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October ramblings (from a cafe bar)

I think the problem to my blogging has lately been one of starting. Indeed, it is possibly at the heart of my problems with writing, the simple act of starting. Of laying that first word down, then the second, and then the third, building with delicate ferocity a structure upon which to hang thoughts and emotions. 

It has been a few years since my mother died, and still I find it affects me. We were talking in work today and a colleague mentioned that he only called his mum once a fortnight, otherwise she would think something was wrong. As much as I miss mum in general, I absolutely miss giving her a call on my way from work, just have a chat and see how things are going. I miss that connection to my past, and how adrift I feel because of it. My niblings help, the wonder of them sometimes highlighting that maybe, once, I should have considered children. Where a link to the past is lost, there are four lively, impudent, lovable links to the future that I need to spend more time with. 

I have been trying to convey to a friend what rowing and coxing means to me, and I am not sure I succeeded, although I get the feeling they got the picture. A few weeks back, at a social row that ended up being entirely pub-based, I ended up speaking to two of the other rowers, and they regaled me with what they loved about rowing. It was different for both, and for me. I know I love the extraordinarily rare moment when I get a stroke just right. I love being on the water of an evening, in the dark with the lights of the city around us. I love the feeling of exhilaration and relief when a hard row is done. I absolutely love the sound of the oars hitting the pins, the ‘ku-tunk’ a mesmerising and comforting thing. I love coxing, that feeling of satisfaction when the crew have been worked hard and have enjoyed themselves.

I ramble, in a way I have not done in many a year. 

I was thinking the other day about the unique experiences my brother and I have had during our childhood, out there in the wide world. I wonder how to preserve some of the things we have seen and done, how to combine them with the now to bring a contrast and poignancy to the tales. I have a plan. 

I had a bizarre dream last night, one in which I hunted and was hunted, in a landscape of concrete, halls of grey that were vast beyond imagining. Pillars, columns, blocks of solid, unrelenting drabness, cast in shadow and light, the air chill and dank with menace, the sky a distant wall of stone.

In two weeks I will be back in Pembrokeshire, living for 4 days in a converted milking barn somewhere near the coast towards St. David’s. I can’t wait. Although there is part of me that yearns for company, there is another that is content with the solitude that it will bring. Sometimes having a unique, singular experience, uncaptured by image or word or another eye, is the way to go.  


the knack

Summer 2017