Showing posts from June, 2012

Three Piece Soup

Boy leaves school. He wears a three piece suit and pocket watch, that’s the kind of Boy he is. After school, finery is returned to wardrobe, walking boots get some exercise. We explore all the way to the stirred mud of river. Clouds have a sense of lurk. Wind drives loud and fast in the narrow lanes. Dog sports some dapper mud trousers. I take her picture. I take generic hedgerow pictures, to illustrate things that I haven’t thought of writing about yet. Boy wonders why not start with the image, would that not be the easier way? Yes, possibly, I concur, but the adventure of it is important, that’s part of the exercise. That’s the difference, I opine, between making soup from a packet mix and creating soup from foraged foodstuffs. No less love in either preparation, necessarily, but the latter has more art. 

Chainsaw Cheer

In the eleventh day of Operation Relocate Domicile. In another 29 days it actually might be over, bar the fruit garden, but we will approach that as a separate manoeuvre. Tomorrow, new home chimneys are to be swept and the Rayburn lit. New Farmer Landlord says we can have wood from his shed, if we don’t mind cutting it down; do we have a chainsaw? Of course we do, it’s one of the few things that has set us aside from medieval peasants. We have been used to cutting down our own wood, in branches or by whole tree; chopping and dragging it by bits up the steep slippery stony thorny thistle strewn fields of Rosehill. Visceral, close to nature: also tiresome, time consuming. Mr can drive down to the shed in New Farmer Landlord’s yard, bring back all the wood on one trip. My grin is so huge it curves off the earth like buffalo horns. In honour of the hours spent, in celebration of the hours freed, here are eleven verses from a paused project, a poem of 1,000 ‘miracles,’ which I will be retu…

The Best Kind Of Ridiculous

Another streak of day flashes past too fast for me to write. These days do happen. We have a home forming with furniture almost where it needs to be and pans on shelves and coat hooks put up in the hallway, this is my compensation for the inability to catch any writing time. Also, just as I think I might sneak off with a biro and notebook, Boy needs someone to beat at chess. I play a random game, he engages strategically, hence the inevitability of outcome. We sit at the table; it has a tablecloth. I drink coffee from a cup and saucer, from my vintage gold tea set. We are civilised. We no longer wear muddy boots in the house. Sip, chink, smug smile, checkmate: marvellous. I study the new abode, I think my mouth is gaping. Look, there’s a place to hang coats! A shelf for the muddy boots! Behold, the gold china is not lost at the back of a greasy shelf! How many times shall I count the shelves in the pantry? I will never stop!
This morning is for exploring: me and Dog forge through long…

World's Slowest Firework

Last night: Rain on glass panes keeps me entertained, in pattern, in percussion. The view is dissolving in drops and the descent of darkness. An awareness flares, catches the heart of me in a healing flame: I picture it like a Christmas pudding, safe and warm under a dome of ignited rum. Maybe it is merely sleep hormones, maybe not; thoughts and feelings flicker in a balanced performance of shadow and light.
This morning: Baby brushes my hair with the wooden hairbrush. I have a bruised temple to prove it. Reminds me of the phrase ‘that will knock some sense into you.’ We harness Dog to the pram and walk around the block of fields. Here the hedgerows are magical habitats, winding with wild rose, tumbling vetch of many colours: so many flowers I have not time to name them all. I note how the rose expands: a shoot reaches up, flails in breezes until the weight of leaves and buds arc it back to earth, to pop open flowers, circlets of sparking colour: like the world’s slowest firework. 

Return Of The Happy Cartographer, May 1994

Through most of May of this year I was on a fabulous mission to appreciate, to drink life up, to be aware of every breath. This happiness is giddy, has a sense of intoxication. I didn’t have the budget for actual intoxication, there was only coffee and a genuine joy for life. This kind of pace is unsustainable, not necessarily a bad thing. As I am still reminding myself now, transition, and all of life is a transition, happens in oscillations; there is chaos, expansive and excitable, and there is anti-chaos, stabilising and reflective. I considered splitting this month into two posts, but that cuts off the cycle and it’s more useful to see it in one go, I think. I have bleeped the naughty word, rather than overdub and lose authenticity. Anyway, here I am, aged 24 and living in a less cramped shared house with a washing machine, which also accounts for some of my heady delight.
‘17th May 1994 A morning in Wakefield watching people and patterns. If you sit for long enough they seem to rep…

Flight Path

Yesterday pen was not put to paper, nor fingerpads to keyboard. Sentences wriggled compulsively from behind distractions: I held them briefly in my mind, admired each form, let them fly into heavy rains. We aquaplaned to work and back. Thursdays are busy. We eat our evening meal in a lay-by; the hedge trees shake water all over the car, show us a picture of the world made of splodges.
Today a tide of cloud rolls in and the trees sway in wind currents. I have the picnic table set up in what will be our spare room, office and storage space. I am acclimatising to this new horizon. Some frustrations still, of what will and will not fit. 

Mr is in the kitchen teaching his drill some dreadful language. Boy is in his bedroom, keeping it tidy. Dog flops as though abandoned, waiting on a walk. At the old place I could sit by the window while my thought process travelled along the valley out through the mountainous moorlands. Here I have not yet learnt the direction in which thoughts will flouri…

Calm Is Around The Corner

Grouchy as an unwalked dog this morning. In the kitchen, Dog herself is stood, mournfully, by a slop of vomit. Diagnosis: unsettled. We need to a) clean the floor and b) reset our spirits. A walk around the block is proposed. The block is arable fields, the walking surface single track, just big enough for one moderately sized tractor, which we don’t meet, but we do find the remains of a less lucky squirrel. I had planned a break from this house move daily update; a return to sharing my old diaries, I determined, would bring more fun to writer and readers. Which didn’t happen today as the laptop and the journals were in different houses. And my headspace remains a 3D jigsaw puzzle of kitchen implements; of hats, of books, of towels, brewing buckets, root vegetables, houseplants; or it might be some kind of stacking game, like Jenga, like Buckaroo, but mostly there’s more things than places and not space in the poor swirly head to think of anything else that might be happening, especial…

Simile Of The Congruous Fish

Oh woman! Why are you flip-flapping like a fish on a dock? Kick yourself back to the water, throw yourself to the flow of it. Have you forgotten so much, with just this slight distraction?

In the back of the car, in the midst of this load of transported objects, a stack of pans strike a rhythm with every bump of the lane. In my head incessant things are shuffled round but will not make the shape of a tidy cottage. The car windows are wound down and brambles flick in. Lurch, clang, whip, we go up the rough old lane. It’s only moving from here to there, so why obsess over it: kick yourself back to the water, woman, quit flitting, you know you can swim.
‘This is an adventure,’ I observe, after a pause for consideration. Another favourite quote of mine, so favourite I remember the source: GK Chesterton, he says, ‘An adventure is an inconvenience, rightly considered.’
At Number Three, almost our new home, the electric oven is wired in. I make poached eggs for supper. We struggle, in good h…

Mid House Moves

Last night: Sat at the picnic table in the front room. The décor is indoor camping chic. Two uncurtained windows sit opposite, brim full of twilight. They are such well appointed windows they bring on a Jane Austen fit. We do not rent, we take country lodgings. Bemused Dog scatters bits of defeated cardboard box.
Track the long extension lead to the kitchen, pull out the flex from behind the portable gas stove, the plastic plates and the sporks. Link up the stereo, here is my drawer of old vinyl. Nina Simone’s voice, pressed into plastic grooves, shaken out from the usefully shelfed alcove at the side of the fireplace, dances artfully over stuff we brought and haven’t found places for yet. Neither the old house nor the new looks convincingly inhabited. We could be going in either direction, at this point.
We are delighted to discover a bag of peanuts just as snackishness descends. Also, apple wine.
This morning: The bathroom’s brand new shower rail, curtain, rings, fresh from the shop…

The Song Of Number Three

I can hear my neighbours. I can hear radio tunes and a harmony of conversation. This morning one car has driven past, two tractors trundle between yard and field. Most amusing so far is the singing toilet: the cistern celebrates each refilling with a low twisting refrain. It has some kind of pipe hernia. Loudest are the birds. Multitudinous notes reverberate, make an outdoor opera of nesting rites. Silent in the blue sky vast clouds bask. Four horses at pasture blow through their noses, make Jurassic Park noises. A branch on the fat trunked ash plucks at our telephone wire. The house at Lawhitton bounces with these pleasant sounds. Lamentations for the old place are eased. We start to speak of the new dwelling now not by village name but by its name, Number Three.  


Arrive at the pending home before the new landlord; also a farmer, but the orderly kind that has time to tidy his hedges. It is pleasant to sit before the furniture lugging begins. Boy’s bed lies over the flattened seats in a heap of slats. Boy himself is somewhere between Rosehill and a shop, on his bicycle and a mission to obtain a bacon sandwich. Girl is travelling with Mr and a bootful of book boxes. I will hear her laughing as soon as she opens the car door. She has always loved moving furniture. It will be Girl that steers the puzzlesome chunk of our bed base down the tiny staircase. A double act of Girl and Boy hinders and helps: I will think of the time they rolled across the airport at Larnaca, engaged in a spontaneous stage fight. In this moment, though, sat alone in my car, I hear only the soft drops of rain, set my eyes on the mottling of sky, kempt lines of fields, the fat trunked ash tree. Later; several carloads later, back at the old house, when Girl has gone to collec…

The Tide Of All Existence

Blaming Virginia Woolf for this outburst… describing the construction of the self as: ‘like a butterfly’s wing…clamped together with bolts of iron.’
wrote this first as a stream of consciousness exercise no punctuation just flow one word into the next it was a strong old tide indeed
This morning, as my world is poised at the start of another summer storm, I broached a light rewriting, just to make it readable, and although it’s all about me (diva!) I dare to hope that the feeling of transformation in a life is familiar to all. 

The urge to write comes late last night. It will not cease to pester: it fills my head with irritable fidgety creatures.  I can’t settle and neither can they.  I don’t know what they are, what strange party I am hosting here. But there’s nothing here that is not part of my own self, even though they seem uninvited, they must be part of my mosaic, my pinterest board of butterfly wings, held with iron bolts, they cannot leave. I make myself as a collage is made, cut o…

A Potential For Absence

(Insert drum roll of suspense here.) It may be three weeks before the internet follows us to the new address. According to the cheerful conviction of a call centre lady, we can maintain a phone line at the old address. Until the end of July we will have access to both houses: we can keep an office at Rosehill, and homely quarters at Lawhitton*. Feasibly leading to delusions of landowning grandeur, and some classic misunderstandings of who is where and why.  Rich in comedy is the practiced silver lining detector. Not so mired in positivism that I can’t admit life can be awkward, however. There is still a potential for absence, in the often incommunicative communications infrastructure, it may be that an absentminded data entry gets the Rosehill phone snipped off. I may appear to have disappeared from the blogosphere but, dear readers, do not fear. A technical hiccup, merely.
I am sat on the sofa, writing this, next to Boy, who is listening to Red Dwarf on Radio Four, when I could be upst…

The Invisible Importance Of Hats

From dreamt adventures, retrieve one line only: ‘If I were made of fire, this is where I would sleep.’ It’s good to start a day by intriguing yourself. Shower in the company of one spindly spider, which presses its face repeatedly to the wet tile surface, also intriguing: thirsty, saying spider prayers, frustrated, or trying not to look at the naked mammalian giant? Coffee is made. It is a pot of the last of the Trung Nguyen. A fine mist makes a horizon of mountainous island shapes, with squinted eyes I can just about create the illusion of Halong Bay. From intrigue to reverie, wander down to the Mekong Delta, wearing a superb hat.

Today also (it is going well so far) brings more accolades for my Wishbone words; thank you Pins and Needles (Who does sell some cute stuff on etsy, if you were wondering, have a peek:
The first four rules of the Versatile Blogger award are easily in my stride, the last two I can…