Showing posts from May, 2015

The Harbinger Bird

Houseguest Ben arrives at the door of the polytunnel.
‘There’s a bird in the bathroom,’ he reports.
‘One you know?’ I ask. (This is not a play on slang terminology for female persons.)
‘It’s not the chaffinch.’ He laughs, glances at the hedge. (Ben was stalked by a chaffinch one memorable afternoon. It is this bird to which I refer.)

This unknown avian visitor is a summer bird, too quick for him to catch: I come down to see if I will have more luck.
‘You’re beautiful,’ I say.
Dark glossy plumage with a red throat, sleek split tail, pointed wings; sat on the shower rail, head at a listening tilt. A compliment is what it has been waiting for, for as the words are uttered it flies out of the window, leaving a tidy curl of dropping on the bath lip.

Next door’s garden hosts a teddy bear’s picnic party. A swallow has nipped in to use our bathroom. What else might happen?

The new car is out there somewhere still: Southampton, the man on the phone had puzzled, our cars come from South Shiel…

Spring Break Sequence

Saturday: Garden: wheeled up topsoil from the heap in the horse field with a borrowed barrow, ours needed a new tyre.  Mr went to buy a new one, twice: first the wrong size then the right, then the pump broke.  We have a new flat tyre. It’s closer to perfection than it was.
The newest raised bed stinks with rotted grass.
Saturday evening: drove over the Severn Bridge, squinted at sun-bloom on the wide river, admired the geometry of cables, the bold shadows. Arrived in time to watch theatrical acts compete on various televisual shows. Eager and numerous as the flies on our rotted grass: this is what it is to be an artist my dears. 
Just be the fly you want to be.
The six year old who was staying up late decided she would rather be a dog. She would go to bed, but she would be practicing her bark, quietly; but her brother had already woken from his own coughing.  Everyone went to bed later than intended.
Sunday: morning brought rain. While the earth drank it up we stayed under cover; convenientl…

A Gesture Of Faith And Fox

In Southampton, there is a brand new car. A mid-spec economical white because that’s the least expensive colour car…
It is waiting for paperwork. Just routine paperwork. Finance is approved.
What will happen?
Life will be buzzed with a paintwork gleam, though it’s the same life; this is good, we are grand fans of our lives here.
The financial commitment makes us scared, this is not a change. Money worries pelt us with such consistency, we should have learned to dodge by now. But we’ve compromised: we have become bold.
A few more bits of paper will move and make the car get on a truck, to be brought to us.
We will go to the garage and drive it away.
A gesture of faith in ourselves?
Yes, we say. Yes.

Meanwhile the garden grows. We toil to help it; dig holes, fill holes, fit raised beds.
Hand feed our seedlings.
The picnic table drops into weathered pieces. We sit at particular angles to keep safe, bowls of rice steaming, birds flinging in bursts of food finding, territorial dispute;…

Car, Free

The old red car did not pass the MOT. Too many things to fix so we had to let it go.
I had turned out all the bits of shell and pebble, untangled the travelling charm from the rear view mirror.
Wondered how many hours would add up to equal time spent viewing the world in that back looking glass.
Breathed in the earth-salt squalor, the mould, the spills of coffee.
Heard myself singing. Ouch.
It is only a material thing, a car, no matter how immersed, how we feel our fibres are joined. Everything is a shell, I think: me too, I am made of stuff, so what I feel for the car is a universal compassion, personified, made specific to my story.
I lent life to it, and now I’m taking it back.
The thought of it crushed was saddening.
It was a reprieve when the young mechanic asked, could he have it: I signed it over, handed him a key.

So, no car, for me, for a moment. While I think and headache over figures, projections of cost and risk, while I long to live in a hedge.
Why can’t I just live i…

Quiet Day After A Busy Weekend

Rain lingered but it could not rain: the sky was so full of birdsong, there was no room.
Only sunlight could shine through that clear mass of sound.
Lawnmowers and birds, singing, and somewhere above, an aeroplane; a ruffle of foliage from an indulgent breeze.
All the weekend noise: speeches from Churchill on VE Day, knives and forks and spoons scooping up pie and mash and suet puddings, the band were fun, people were dancing and trying to dance; the hoot of grandchildren wrestling on a lawn while the barbecue spits and somebody catches a ball, the glee sounds of toddlers with chocolate cake; makes us smile to ourselves.
Striding around the garden, planning doom and repellence for pests, planting seeds; smiling.

Notes From A Car Park

It rains.
Car park trees hemmed in, captive.
Symbolic of a lessened world?
If the roots go rogue, then what?
Dream of growing beans up the sides of the prisoner trees, of everyone planting and making car parks futile.
A power of fertility.

More rain, in spite of the blossoms and pretty leaf: autumn weather.
Under the copper beeches, light and water drops.
Nearly a rainbow.
The leaves are russet-rosé.
Under the copper beeches you can bathe in a sparkling pink Raise a toast to autumn: To future harvests.

Three Days In May

Here begins the last calendar month of Spring.
Half-fledged pheasants flee car wheels. Has the frost left? It had clung to the land for too long. This morning’s air is warmly damp. The hedges have grown lace, kept colour.
To the beach we traipse; one Granma, one grandchild, one grandchild’s friend, one dog.
We are lucky with weather. Mild-damp until the ice creams are eaten up. Fat drops smack on the way home, burst on the bonnet. The girls sleep.
At home we hear giggling, and the crunch of apples bitten.
They watch a film, they say, ‘Oh I love that. Do you love that?’
Anything with sequins rocks. Grandma agrees.
Evening comes, it brings wine.

A garden day. The barrow rolls badly, inner tube beyond repair. Another expense: leafed green growth, the recompense. Future dinners, medicines, sweets, inebriations, perfumery, decorations; the story of our year wiggles up, shakes in the wind. This is the year we added a scarecrow and all the arches need mending because the he…