Perhaps we are drawn to people, places, objects for a reason. In order to locate ourselves we continually make connections.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Skip to the beat

He wanted to assess my heart. "Don't worry about a thing, in any shape or form" he said. I settled down to a quiet slumber. A few hours had passed when suddenly, without warning he burst into the room. He hadn't told me he was going to do this. My heart beat stepped up a gear. He looked at me to judge my reaction. "Chill" he mumbled, "lie back down and go to sleep". Next, he gave me a hefty dose of anxiety. I looked across at him, hoping to see him in control, but as I did he fell over. Was this part of the experiment? The result - instant tachycardia.

I realised I'd not consented to any of this treatment. What was I doing here anyway? Perhaps this was more of an answer, than a question.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Silent resignation

A couple sat behind me on the train reminiscing about a time when they had visited the town we were passing through. "We were at that junction for a long time, do you remember?" he asked her. "Yes, before we could turn", she replied. For such a strange conversation, I could relate to what they were saying. It seemed as though I'd been at this junction for a long time and I still hadn't decided whether to go left or right. Left looked appealing, exciting even, but right looked familiar, as if I'd been down that road before - maybe that was safer? I sat and waited.

"We walked along that path there", he said in a monotone voice. "Yes, we were carrying things" she said, with a subtle hint of pleasure. It seemed such a banal thing to remember, unless the items were of some significance. And if they were, there was a mutual understanding between the two of them. Words weren't needed to explain it as they sat in silence for the rest of the journey. They seemed to talk only in fragmented sentences. The gaps were filled by silent resignation.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Back to front and inside out

She looked at me through tear-filled eyes. "I just feel so angry", she expressed.

She was angry, but her body language suggested otherwise. It was puzzling - why anger should manifest itself in a feeble sob? It seemed all at odds, opposites, as to how it should be. Like wearing a t-shirt back to front and inside out.

Perhaps this is a fundamental 'design-fault' of the right side of the brain controlling the left side of the body and vice-versa? Maybe sometimes the messages go the wrong way and the right connections just aren't fired off?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Missing connection

It's hard to know whether to follow your head or your heart. I've been thinking about ways to reach some kind of conclusion. But using my head in this way wasn't helping. Being in such a state of flux was draining. I reclined and flicked through the local magazine, until I came across an advert for palm reading at an event being held in the park. I've never entertained the idea before but somehow it seemed pertinent.

I walked into the tent, expecting to see a woman, but to my surprise a man was sat there staring at me through half open eyes. I smiled. He didn't reciprocate. I blushed. He didn't. He was serious. I tried to be.

I'd removed any clues from my hands so that he could examine the bare facts. He took hold of my left hand and looked at my palm. He inhaled sharply and put his hand to his mouth. My heart was racing. He pulled at his lips in a way that suggested he was in a state of contemplation. "I've never seen so many lines" he said eventually. "Yes but what do they mean?" I asked impatiently.

"Impossible to say, it's too complex. But there does seem to be a line missing" he said. "What line?" I enquired. "Its the line that connects the future with the past" he replied.

"It means there's a wholesale change looming."

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Lost and found

I was sat near the driver when the following announcement came on: -

"A man is missing. Please advise tram staff to look out for him. He's 75, has a red complexion and sort grey hair, a beige coat and has dementia. He's dropped his tram pass, which the police have found, so he may get on with nothing."

It struck me that just because he didn't have his tram pass, didn't mean that he had 'nothing'. Or maybe a ticket to ride is everything? I looked up and down the tram in an attempt to find him, but there was no sign.

Perhaps it's necessary to lose yourself in order to be found?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Tokyo Blue

It seemed to come out the blue. And that was how I was feeling, so it was apt. Yet it was a darker shade of blue. Darker even than Tokyo Blue. It was like driving along at high speed and suddenly noticing your turning. And then just for a few seconds everything slows right down while you try and figure out what to do.

I couldn't let my eyes settle on anything. I was surrounded by connections, memories. Everywhere I looked there was meaning without clarity.

"We need to accelerate this decision." I was trying hard to put my foot on the pedal but we weren't going any faster. In fact we weren't going anywhere.

Monday, 5 April 2010

The proof of the pudding is in the eating

I was feeling topsy-turvy. It was hard to weigh up. It felt a bit like being in the middle of making gluten free pastry. This kind of baking has a lot of precision attached to it - there's no guessing at quantities. It has to be exact, or you have to be prepared for there to be tears over spilt milk and crumbling tarts. There's a definite knack to it. You have to be patient for one, persist when things don't work out the way you hoped, go back over techniques you thought you'd sussed and re-learn them, repair bits that break up / off, look like its not getting on your nerves and at the end of it all, be prepared for it not to taste like 'real' pastry, but still try and enjoy it.

Compromise. I'm told it's all about compromise. But at what point do you decide that actually it doesn't tantalize your taste-buds anymore and you should try a new recipe? Or should you persevere and think that it's an 'acquired' taste? And how long does an acquired taste take to acquire? The trouble is, by the time you've answered all these questions its past the sell by date and you're not hungry anymore.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Revolving Doors and See-saws

They say what goes around comes around. It was a busy office block, one with a glass window exterior. So you could see exactly what was going on inside, except for rooms where the blinds were shut. And even then you could see featureless shadows maneuvering about. It was one of those moments when it was hard to do anything else but watch and wonder why? I couldn't help but notice the size of a woman's calf muscles (they were huge) as she walked backwards and forwards, carrying different papers with her.

Every so often she stopped and talked to a man. They laughed, exchanged papers and then returned to their respective offices, which were located directly above/below one another. After a while I noticed a pattern forming. As the day progressed they both, independently of each other, got up and made their way to the other one's office. She took the stairs, he took the lift. She took the escalators, he took the stairs. This went on and on. But the longer they did it, the less their paths crossed. Until the very end of the day when they both left the building via the revolving door. For a short time their energies were channelled in the same direction, before peeling off and losing themselves in the crowd.

It struck me that it was rather like child's play in an adult world. Except on a see-saw you're working in tandom.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

She wondered lonely as a cloud

Getting away felt good. A change of scenery, a new perspective. I felt I was rediscovering something I'd lost. Something I'd lost a long time ago. But now I know I can do it. One good thing about being on the move is that your surroundings are forever changing. The danger of being trapped in stagnant thought seems to minimise. Ironically you take yourself with you - you are static even though you're on the move. So your only point of reference is yourself, but it changes position as you travel. Perhaps it changes as you travel further away from things you know?

I watched a young woman as she stared out of the window. We were high above the clouds by this point, but she didn't wander anywhere. In fact she was very static for the duration of the journey. Almost statuesque. She looked lonely. A tear rolled from her eye. She wiped it away but another ran down her nose and splashed onto her hand. I wondered what it was that made her so sad?
She thought noone had noticed, so I smiled and pretended I hadn't either.

Somebody said before I had gone, that nothing will change if you go away. Everything just follows you. And as I returned I came to think maybe they were right. I found myself in her seat. In her exact position in fact.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

When will I see you again?

She walked boldly up to him. A sheet of glass separated them. She asked for a return ticket but was unsure as to when she would be traveling back. The response was curt and unexpected, "I don't care when you come back, it doesn't matter to me. You can come back whenever you like, I'm not bothered."

It was a trivial situation but it undoubtedly did matter. To have someone being bothered about whether you'll come back.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Love is blind

I watched him feel his way along the outside of the building using his hands to guide him. He reached the revolving door and walked in. I noticed that he didn't have a stick, but carried his hat in his hand and was muttering something incomprehensible to himself. As I walked past him he said "hello, how are you my friend?". Turning his head towards me, he uttered "you're beautiful".

I wondered what he really saw?

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Empty seats

I wandered down the narrow passageway, up some stairs and round another corner, only to discover a screening of a film I saw years ago. I'd originally read the book, which was fantastic, but the emotional impact of a well written story rarely translates to the reality of the big screen. Despite this I very much enjoyed the film version at the time - it was a mixture of excitement with that tinge of uncertainty as to how it would unfold. But the ending had always seemed inconclusive and vague to me. It was never quite the same as the images conjured up in my mind on reading the paperback. Nevertheless it was a film that had a big impact on me - I can visualize the plot virtually scene by scene, albeit through the misted glaze of time passed.

At the back there was a row of empty seats, so I took a pew and waited to watch the familiar opening sequence. The atmosphere was one of anticipation. There seemed to be a delay before it finally got underway - some technical hitch or other. Music started and the opening credits began.

I watched the whole thing through from start to finish. Looking around me I could see people in tears, gripped to the point of becoming part of the story, as I had been all those years ago. But I was unmoved. The funny thing, was that I didn't even feel disappointed. It was as if I was watching it in a foreign language without subtitles.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

The colour red

I keep having chance encounters involving fruit and vegetables. This occurred some weeks back and I've been pontificating over it ever since. I'd been shopping after work and managed to gather a heavy basket of food. I decided that I had harvested enough when a tomato dropped from my grasp and rolled across the floor. It stopped next to a man's foot. I bashfully bent down to retrieve the lost item and joined the queue. I was busy bagging my goods when I couldn't help but be distracted by the bling on the checkout assistants hairy arm. He wore a chunky gold linked bracelet and a big ring which sparkled with lots of tiny diamonds. I picked up the last orange as it rolled down the checkout. I started to walk away when he looked me right in the eye and said very purposefully, "Be good". It almost made me lose my footing. I wondered what on earth he meant? Why did he say that to me?

As I made my way out of the shop, I heard a mans voice "Excuse me", I didn't realise he was talking to me, so I kept on walking. He called after me, "Excuse me, is this your glove?". It was the man who's foot I had almost turned red and now it was me who was becoming that hue. He had steely eyes and wore a long black coat. In his hand he was holding my black leather glove.

I was thinking about this brief encounter a few days later, when I suddenly noticed a street opposite that was inviting me to investigate it. I set off and purposefully walked towards it.

Sunday, 14 February 2010


"So are you doing anything special for Valentines Day?" she asked as she worked the shampoo into my hair. "No" I replied. It seemed that this was an unsatisfactory response. It was a total conversation stopper as she didn't utter another word to me for the whole of the "relaxing scalp massage".
Had I better do something? Make the effort?

I met my friend in town and we headed straight for the 'beauty department'. We were giggling away like teenagers, trying to draw straight edges with liquid liners and pouting into the mirror. It was clear that we needed some direction. We had to take this more seriously, I mean our futures might depend upon it. And we were in the beauty department, this was no place to be fooling around. But Valentine's Day never really inspires spontaneous affection or true romance, it's all so commercial. Was I just disillusioned? As we meandered back to the car, masked under the guise of Chanel, a man dressed in black handed us each a single red rose.

The next morning, Valentines morning, the ice-cream van passed the house, playing its familiar and overly loud tune. But there was a different feel about it today. I glanced at the clock. He was early. Fifteen minutes early. I wondered how many men on the street would be abseiling out their bedroom windows, traversing ledges and walking the tightrope on telegraph cables, to reach him before he disappeared round the corner; asking for raspberry ripple or a 99 with a flake, so that they could stride heroically back to their women? Like the man from the milk tray adverts. And all because the lady loves...

That's it - I'm going to audition for the next advert - I want to be the hand that reaches for the mysterious card left on top of the box of chocolates.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Eating snow

It was a cold and crisp evening amidst the falling snow. There was a queue of traffic alongside the footpath where I walked. I was busy allowing my thoughts to pendulum from one thing to another when a man in a car wound down his window, smiled at me and said "How does the snow taste?". I hadn't purposefully been trying to eat it but it was falling at such an angle that it was floating straight into my face and consequently the odd flake hit my mouth. I smiled back at him and continued walking.

I went another 50 yards and a woman holding a transparent umbrella passed me. Unlike her younger counterpart a few days previously, she was looking at her feet with a sullen expression on her face. And this disappointed me. So much so that I almost wished I hadn't seen her.

Perhaps if I'd kept on walking, eventually everything would be repeated but from a slightly changed perspective?

Monday, 8 February 2010

Transparent innocence

As I was stuck in the hum-drum of rush hour traffic I saw a young girl skipping down the road wearing a huge smile on her face. Every so often she stopped, tilted her head back, opened her mouth wide and ate some falling snow. I could see through her transparent umbrella to her endearing innocence and freedom. I was transported back a quarter of a century to the green tops of Golden Cap. I can still remember the brimming excitement as I burst out with this spontaneous phrase, "Let's do something exciting. Let's run!"

All of a sudden I had an urge to get out the car and skip down the road.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Unidentified Flying Object

I watched a woman walking up and down for some time in what appeared to be a state of physical indecision. She looked serious. She meant business. Quite abruptly she turned on her heel and headed off down the road. I was curious as to what it was she had decided to do. So I followed her from a distance. She went straight to a man she knew. She knew him well, because he didn't give her any kind of welcome - he was used to her being there obviously.

She declared her state of mind to him and her impending need to act on it this time. He barely looked up from what he was doing. "But we've got a lot. We've got everything" he said. She didn't look convinced and was still pacing up and down. In his hands he was holding an electrical box which was tangled with lots of wires. She tried again to express her frustration and make some kind of connection with him. Her voice wobbled.

"I want to get the best out of what we've got. So that's what I'm going to do" he asserted. She looked deflated and turned again to leave. I had to act quickly she was heading back in my direction. Not knowing what to do, I started to run towards her. Just as we were about to pass each other I caught sight of something flying through the sky high above us. It looked extraordinary and I ground to halt to watch it. It appeared to be a miniature hot air balloon with a roaring orange flame, traveling at quite a speed.

Unable to engage with the outside world she walked past me, not noticing the oddness of the situation.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


I returned home and as I 'clip-clopped' down the path to the back door I noticed traces of a mans footsteps in the snow. One of them looked enormous and I had a sudden thought that I might be about to confront a giant. But then I realised that his backwards and forwards footsteps had become one at that point - he'd retraced his steps almost exactly. They walked into the garden, right down to the shed and back again. If the snow hadn't been there I wouldn't have known. What was he doing in the back garden anyway? The house was empty and no-one should have been there.

I wondered what else happened without a trace when the snow isn't there?

Sunday, 31 January 2010

Backwards & Forwards

His text message read "Going backwards is often easier for some reason". I thought about why this would be and realised it made perfect sense. If you're going forwards, you're being propelled into the unknown, the future that hasn't yet occurred. Which is both exciting and daunting at the same time. Whereas if you go backwards, you're staying within your comfort zone. With things that are familiar. It seemed to me that a healthy balance of both was necessary. But did this mean that for the whole journey I needed to keep changing seats? Maybe when you sit in one seat you just know that that's the one you'll stay in for the duration? And would this seat be going forwards or backwards?

I was interrupted from these thoughts by the squelching sound of a couple in the seat opposite me, kissing, non-stop for what seemed like an eternity. They hadn't come up for air for some time and I was aware that my First Aid certificate had run out. I mean, I'd done de-fib training at work, but there was no machine here. I decided they didn't need me, they were resuscitating themselves plentifully. All I could do was distract myself by looking out the window at the passing landscape.