Yesterday’s transport was well fouled-up, worse for many others than for me, and perhaps it would be insensitive to talk about a Black Hole on wheels. Still, enforced intimacy with the other wedged standees made occasion for the kindness of women, hot news from the Hong Kong riots mingling with sisterly or motherly encouragement for the youngest, late for her interview. Hope she got it.
Falling feverishly out of the train, I encountered more womanly kindness: the church ladies supplying home made scones and tea, jokes, and advice to take five minutes quiet upstairs. It was good advice too, and I wish I could have fitted the whole ceiling into the shot.
The rain held off, the cathedral filled up, the parents did their thing, and one of the nearests-and-dearests shared Emma with me by earbud to mask the announcer, but she left me in the lurch just before the Chancellor’s speech, when I needed Austen the most. The Chancellor read a “poem” – a long poem – what he had wrote. It was … bad. Other excesses of the day included scarlet cloth and purple squiggles (jacquard? brocade? I never know) and a pink tie. And a bonnet.
Today: a forced march in the damp morning to look at a teeny place face-lifted by the upwardly mobile. Is it Destiny or a dud? I have opened a bottle, but so much progress has been made in the kitchen that for a moment I thought it would have to be drunk from a chipped mug or a marmalade jar.
There’s rather a lot for one.
It has been a dismal day; doing something silly was the most readily available anodyne. Luckily a stash of disposable overalls has, for reasons far too complicated to recount, been lurking in the back of a wardrobe for years.
My lack of skill in figurative art came out again in a horrible parody of that lovely weed, the germander speedwell.
But anyway I peacefully devoted half an hour to making myself ridiculous.
Sad on the bus to see an elderly man talking quietly but angrily to himself all the way, while the beautiful downs flowed by on the right and the beautiful beautiful sea passed on the left.
After eating a final archetypal cheese scone (though like all archetypes, they are not quite what they were) it was time to wander past the respectable houses and then the edge of the marshes, glimpsing towards the chalk.
The bay was draughty rather than stormy; even so the spray was flying from the prom, and the lucid (and literal) aquamarine turned ominous as soon as the sun left it.
A lifeboat station shop yielded second-hand books (a rash purchase at this moment) and a sugar fix. On the bus, the downs flowed on the left and the sea passed on the right.
It has been a day full of recalcitrances, various: rusted-in bolts; institutional forms that nothing human could complete without error; the Great Document Hunt of 2019; the sheer physical resistance of damp grass.
So yes; the advantage of a familiar film – knowing what the pops, whoops, scratching noises, clicks, and occasional explosions mean without having to actually look. I took to the recliner and duly reclined.
I’m listening to The Martian (Weir) more or less on repeat: presumably my psyche bracing for adversity. Finding and printing a map was a fiddle, though not nearly as much of a fiddle as retrieving the family cookbook from ancient Appleworks into pdf into Word, adding in bits from Pages en route.
Not on screen: one or two of the pegged-down begonia leaves are trying, but not the red ones, which insist on dissolving into the compost.
Ah the pleasure of the slow stopper:
How one relaxes into the solitude…
Much later, and across the Severn by road, Wales began (as usual) to rain.
A black carpet gives you warning, and blocked plumbing realises your worst fears. One of the nearest-and-dearests reconstituted himself as the Human Plunger and, with a technique never matched except in the most dramatic fake CPR seen in medical soaps, dislodged the sludge. (My hero.) This left us with the problem of walking without touching the carpet (fairly easy) and of sleeping without touching the sheets (fairly difficult).
The event itself involved the usual scrum, with an excellent mitigation: an official quiet room. Here I joined the autistic-spectrum mates and rellies and ate my plate of buffet in peace.