Happy new year

Monday 17th September 2012

ROME wasn’t built in a day. My move up to the attic having assumed similarly epic proportions, I may go for a permanent settlement. Rumours of decline and fall are said to be premature.

Hamlet was fun; there was lots of water in Bath; Ben’s boat is a time machine; little ado was made of my birthday: I prefer it that way.

For several weeks, we applauded athletes, forgot about overdrafts, hurried out of doors when the sun shone. The hours of daylight are not a state of mind, but divined by planetary axis. So it goes.

My oldest granddaughter is now at secondary school. Yorkshire, unbeaten in championship matches, have been promoted. Ben and I saw Forest Green Rovers win 4-1 at home in a 7.45pm kick-off. Their colours are grass green, night sky black, and floodlight white. I was glad of an anorak.

Might ask for a rattle for Christmas, being well up for second childishness.

These decastichs were written last week, for a group that meets in Saltford Library, where they share memories of long lives:

Floral pattern
Reds, yellows, greens
Tapestried on faded beige
Kneeling, short trousers, scuffed knees
The boy pushes Matchbox toy cars
Lap after lap, for hour after hour
Driving cars, sisters, parents, round bend after bend
Their patience – and the carpet – wearing thinner and thinner
Making holes, like those in the elbows of threadbare pullovers

Primary School
Bespectacled Mr Kemp
Ringing the brass hand-bell
“In you go, Class Four”
We jostle for the black stove
To dry mittens wet with snowball fights
Before sucking slurping frothing bubbles of cold milk
At single wooden desks with inkwells and loud lids
Where the sharp points of compasses were carving tools, initially

Ben’s photographs are much more captivating than any blurred snapshots of regal bum or boobs.

The one below is on the cover of a booklet commissioned by Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum. It was taken back in May. Since then, the Earth has travelled a further 187 million miles on its annual orbit of the sun.







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