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Hands, Sweet Peas and Gates

It’s wild out there. I did walk, though tentatively. Gates were bashing open and closed, pub and shop signs clanged and recycle bags full of rubbish were being blown forward rolling up the road. It is both alarming and exhilarating to be out in such wind. I watched as loose sheets of newspaper aped seagulls and flapped upwards taking flight. I wonder how my sweet peas are. I feel like I have abandoned them, but to watch them die off, one by one after all my careful nurturing was painful. Will they cling on? I hurt for them.

And then there is my hand. My arm is getting better but my hand is black. Well, at least up to my knuckles. The blood had clearly travelled downwards leaving my palm looking like a piebald or a dark and white chocolate block of ice-cream. Is that what it reminds me of? I’ve been trying to remember – was it Walls’ Chocolate and Vanilla?

Back to proper work today with my first interview. I will be glad of the distraction from the aching and my consequent crossness. He is very forbearing. Always.

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Writings

Return

I walked this morning, alone in the dark, for the first time since I fell. I am slow but oh it was good to get out into that cacophony of birdsong once more. I shan’t write much, I still need to rest my arm and I’m doing too much already. Suffice to say, it is good to be back.

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Writings

Dead arm

I tripped and fell on my arm. I can’t use it. BUGGER.

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Writings

Barbara Pym

I’d forgotten that they were going to re-air her Desert Island Discs. It was an old one for Roy Plumley was hosting it. I don’t think I’ve ever heard her voice before. She sounded as I’d imagined, slightly reserved, a Queen’s English voice with her sentences a little clipped. She asked for a case of white wine, German, I think, as her luxury. I forget her book. I liked her. I felt safe with her. She said she wrote in the mornings. If I manage two pages on my typewriter I am happy, she said.

Was I unkind to him yesterday? I told him of it. I smell too. We all do. I’m a little out of sorts. She said that this full moon would be a challenge. Or am I blaming it for my bad behaviour. Another beautiful morning. Fridays are bitty days, I struggle with them. No stretch of time to achieve anything worthy. So be it. What did he say? Accept more, expect less. Wise words, my love. Wise words.

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Writings

Skunk

We think it has something to do with his breathing through his mouth, either way whenever he eats there is this profusion of flatulence. And I, having this strong sense of smell (which appears to be getting stronger), find it rather a challenge. I can’t help it, he says. And I know he can’t. It’s just the stink of it that I object to. A skunk. I’m living with a skunk. I skunk I love, nevertheless. And then there is the sniffing. Like an old dog, sniffs. One of his nostrils is blocked, so he sniffs to get relief. The snoring is less of an issue, for the moment. You see, sometimes I have to get it out – all those niggly objections. Ah, but would you be without him? I hear you ask. No, not ever. I can hold my nose and block my ears. There are always ways round it (I burn essential oils and light candles against the noisome odours). But to be without his kindness, his generosity, his care, his wisdom, his patience, his thoughtfulness, his love – no not ever. Not yet. Please.

I heard a ticking yesterday, that is after I turned off my laptop and the noise of voices. It was the clock on the wall in my studio. A quiet tick, almost imperceptible. I’m glad that I’ve found it.

Will I give myself some peace today?

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Writings

Carelessness causes..

I’m always thinking about my work, it fills my head. I’m on a quest to solve things but also to get that click internally that tells me I’m onto something – that I’ve made, written or performed something magical. It’s a rare sensation but the desire for it drives me and my thoughts onward. Little things spark me like the label on my pillow with ‘carelessness causes fire’ writ large in red. Perhaps I could do something with that, I thought. I look for external clues, as if they are laying in wait for me to discover them. Is it like that? Or is this day-to-day just doing what it is really about? It takes so long to finish things, to see my ideas come to fruition, that I had better enjoy the getting there. And I do, mostly. That is if I can allow myself to do so. It is OK to be this, this mish-mash of emotions, fears, doubts and certainties. I think about making bespoke gifts, a gift of work like Richard Strauss making an offering of a piece of music to the city of Vienna when they awarded him the Beethoven Prize. My range, my scope is a small one these days. I think of individuals rather than the crowd. And that is fine, isn’t it?

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Writings

Nothing (to say)

I forgot about you. And it isn’t true that I’ve nothing to say, there is always something but because I’d forgotten I’m ready to work now. So I’ll be brief.

There was no one about as I walked this morning, my hips and legs aching and not moving fluidly. Do you get that some mornings? I felt like an old dog. I accuse him of being one too when he gets up from his chair. Bless him. Where’s the tea towel? he demanded this morning as we washed up after breakfast. On your shoulder, I replied. It was nice to laugh like that, together. It’s not going to get any better, he said. No. And who cares.

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Writings

Cold Shower

I catch Dr Mosley’s podcast One Good Thing on Radio 4 as I’m preparing lunch on a Sunday. Yesterday he was encouraging us take a regular cold shower. The idea horrifies me. I need warmth. I sit at my desk with two hot water bottles, not because I’m cold necessarily but they comfort me. And yet his argument was so convincing that I’ve been wracking my brains how to manage it. I don’t like showers. Could it be a cold bath instead? And if so, when? Before or after my warm one? I do the walking, and I eat fermented foods (his last two recommendations) – must I do them all?

I’d bought a series of small frames to frame my sewing trials with but they are not deep enough. It feels wasteful but I had to try. What to do with them? Well, yesterday I put an old postcard I had of Gwen John’s self portrait in a red tartan dress. How I love it. I’ve leant it against the window to hide the paint that is chipping away on the windowsill. It looks perfect. What a fillip it gave me. Such a small thing and yet so transformational. Joy comes in tiny packages, I think. The real stuff, anyway.

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Writings

Withered

There is that expression ‘withered on the vine’ which I suppose is meant to mean something has died even though it was attached, or still part of its source of life and sustenance. Some of my sweet pea seedlings have withered. How upset it makes me. The rest seem fine, but because I can’t work out why some have died it makes me nervous for the rest. Will they all go the same way? I have tried my best, but my knowledge of these things, of horticulture in general, is small. Poor loves. What can I do to nurture you better? He, as always, is more sanguine. ‘Tis best to be so, I think.

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Writings

Pause (in song)

There was silence when I set out this morning. Where are the birds? I asked myself. Is there a particular time when they begin their song? And then I heard one, in the distance, nearer town.

She died. And she was so young. I didn’t think you’d know her, he said, after I’d let out a cry at the headline. Poor love. I read her husband’s tweet. My heart goes out to him and her family. I didn’t think it still killed people. Of course it does, he says, rather sharply.

Of course it does. Rest in peace.