops. I can see far off into the distance and I can hear human sounds from the quad down below. Last night someone was playing a penny whistle (or was it a flute). It sounded so light and cheerful and happy. It stills me – the sun on my face, that expanse and those gentle sounds of living.

Lucky: they call my sister lucky, was another one of the half-asleep, half-awake sentences that came into my head this morning. They make him laugh. I even see the punctuation, I tell him. There was definitely a colon.

I was slow this morning, and didn’t manage to do my whole walk. I did make it to the harbour nevertheless, in time to see the fishing boat out at sea, its lights blaring like a flame.

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Writings

Holiday & Tea

I dreamt that my father, now sometime dead, wanted to take us all, the whole family, including my mother (who is also a long time dead) from whom he’d divorced long ago, on a holiday. The whole caboodle and for a month. Unheard of, but he was delighted at his largesse. One of my sisters who I saw at the hairdressers was planning to have all her teeth re-arranged (or was it taken out and put back in again?) before the arrival of her next child. I see where the notions come from and even if rather implausible it warmed me.

He insists that I stop having my detox day. You lose a whole day, he says, meaning I feel like shit with headaches and such. And my mood sinks. Who would’ve thought a pot of tea a day could do so much? Heigh ho. Back to it. And my last interview today.

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Writings

Fried Egg Sandwich

He holds no truck (is hold the right verb) with dreams. I do. If I can’t make sense of them I like to see where the germs of them might have come. Last night, or possibly this morning, I dreamt I’d made a fried egg sandwich for Boris Johnson. It was in an envelope and I was dithering whether to give it to him or not. We were having a meeting about some government owned flats in an airport, not sure which one, that were being used and abused by civil servants, one of which had a girlfriend called Jordan. I was to make a performance piece about it. He took the sandwich and I watched him eat it. (He separated the slices of bread to see what was inside before he ate. It looked more like a cold egg sandwich then.) He didn’t thank me but took it as a matter of course that I would’ve considered his appetites. So where did it come from? Well the food represents my endless planning for his meals. And BJ? Well, we’d been discussing a crossword clue and the solution looked like ‘bumbling’. Need I say more?

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Writings

Death

He shares the same name as my love, though I don’t if the Queen ever shortened it to the three letter word that I use. No, I doubt it, though the satirical programmes will have it that he’d call her Liz. I am sorry. I cry because death and loss are moving, any death, even a great public one like his is. I bet they hate all this attention. The BBC has given over to it completely, no John Shea or Celeste this morning – just dirge after dirge after dirge. So be it. It is respectful, I suppose. But then I think of the man in the Oslo flat, found after 10 years dead. Had nobody missed him, noticed his demise? That too is sad, to be so utterly alone and friendless. May he rest in peace and he.

I’ve almost finished but I need to make it warmer, kinder somehow. You don’t have to like them, he says to me. No, I suppose not. But I want to be kind and respectful. I will do my best.

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Writings

To Phoebe

It was written in blue on the back of an envelope in large childish letters, To Phoebe. I saw the empty envelope lying on the pavement of Llanbadarn Road as I walked this morning. I also noticed a piece of paper pinned to a tree at the top of St David’s Road, I stopped to read it. Have you seen our cat? it read, next to a picture of a big, fluffy moggy. The house where the doctor who died used to live was lit up as I walked by. I could see his daughter in the dining room bending down over her baby possibly, her hair falling forward.

The two of us watched as one of the various cats that live around us here stealthily made its way across the wilderness between us and the National Library on the hill. She, we called it a she not knowing for certain, moved gingerly, her white fur stark against the mess of green and brown.

A line of gold balloons formed into letters read Happy Birthday on a living room wall of a student house that I passed on my way into town. The lights were on but the room was empty.

The shops of the town are getting ready for opening next week. Window displays are half-done, boxes lie around half-unpacked. There is a spirit of optimism. See you soon, one sign reads. May it last.

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Writings

Lifted

He said it lifted him working with me yesterday. Was that the phrase he used? It was something like it. He said it improved his walk. We don’t always work well together, he says it’s because we are so similar. I try to fight my corner too much – being too protective of my writing. He teaches me a lot though as we fight over commas. It is good. It is all good, as my sister would and does say.

They talked about gardens yesterday on the radio. All above my head but hearing Penelope Keith’s voice was nice. Some actors voices do that for me. I feel safe, coddled by them. I could list them. I won’t now, another time. There is work to do. Much. I try to be more forgiving. And it is another culture. I have so much to learn.

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Writings

6 EE

It took me a few seconds to work out what it meant, or at least how to say it. 6 EE makes more sense if the number six is pronounced in Norwegian as seks. 6 EE or seks-ee or sexy. It took him as a long as me at breakfast. He’s seen the car with that number plate too, just outside where we used to live. I looked up at the flats and tried to remember which was our window. It was a container of good memories but also some hard ones, as all homes are, I suppose.

The magnolia tree on St David’s Road is coming on apace. We both love them. The blossoms are great gaudy things but so beautiful. It is a sign of spring.

They are doing a week of programmes on Radio 4 Extra that herald spring. I caught the tail end of one hosted by Richard Maybe yesterday. I love to listen to him and he had some elegant recordings from various naturalists and poets including a piece by Ted Hughes. He didn’t fuss with language, his use of it was spare, appropriate and yet astonishing. Maybe also ended with a short piece of prose by Orwell. I must find it. The words, so lovely and apposite will not be contained by my mind that is too eager to grasp at so many things it is forever overflowing. Maybe’s programme was followed by a short story called Snowdrops. I’d heard it before but was beguiled again.

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Writings

Doorway Smokers

They always take me by surprise, standing as they do in that little doorway along Chalybeate Street. They stand on a little step and are tucked away in the doorway so I don’t see them at first. And in the dark, especially it is very disconcerting to come upon them. He’s seen them too. They smoke there.

There was Missing Cat notice lying on the ground near where the Eddie Stobart lorries turn into the back of Tesco’s, where the loading bays are. It was curved as if it had been attached to a lamppost or tree. Does anyone ever get their cat back that way? I suppose it stops them feeling completely helpless. I wonder if that family in Nantwich had their two black Labradors returned.

The snow did come.

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Writings

Shadow

I wake from dreams knowing that she’s been there, if not in the foreground in the distance, watching. She is a shadow, a presence. Perhaps it will always be so. She’s my unfinished business, my regret, as she is too. My injured ones.

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Writings

Remembered (warmth)

The open window in my bedroom had made it cold but when I opened the door and walked out into the landing the flat was warm. A remembered warmth from the day when the sun had shone and shone. A smell of his toast from the night before had also been remembered in the kitchen upstairs. I like that. I feel held by such physical rememberings.

The day looks to be set fair. I can see the sun on the buildings just before the Prom already. Much to do. But yesterday was a gift, perhaps today will be too.