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Blackcurrants

No sun, just a grey sky. August soon. Need some heat. She rang up yesterday to say that there were blackcurrants. I’ve had some for breakfast all this week. No sugar, just cooked through. They stain the tongue. A tart, deep blue taste. And gooseberries. Even harder to find. Is it that we no longer preserve, make jams, bake pies, make crumbles? Tart fruits. Soft fruits. A sting on the tongue. It is the small things. All else is chaos.

There was a cat playing with a dead mouse, batting it with its paws and throwing it up in the air.

Two young men talking on a bench on the Prom at 3.30 am. I understand, one of them is saying. I understand Brian has his feelings.

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Writings

Unicycle

It’s been a while, again. I’m busy, caught up in internal stuff. Not at peace, yet longing to be. It is in my gift, I know this. And there was a brief moment, as we sat on those sofas in the hotel in Aberdovey in the sleeping lounge. Peace then. Lovely nothingness. I can call on it any time. I know this.

So, the notes have stacked up. The unicycle I saw chained to a lamp post. The snail I stepped on in the dark. I heard its crunch. I’m sorry. Rest in peace little thing. Then, his meeting John in the supermarket and them talking about my knee and other stories. He tells him what I do. Oh, said John, I thought she was a business woman. La di da. A business woman. Well I never. Whatever next. Me?

Our estate (for want of a better word. It is actually an old school) is full of cats. There is Betty, Ronnie and Reg (the Krays) and various others. All good mousers, it appears, except perhaps for Betty who seems to spend her time greeting people as they drive up. There was a dead shrew on the step the other morning.

Work, real work, paid work, has been busy. L.A. was a highlight. Reality TV star complete with face-lift bandages. What a sweetie. Outer skin tough but such a soft one. I ached for her. Don’t give so much away. Keep something back. She came with dog. Hackles were raised but, I’m here on holiday, I’ve no one to leave him with. A few days before there was Jack, the newly trained steam engine driver. Chuffed with his own success.

I’ve kept walking, even though she told me to cut it down. I can’t, won’t. I need the air, the space, the freedom. I hobble and try to act normal. The stick has been left behind the door though. That’s something. The rain has kept the Prom quiet except for one morning – a figure down by the harbour. I saw the red circle of her cigarette first, then the furry edged lining of her parka.

I am distrait. All a wobble. My confidence is so brittle. Longing to hide to run away like the painter in the French film we’ve watched over the last couple of nights. A gentle one. They explain little the French. But how I delight in the details.

I am low. I know this. It erodes all that I try to do. And then I walk and see the homeless man and his dog sleeping in the Prom shelter. Last week it was so hot he was in his boxer shorts. Good morning, I called. Hello darling, he replied.

It’s an opportunity not something to be frightened of. Just try it. Try it all. There is much to be learnt in the process. It’s an avoidance of decisions, so much┬ánicer to be in the middle of something, flanked either side by something done, something concrete. This hurling oneself out into the blue into that white space of nothing is sometimes so terrifying. Everything must come from me and sometimes, just sometimes I have nothing to give. It will pass. I know this too. Until it does I must remember to be kind. Good and kind. It is the least I can do.

Rain, rain and rain. And the washing machine, despite Andrew the mender best efforts, continues to sound like a helicopter taking off. Just when you need everything to be alright. So be it. Little inconveniences. I think of that German girl on the front of the Times yesterday. Caught, trapped, her fingers playing with her scarf. All sadness, all fear in that gesture. I hope that will be kind to her. We know not what we do.

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Writings

Stick

I fell. Well first I flew. High in the air and then landed hard on my right knee and then my left. I cried out from shock and pain. There was no one around. Should I limp home or continue? I wanted it to be OK, to be as normal so I went on and walked my three miles. And then? Then I was spent and wept behind my dark glasses in the supermarket.

And now? He bought me a stick. A wooden one from Craft. Four pounds. A bargain. I can walk without it but my right knee is still very swollen and stiff and it gives me confidence. I am back to doing my early walk and getting a little faster each morning. The stick seems to attract attention. Those early hour kids out cavorting notice me. Hi, they say, you a’right? I like it. I feel warmed by their care. A little thing, but normally I am overlooked. Perhaps I am different. I’m glad I persist in walking, the air these last few mornings has been beautiful. Keep moving, said the physio. She had been kind and reassuring but I hadn’t managed to warm to her. I wanted to. Truly. She chattered away trying to put me at┬ámy ease. I just felt awkward, clumsy, exposed and vulnerable. She is so cheery. Sometimes you just have to let the dis-ease be. I touched her arm at the end. It was all I could do. Was it enough?

A brutish group sitting on the Prom bench. Two lads play fighting and a couple drinking. My hackles twitch. The stick again. Hello, lovely, the older man said, lovely morning. And it is. Stunning moon, I say. It is full. My words are lost on them. It is enough to make contact. To be responsive. Then up by the Pier Pressure nightclub a couple are deep in conversation. They stand slightly apart. She is crying, holding her handbag up to her eyes. Her dress, a gaudy-patterned silk, is riding up her thighs. You’ve got to be strong, he is saying to her. You’ve got to be strong. She continues to cry. He stands back, his hands in his jeans pockets. You’ve got to be strong. No matter what comes between us, you’ve got to be strong.

He calls it our cwtch. We see him most days. He’s got a PhD., he says. Tried various jobs, had a shop, don’t know what he does now. He’s always cheery and brown, from walking as he does, up and down the Prom. Our cwtch. Other people comment on it too. The man with the lump on his neck in the supermarket. Saw you today, he says, like two lovebirds. Our place. Our little nook.

I heard a noise upstairs in the kitchen. A banging, a tapping. The fridge? I went up and it was a bird, a rook bashing his beak against one of the skylight windows. When he saw he flew off. Then two days later there were two of them. Why do they do it? he asks. Search me.