Tuesday 20th December, 16:26
I didn’t sleep much on Saturday night – maybe an hour and a half. Saturday night was split-up night, you see, and split-up nights, predominantly and quite rightfully, are sleepless nights. Split-up nights are dreadful.
When the split-up came – creeping up on me like the shadow of a knife that disappeared when confronted, making me think that maybe, just maybe I was imagining things – I was chagrined that I happened to have a friend over for five days. It didn’t seem fair on my friend that he had to have his valuable vacation time eaten up by the clichéd clusterfuck of wretchedness and wrath that follows on from any unforeseen break-up. But then I realised that if it hadn’t been for my friend being here, it would have been so, so, so, so, so much worse.
In the end I was able, with my friend’s help, to become quite epically intoxicated, and then, in that state, to spend a couple of days singing sometimes quite fierce songs about The Death of Love. Although aesthetically it may not have been my best work, it was tremendously cathartic. My throat still hurts.
Graham, who had previously visited just after I first moved out here in June, came back out for five days. We hired a car for a few days so I could get some insulation and steal some abandoned sleepers from an unmanned train station. Unfortunately we didn’t get the insulation because the place we went to had sold out, and then, my heart was all cracked and weeping so I decided I really didn’t give a fuck if I froze to death this winter and would rather just ditch the car and get wasted. We didn’t get any sleepers either, because they were too big for the car and on closer inspection, rather more bitumen-grody than I had hitherto imagined. I wanted to make steps and path borders out of them, you see, before they’re carted off to Italy to be burned. This, apparently, is their fate. Quite possibly mine too. We shall see.
So we didn’t really use the car to its full advantage. Plus it rained for three days solid so we were unable to get much work done outside. What we did do, however, apart from play and sing and draw and laugh and drink and smoke and chop and burn, was rescue something I found in the forest a couple of months ago. A living thing from long ago.
You might not agree that it’s a living thing when you see it. You might think a thing made or solid iron with blades and wheels and spokes and sprockets could never be a living thing. Not really. Not living living. And yeah, strictly speaking, you’d be right. Strictly speaking. But speaking strictly is overrated.
When I first found it in the woods, the trees were still dressed for the summer and it wasn’t until I was within a couple of metres of it that I actually made eye contact. At first I didn’t know what it was. I just saw skeletal wheels and giant wonky teeth. The wheels still seemed to move, although it was too heavy and too hemmed in by foliage and undergrowth for me to move it by myself. I wanted to move it though. I immediately wanted to bring it up from the bottom of the land, where it had been cruelly abandoned, to the plateau round the back of the house, where it could sit like an exhibit, not in a museum, but in a kind of adventure playground. But I had to wait for help.
Getting the thing from the forest to the lane at the end of the land was the hardest part as we had to cut up and remove some dead trees first. Once on the lane though, which is actually less of a lane and more of a potholed, weather-damaged drive, we took a wheel each and pushed, letting the steel bar of the reins act as a brake for when we needed a rest. We turned right at the shed and kept pushing. After maybe half an hour, maybe a little less, we had it in place on the plateau, like a big toothy diva on a dirty old stage.
Behold – The Hun:
So there it is. All I need to do now is clean it up and paint it and I’ve got an adventure playground for kittens and voles and whatnot. And I haven’t even told you about the retreat idea yet. Aaaah, you see? Who needs love?