Had something of a nostalgia session last night when I got out my hats (well, all three of them) to see which one I’m going to wear for Carol’s wedding on Saturday. The choice is the wide-brimmed blue (which doesn’t fit terribly well), the quirky green (more for the fun occasion) or the smart casual cream with ribbon (ideal wedding get-up, really). Naturally, I went for the latter. I think I’ll wear it with the light green dress and matching jacket. Lord only knows what shoes and handbag I’ll opt for. (Oh heck, am I having a Girly Moment??! Someone pass me the normality pills again …) Equally naturally, the hats are buried in the same place in the flat as our wedding photos, so I was poring over those too and weeping at how young and innocent we once were. Or at least how young and innocent we once looked. Yes, there is a difference. Ah well …
Anyway, great joy at breakfast today, when Lord H and I spotted a wren in the garden. Rushed to get the binoculars in the kitchen (yes, it is fairly sad that we keep them there at the moment but you never know when you might catch a glimpse of a bird you just have to have a closer look at …) and, yes, there it was – small brown job with a sticky-up tail. Wonderful! And while I’m on the subject of binoculars, we’ve discovered a fantastic aid to marital harmony with them (no, people – you have very peculiar minds, honestly!...) – if you turn them the wrong way round and look at the other person through them, then the whole problem looks so much more distant and manageable. Bliss!
Am thinking of preparing my annual reports for work sometime over the next week or so – to save the mad panic in October and to look super-efficient at the same time. It might help to make a start soon anyway, as I’m hoping to have some time off during October, post the Freshers nightmare, so anything I can do now to ease the pressure then will be a plus point, I’m sure. But first I need to change the Student Advice & Information Service (SAIS) web references to be just Student Advice, as we’ve decided the old name is really too much of a mouthful. Even we have trouble remembering it, let alone the customers! I’m the Web Queen once more then …
Had lunch with Julia from UniSWriters today – very enjoyable, though everyone’s feeling the heat as we approach the end of the restructuring process. It’ll be so much better when the powers that be have sorted themselves out. One hopes.
Oh and here’s a piece of flash fiction for the Writewords Flash Fiction II Group. The theme is “On the road again”:
On the road again
That’s it then. Another door shut, with the bloke behind it already lighting a smoke and wishing I was further away than I am. Same old, same old. God knows I try my best but I never stay anywhere long. This time, though, it felt different. Just a little. And I half-think about knocking on the peeling paintwork, waiting for him to open it – if he does – and maybe even asking to talk.
But I don’t. What’s the point? Talking never solved anything. Not for me.
So instead of doing what everyone else might have done, if only in books – instead of that I shoulder my rucksack, twisting the belt around me until it’s tight against my hips, spit once on the line of broken flowerpots and stride down the steps and into the night.
The city is in that empty phase between shedding its daytime office junkies and welcoming the party-goers, the clubbers and the hookers. Around me, with the street lights flickering in the winter dusk, I can feel it drawing breath, waiting for things to turn, waiting for the night to begin.
I pass Tottenham Court tube and head east. Cars crawl by me, buses too, and the fumes and the noise are almost overwhelming. But I pay them no attention. I just keep on walking, elbowing my way through groups of high-heeled girls and boys dressed only in black. The air is rich with sweat and perfume. At times like this, the road becomes once again the only friend I can trust.
Finally, when the crowds begin to thin out, destinations reached or parties given up on, I weave my path away from the main streets and into the city’s darker corners. Here, the smell of urine and Meths takes over from sweat and scent. The change isn’t unwelcome.
When I find a shop doorway, sheltered enough to protect me from any rain, I ease the rucksack off my shoulders, curl myself up next to it and sleep. It’s familiar enough for my sleep to be dreamless. I’m on the road again.
Tonight I’m off to Guildford Writers – drinks afterwards are most definitely on me to celebrate my book deal. Good job I got paid last week then!
Oh and I've just finished Samantha Wynne Rhydderch's poetry collection, Rockclimbing in Silk. Hmm, too many words, m'dear. They were bludgeoning me like stone-age hunters closing in on the prey. So much so that no meaning appeared to be left at all. I can't remember why I decided to buy it, to be frank, and that's a good couple of hours of my life I won't get back. The whole thing has completely exhausted me - so not one I can recommend, I'm afraid.
Today’s nice things:
1. Seeing a wren
2. Lunch with Julia
3. Guildford Writers.
Pink Champagne and Apple Juice