Friday, 23 May 2014

I Summarise Eliot's Four Quartets

Burnt Norton

It's about time.  How it passes and stays still, and how this is a matter for regret and for dwelling on loss.

East Coker

It's about time.  How it passes and how sexual potency lessens with age, and how this is a matter for regret for lost love.

The Dry Salvages

It's about time.  How it passes and how this is a blessing and a curse, and how desire is experienced differently in the moment and in the memory, and how this is a matter for regret for lost innocence.

Little Gidding

It's about time.  How it passes and you end up in the same place you started, and how this would be a matter for regret to the point of not setting off in the first place if you knew it in advance, which you never will.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

I Glue My Fingers

Last weekend, I knocked a blue and white pottery bowl from its place on my desk.  It broke cleanly into three pieces.

A little while later, I put the pieces onto some newspaper, squeezed superglue onto their unglazed brown edges and held them together to reform the bowl.  When I released my grip, it fell into four pieces.

Undeterred, I applied more glue to the porous surfaces to fix the newly broken piece together.  When I let it go, the break had not mended, but my index finger was stuck to my thumb.

My mother bought the bowl from the Aldermaston Pottery thirty-five years ago.  When I was a teenager in the 1980s, most people associated Aldermaston with the UK's nuclear weapons programme and CND's protests.  I associate its name with beautiful pottery.  My mother bought a few items at a time and over a period of about ten years she built up a dinner service complete with soup bowls, dinner plates, mugs, pudding bowls, serving dishes and a coffee pot.  We used it every day - it was too lovely to save for best.

Prised apart, my fingers felt as if they had been flattened and lost their prints.  I spent the rest of the day rubbing them together, trying to regain their identities.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

I Dance Alone

I didn't feel at ease until I learnt to dance alone.

There was nothing to learn, except to understand the need to push back the table, to dress for the dance as if dressing for a lover, to choose music which moves with itself.

There was nothing to learn, but that the moment I kick off my shoes, the moment I turn down the lights, the moment I dance for myself, is the moment I feel free.

Friday, 9 May 2014

I Catch Three Trains

In order to get home from work today, I caught three trains within fifty minutes, this despite there being a direct line from Wrexham General to Shrewsbury and roughly one train per hour in each direction.

One minute into my first train journey, I realised I'd left my purse on my desk.  My purse contained my return ticket, my Shrewsbury Coffeehouse loyalty card, and everything else.  I searched through my bag, calculating my chances of getting past the ticket barriers at Shrewsbury and managing a weekend without my bank card. I searched through my bag again.  And again.

I got off the train at the next station and crossed over the bridge to the opposite platform.  Four minutes later, I was headed back to Wrexham.

I spent the six minutes it takes to travel from Ruabon to Wrexham General imagining what I'd say if the guard came along the carriage checking tickets.  I regretted wearing my pink coat.  By the time we reached Wrexham, I still hadn't decided on the best approach.  

Back at the office, I found my purse where I'd left it.  

On my way out, I bumped into a colleague.  We chatted about the day, solved a few issues and laughed at some absurdities.  

As I walked to Wrexham General, I wondered whether buying a return ticket to Ruabon for my earlier free journeys would be interpreted by Arriva Trains Wales as a sign of my gratitude  for the benefits of their timetabling.

Monday, 5 May 2014

I Sing A Solo

When listening to choral music, as I have been this evening, I find it hard not to sing along.  A particular temptation is How Beautiful Are The Feet from Handel's Messiah.  This is a lovely solo aria, and I am not a soloist.

The good thing, for everyone else, is that I usually restrict my singing along to times when I'm alone.  I know intellectually that my voice adds nothing to, and in fact detracts from, any performance by a well-trained soprano.  But I love singing, and as a girl in a church choir, I used to dream that one day I would be asked to sing a solo part.

My singing along got a bit out of hand at a party I went to last Christmas.  Past midnight - and past a few bottles - my lovely host was at the piano accompanying various songs which everyone else seemed to know. Noticing my floundering attempts to join in, she kindly asked me if I had a request.

Without missing a beat, I suggested How Beautiful Are The Feet.  No one else knew it, but I didn't let that stop me. Everything seemed possible on a starry winter's night with friends, good food and wine.  I waited for the intro, then stood and sang, much to everyone's surprise.

I sang recklessly, with abandon and without attention to details of rhythm and tune.

The next morning I woke to a dawning realisation, and burst out laughing.