Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Today - I should

Today, I should have practised Chi Gong when I pulled myself from bed, concentrating thoughts upon my coccyx. But, a little girl was snuggled in my morning darkness, whispering about her nose. I should have walked upon the beach and breathed in saline air; dragged my eyes from the digital screen and the revisions. This morning, I read pages of Virginia Wolff, switching the writer switch on. Recently, I took this photo of the sand. Unexpectedly, afterwards, I thought of Yves Tanguy, Leonora, floating sand and dancing deserts. Today, I should have, could have, would have. This weekend, a friend told me that as a little blond-haired boy in Southern France, he would try and change the course of time. He would stop halfway on his journey to school, stand still and examine his feet. He was convinced that by his stopping the whole world could transform because he wouldn't be where he was supposed to be at any given time. Then, he explained, came his utter disappointment as the school bell always rang at it's regular hour.  Should, would, could have done, making everyday be...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

more bread

I can't seem to stop this making of bread. I don't follow a recipe, but feel the flour and water, a spot of milk, a sprinkle of salt. It's an intuitive process, a break from the lining up of words, the structuring of chapters, the revisions of manuscripts.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The evening

Tick tock goes the clock on the upturned wine crate that serves as my bedside table. Reaching into the tender clean sheets, toes curl at the thought of sleep. The books are piled in a crumpled heap, waiting to be read. Dust lurks in the space where objects end, creeping around my room. Hiding beneath a solace of blankets,  hear the purr of passing cars. So soft the evening gloom.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Today we walk on the beach at low tide. Grey clouds paper the sky. A fine drizzle of rain coats the air. Everywhere is empty, uncovered, flat and raw. The sea has gone somewhere to dance with someone else. Seagulls streak across the sky. Puddles lap against brown sand, whispers of what is to come. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012


I have started baking bread again. I once did this before, before children, book-writing and job juggling. " I don't have the time now", I would say to my myself, baking bread takes time. Then, sometime in December, I baked a fruit loaf for one daughter, an enriched dough, studded with tiny black raisins, a melt in your mouth bread to be served with English tea in a cup and saucer, with a drop of milk. After the fruit loaf came some white bread, then, a brown loaf and then, another. "We are a family of boulangeres", my eldest daughter said. I giggled and stuck my hands back into the bowl of flour. For now, I am letting yeast bubble in a bowl of warm water, sprinkled with a taste of sugar. Having created a well in my mountain of flour, I mix until the sticky mess becomes a smooth warm ball, comfortable as a freshly laid egg. I knead, fold and work with my dough, muscles tighten and relax, I can feel it with my toes. I am dampening tea towels, letting things rise and then kneading a second time. I bake, turn the loaf, tap to hear a hollow echo. Baking bread. I found some time.

January morning 4 : this morning

This morning is wrapped in soft grey rain; tiny drops of water like champagne bubbles, the wind and a heavy, charcoal sky. "Lets stay at home", I long to say to the children, "- put on bobble hats, thick socks and hide under the duvet eating buttery toast and coco pops". Instead, we bundle on coats, shove hats on heads and venture out into the darkness.

January morning 3: On the train

I drink my almost cold, microwave heated coffee, eat a sliced bread sandwich filled with a skim of butter covered with pear and apple spread. Opposite me, a tailored, tall, middle-aged man reads the Figaro newspaper. He wears frameless glasses, a well-cut winter coat, a tousle of grey hair and a whiff of aftershave. I imagine his midriff as plump, from too much Christmas foie gras. He has slip on black shoes and a neat beak of an acquiline nose. His mouth purses as he reads, pulling skin forward from a slowly sagging jaw. He would, I imagine tickle a grandchild with glee, sack an employee fearlessly and must of tasted the forbidden delight of une maitresse. At least, this is what I imagine from my seat on the train as we travel through an early January hour.

January morning 2: On the train

On the train, two teenage girls, in beige and black puffas, describe late nights, sleeping and lost loves, whilst a third, quiet girl listens. She scratches freshly washed hair with a bitten nail and fervently texts someone, somewhere. Under the citric glow of the carriage lamps, we speed through the early morning winter darkness. I drink black coffee, eat a spelt bread sandwich and dream of another day.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

january morning 1: the pieces of my dream

As I lie in early January darkness, the pieces of my dream clamber from the sleep abyss, climb up using ropes, hands, legs and strengthened pelvic floor muscles, pulling themselves into my morning and an attempted awakening. The dream pieces struggle alone, chaotically, smells mingle with sound, until I put them together, join the pieces ensemble; trying to remember who went where and why, which dark-haired woman put on plays and lived in China and held my hand softly as I explained ? Why does the sun set so beautifully behind the University Georgian buildings, casting a cherished golden haze? And, who is the twinkle-eyed boy that I am chasing, chasing, chasing in the corridors? I grab some of the pieces and lay them in a line, try to create an order, a narrative, a something from the pieces. Then, I get up, get dressed and drink Chun Mee green tea as my family sleeps. The morning has begun.