Day Five :: Building things…

Sunday 5th June. 16:40.

So I slept late today, and deliberately so because I had a very poor night’s sleep. What felt like every 20 minutes or so I’d wake up scratching my spotty body like a man covered in ants. The rash that started out on my neck has now popped up in various patches on my arms, legs, belly and chest. I have no idea what’s causing it. All I know is that it itches like crazy and looks to my untrained eye like genital warts. I know that’s unlikely, particularly because at the moment, they’ve cropped up just about everywhere except my genitals. Touch wood.

I wonder if it could just be excessive sweating and lack of regular washing. That doesn’t seem unreasonable. But then my brother-in-law wasn’t afflicted. But then he doesn’t sweat like a wookie in a hot-tub. I do. I think I have hyperhidrosis. I hope I never have to wear a wire.

Speaking of –osises, my first thought, and one which reoccurred to me each time I woke in the night and smelled something I couldn’t put my finger on, was asbestosis. Could the first sign of asbestosis be an outbreak of body-based genital warts? Of course it could. I see no reason why not. But without the internet, I have no way of knowing. I really think I need to get the internet. And electricity would come in very handy too. And water. Water would be wicked. We forget how important these things are – or we take them for granted. And there’s no reason we shouldn’t take them for granted I guess. It’s not as if the water’s going to run out in 30 years and we’re all going to be reduced to wandering the parched earth looking for well-stocked cellars like that chap in The Road. I wonder if he had asbestosis.

I have been sweating a lot though. Yestafternoon I set about a number of tasks, none of which in the end I was destined to finish. The first task was the building of a log-house. Which is not to say a house made out of logs, but rather a shelter in which to house the logs that I’m making from the trees that I’m cutting down. To keep them dry and organised. I’m sure there’s a better word for this kind of thing, but frankly my brain is lousy without the internet.

So I was making a log-den – a covered woodpile, maybe that’s it – but it was then that the rains came and I decided that some kind of shelter attached to the side of the house was actually a much more pressing concern. Something to keep the generator and the camping stove and the various fuels and electrical-cum-mechanical items sheltered from the elements.

So I went to the shed at the bottom of the drive where I’d previously seen a few pole-types things laid along the rafters of the roof. I thought I might find something appropriate there with which to make some kind of lean-to. To my absolute astonishment, rather than a few poles, I found the metal framework of what I think might be quite a large marquee. Unfortunately they’re not all there and many of those that are are rusted to the point that they no longer slot together, but frankly, it’s more of a head-start than I ever expected and I was very excited. However, once I’d carried the poles back to the house, I realised I had to move everything from the side of the house, including the fire area.

Which was when I started building a fire area at the back of the house, in the non-vegetable-growing area. It was only when I began to dig a square pit for a new fire, however, that I realised just how rocky it was. I should have a photo to show you at this point but I’m not sure it’ll do justice to the rockiness of the ground.


Basically, there is about two, two-and-a-half inches of reasonable soil, then it becomes what I can only assume is sandstone (based on the fact that I do not have the internet and that the stone is the colour of sand). In order to build the pit for the fire – and I have no idea why I was intent on building a pit for the fire, but I bloody was – I had to get the pickaxe out. So I was breaking rocks in the hot sun, shovelling them into a wheelbarrow and carrying them off to pile them up elsewhere. And believe me, I was sweating. I mean, really sweating. Sweating like a sprinkler in a rich woman’s garden. I don’t believe I have ever sweated so much. Except perhaps during vigorous intercourse in a daring climate – but that is perhaps more information than you imagine you require.

So yeah, this rash could be sweat-related. And hygiene-related. I sincerely hope Simon can find a friend of his tomorrow who can fix the plumbing, and quickly. I would like nothing more than to lie in a cold bath for twenty minutes.

So this morning it was only the preparation of cheese and toast and the befriending of a butterfly that pulled me out of my first French fug.

Seriously, until this morning, I honestly never dreamed it was possible for a man to have a meaningful relationship with a butterfly. Nelly arrived just as I set about making my coffee and toast. Her full name is Penelope, but she answers to Nelly. When I saw her, I said hello and commented on how pretty she was. She fluttered around flirtatiously for a while before alighting on one of the metal poles nearby. I think she sensed that I was a little sad because of my rash and so she danced around and allowed me to get close enough to photograph her.

 
It was during one of those up close and personal moments that I swear – and I know this will sound silly – but I swear she winked at me. I held out my hand for her to come sit upon me, but I don’t think she trusts me quite enough yet. She will, she will.

 

I miss music. I have a little set of digital speakers but for some reason I’ve yet to discover, they’re not working – but even when they are working, it’ll be tough to connect them to my laptop because for the two-and-a-half hours a day I have enough battery, I need to write and not listen to music. So this morning, whilst eating my breakfast, I put on my iPod. The clouds had already drifted over the sun by the time Paranoid Android came on, but when it came to the ‘rain down, come on rain down on me’ bit, they darkened considerably. Really – it was like Glastonbury that time, that famous occasion when the heavens opened during a live performance of the song. Oh dear – was it Glastonbury or some other festival? No internet. No certainty.

 

When the rains came, I went indoors and decided that Sunday would from now on be house-day. Well, maybe not from now on – but certainly today. So I went indoors and finally put the wardrobe together. I know you’re yearning for a photo of said wardrobe, but really, it’s not that great.

 

Then I did some more indoorsy organisation and quite consciously put off cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen.

 

Throughout all the indoorsy stuff I kept my iPod on and sang along to everything the shuffle function threw at me with great glorious gusto. It was absolutely marvellous, and something I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do before. All of my life I’ve been paranoid about noise. I think it was a result of the noisy, inconsiderate neighbours we had when I was a kid. The Robinsons. It used to drive me mad and as a consequence, I’ve always been a little overly anxious about loud music or loud TV noise wherever I’ve lived. (Except, unsurprisingly, when I’ve been drunk. My consideration tends to be considerably lessened under the insolent influence of alcohol.) But here, I can make all the noise I like. And I love it.

 

God, there’s so much to write about. Maybe I should be more selective. Am I boring you? Well, I guess you’ll bugger off if I am. Adieu, adieu, remember me. The thing is, I find it all completely fascinating, and I write it all here because, well, because I’m an egomaniac I guess. No, no, it’s not just that. It’s also because this is my only real link with my life in the UK, the old country, and I want to maintain that link. And I hope that some of it might be interesting to you, wherever you are, maybe sitting at your office desk or stuck sweating on an overstuffed train.

 

Heh.

 

At around 3.30, the sun came out again. I prepared myself a sandwich and put the generator on to charge my phone and laptop.

 

Nelly came back too and we carried on flirting. Then another butterfly turned up, identical to Nelly, and he chased her around for a while. It was then that I realised that Nelly was probably only flirting with me to make him – Conrad – jealous. Ah well. I still enjoyed the attention.

 

Gosh, only two days without company and already I’m fantasising about having relationships with insects. Excellent.

 

As I write this, the fleeting sun has once again been swallowed whole by dark ugly cloud. Bloody weather.

 

Oh, that reminds me. I’ve had another idea to explain away the rash. It’s hopefully even more ridiculous than the other ideas. It occurred to me that maybe – in some horrific sideswipe of karmic retribution – I’ve become allergic to sunshine. You see, when I possessed by Stan, I pretended that he was allergic to sunshine. So maybe, you know… nah. It’s probably just muck.

 

A plus tard.

 

x

 

 

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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