Notes From A Fragile Island.

November 6 2004 (Crystal Palace)

[letter extract]

‘Last night, random fireworks snapping their fingers over and around the surrounding boroughs – just one or two every hour or so. The first one though exploded out of the dark blue cover of teatime, quite close by and actually made me jump! Next door’s little lap dog started yapping and a car alarm sounded and autumn drew a little closer into winter. God, where on earth has this year disappeared to? And what the hell was it all about anyway?

Did you guys ever manage to get over to your sister’s place? I have to say it sounded idyllic (row boats, red wine and La Rochelle! Isn’t that Brie country?) But then, for awhile there, back in January/February, everything was just that: perfect.

I managed to get away in the summer; ten days in Cornwall with two friends. Wow! It was just what the doctor ordered: fresh air, fresh fish, fresh perspective. After the previous few months it was like breathing out – sigh – I climbed the cliffs at Land’s End, went swimming in the Atlantic and played with the harbour cats at Mousehole. It’s funny, isn’t it, M_____, how the lightest, most inconsequential details can sometimes leave the heaviest impression…’

November 6 2017 (Whitley Bay)

Jen and Peter M arrive at the flat 09:00. We are off to a creative colour course at __________ in Whitley Bay. I have warmed croissants and brewed coffee in an effort to appear slightly more middle class (bohemian?) than I really am. However, they have trouble parking and by the time they arrive Jen says, “I could smell burning from the front door.” I butter her croissant and the whole thing falls apart! We eat with toilet roll napkins! The course is (of course) packed to the gills with hairdresser types and I have a thoroughly dull time apart from when we escape to the Fat Ox for lunch.

Later, I decide to head to The Quarry as it is Open Mic night. Under rehearsed and over confident I embark on Dylan’s Simple Twist of Fate, Small Faces’ Rene (changing the lyrics to include more North Tyneside allusions) and Ry Cooder’s Crow Black Chicken. Whether any of this is any good, who knows? But a great end to the day!

November 6 2020 (Whitley Bay)

Having slept all day yesterday – after ten straight days work – I am determined to settle into my lockdown as I mean to go on: writing, reading, relaxing, growing a beard!

(07:30) The foghorns wake me early and I dress immediately to leave the flat. Cycle out to Saint Mary’s lighthouse (is it a haar or a fret? – it is foggy!). The cycle lane that was hastily erected back in June has now disappeared. But, of course, I knew this as it is the talk of the town. Whitley Bay no longer seems to be sistered with Berlin.

Scrambled egg & blended fruit. Artworked. Smoked tabs, drank tea. Laundry drying all over the flat. Read a few chapters of The Matchmaker of Perigord. Listened to Daniel Schmachtenberger and Desert Island Discs podcast (Annie Nightingale) – polar opposites. Napped. Only one or two fireworks all evening. Dwelled on J – la dee da dee da.

18 thoughts on “Notes From A Fragile Island.

    1. Hard to believe, I know. But, for a moment there, the right hand of the road dedicated to smoking cyclists clad in charity… The Spanish City/The Brandenburg Gate in the autumn sunlight… eine nostalgische Fantasie, pet! 😉 x

      Liked by 1 person

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