Thursday, December 29, 2005

big shoe

I broke my foot in '99. The funny thing was.....they gave me a special big shoe to go over the plaster which just happened to match my own summer footwear.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

long walk

A few years ago two friends and I set out from here to walk across Britain - about 200 miles. Only two of us made it to Robin Hood's Bay on the east coast. Don't worry - the third person didn't die en route - he had to take a bus home because of family bereavement. I feel quite proud of this endeavour. If nothing else...I KNOW how far 200 miles is, especially when there are some small mountains between you and the destination. And there is a heatwave. I was hungry all the time except for a half hour respite after our modest meals.
I could tell you lots more about this but I'd rather relate an encounter with a proper walker. A couple of years after my epic stroll I was in the south of Spain on a rock climbing trip. As we were walking to the crag one day we saw an odd figure coming towards us down the dusty road. He wore a pair of battered shoes (ordinary street shoes, not hiking boots), old shorts and a threadbare shirt. Balanced on his head was a plastic carrier bag containing obviously not much. He was about fifty years old. Naturally, we stopped to talk to him. He was friendly but not overly talkative, more interested in what we were doing than in telling his own tale but we managed to wheedle this out of him after a while.
He had set off several months previously from his home in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in North East England which, for the benefit of my International Readership, is a fuck of a long way from southern Spain (at least 2000 miles by my reckoning, given that he could not have travelled with the directness of the crow). He had done this for several years. Worked through the winter then set off walking for 4 months with just the barest minimum of possessions. Day after day, not knowing who, if anyone, he would meet. All he really said about it was that there were good days and bad days but no two days alike.
We said goodbye and he went on his way but I swear to God he took a little piece of me with him. I still think about him now and then because he was doing something that I have a very strong urge to go on a long pilgrimage to nowhere in particular ...on foot and just live each day as it comes, rough or smooth. It's not about 'finding yourself', it's just living with the unfamiliar. I'm resigned to the fact that, like most of us, I will probably never fulfil most of my dreamy ambitions. But this I can't let go of.

Friday, December 23, 2005

dead seal

I went for a walk by the estuary the other day and came across a dead seal. I looked at it for a couple of minutes then turned for home. I hadn't intended to terminate my outward journey just there but the seal was unlikely to be topped as a point of interest.
Often the most interesting thing I see down there is a dead animal - dead sheep in varying states of decomposition, a gannet fairly recently, gulls (dull).
Often you see a glove and wonder if it contains a hand. Maybe I'll find a human corpse one day. I don't think I really want to, though. A cow or a whale would be better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

bicycle thieves

Some evil, rotten bastards stole my mum's bike. It's only when you've been wronged that you truly know how liberal you are. I would like them to be THRASHED in public.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

no news is... no news

Regular readers of this blog (ie no-one) will recall that I swallowed some glass a little while ago. My condition is stable/no symptoms.

nervous breakdown?

Today, for the first time, I attended what used to be known an an industrial therapy unit and has a modern name so bland I can't remember it. I'm going because I've not been too happy for a while and haven't been working and the govt. agent dealing with my case thought it might be a good idea. As you might imagine I was a little apprehensive arriving at this 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' kind of situation. Things went smoothly as I met the man in charge of joinery and woodturning (my activity of choice) and his assistant who were agreeable chaps. They told me it was a quiet day and introduced me to the only two other clients. I introduced myself to Tony who told me his name then asked very directly and loudly "NERVOUS BREAKDOWN????"....I replied no, not exactly then he fired off a salvo of questions along the lines of "MARRIED?...CHILDREN?....HAVE YOU EVER WORKED?" which I gave the appropriate answers. "WELL WHAT HAPPENED, THEN?" this point I asked about his background. "WORKED 20 YEARS AT STANDFAST.....GOT 3 KIDS...I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCKING HELL I'M DOING HERE"
Fortunately the gaffer intervened and sent him off to paint a bench and got me started on the lathe. Which went well.
What happened was exactly what you don't want to happen in such circumstances; an immediate public discussion of the reasons why you have been sidelined from normal life. However, I coped with it pretty well and in a strange way it kind of set me up. I found myself suddenly accepting my situation and feeling comfortable with it. Poor Tony is still falling.
Best wishes to you all x I began my work the song Mad World by Gary Jules came on the radio. I kid you not.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

artist found

I've spent several hours looking at this Romanian photographers work on the flickr website. Goes by the name strange_me (see link). There are polaroids, digitals, filter shots. They create that Space for the viewer essential to ART. I want to wear her eyes.
Smoked again today after five day's abstinence. Hands feeling cold again on resumption.
Suffered severe headaches on saturday. Later realised I hadn't drunk coffee that morning. Rare occurence. Perhaps there was a connection. It wasn't so much a headache as lightning stabs of pain (especially when bending over).
Watched Bergman's swansong film Saraband at the Dukes on sunday. Intransigence in family relationships. Fear of loneliness battles pride. Relations with family reflect relations with life generally. Visited cinema alone as usual. Sometimes wish I had someone suitable to go with but alone is the best way to see some films. I spend most of my time alone. Craving company but seeking solitude. There must be a life out there for me in Lancaster. People, places, things. They will dissolve self-consciousness and bring fertility back to this sterile mind. I know some good people; I will go to them and see what happens. Perhaps the words will return. I used to be quite sharp and witty but it doesn't seem available any more. GO OUT! Don't be afraid to drink.