Monday, January 06, 2014

I am pleased to announce a new addition to my family...

...of Mactintoshes, that is.  Heh.

It's the white one in the middle (an old-fashioned ipad mini without retina display now being sold off by various retailers).   I've been hankering after one of these little babies for some time - and now I have one!  Welcome to the world, Little Pippin.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Street Views

Today, my father would have been eight-one years old.  Tonight, I happened to come across the house where he would have been born.  It still stands.  Yellow paintwork instead of blue, the silver-painted conch shells along the top of the wall and the roses behind all gone.  Old gardens have been excavated, the network of workshops gone, and in their place a concrete yard selling gas cylinders.  There is a bathroom upstairs now, I expect, and an indoor toilet.  But, despite this, the place seems more austere: like a new plastic seat instead of an old worn leather one.

My brothers and I used to watch the cattle trucks going past from that garden.  We used to race through the corrugated iron sheds where my grandfather used to work his stone.  One forbidden kingdom leading into the next: lino floor then cinder, each door more stiff to open than the last.  Once we came across a pigeon my grandmother was tending while its wing healed.  On high days I was given half a crown to spend in Woolworths, and I was allowed to walk there alone -  dodging the places where the wedges of pavement disappeared into corners.  I'd buy pens, paper, crayons and then take them back to one of those green sheds to make books out of pieces of wallpaper.  Beneath my feet the marble chips crunched.  Against the green-painted furrowed walls the slate leant waiting for an inscription.

I zoom out on Street View.  Wait while the clunky software reveals the front.  It's still there.   A piece of slate the size of a post card next to the new aluminium front door:  D. W. Jenkins and Son.  And for a moment it seems like my father is still there too: touching the newly-incised letters with his fingers.  Monumental Masons.  The presumption that he'll take up the family trade.  Knowing even then it is something he'll never follow.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Resolutions (and What I'm Doing: 41)

Read more!  Write more!  Exercise more! Nag more!  (Some of these things may come to me more easily than others...) And I must also learn more about the place where I live.

So, in order to start on the last one first I have open before me Roman Chester: City of Eagles by David J.P. Mason because the first people who seem to have come to my city were the poor old Romans.  They must have been freezing.  Every time I think of them I imagine them in sandals and no socks.

On my Kindle I am reading Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux.  I have downloaded this on the recommendation of a friend.  So far it looks good.

On my Ipod I am listening to Orlando by Virginia Woolf read by Clare Higgins for the Chester Literature Festival Book Club.  This morning I looked at their proposed titles for this year and decided to try and work my way through them.  I'm sure it will be good for me.