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

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?