Sunday, September 06, 2015

Barbara Pym

When I went to Fraser's Hill that second time I started reading a book that someone had left behind. It was a book by Barbara Pym. I didn't get very far because I had to leave (and return the book to the Smokehouse's library) but I remember loving it, loving the way she wrote and the English countryside she wrote about...and always wanting to go back to reading it. Or at least, a book by her.

Well I suddenly remembered about it when I was at Silverfish and I ordered some books by her. Well, two to be exact. And the first one arrived and my colleague, who happened to be in Silverfish, picked it up for me.

The book I got was a collection. I have read the first two stories - Civil to Strangers (it's simply exquisite, there is no other word to describe it) and Gervase and Flora. Gervase, surprisingly, is Henry Harvey, the man she loved (maybe all her life) who wrote letters to her but didn't return her feelings.

She wrote doggedly for years, even when publishers decided that she had gone out of fashion (publishers are stupid sometimes, and will do that) and suddenly in 1977, she was "rediscovered", only three years before she died. Then, people dug up her books, her manuscripts, her letters and even her diaries and published everything. It seemed the public could not get enough of her. So much for "out of fashion".

I still haven't moved properly. My room (in this house, my father's house) is a tip with everything scattered everywhere. I find when I come here, I have not the energy to move. I have set up a dining table with two chairs. Two more chairs to go. Maybe I'll do it this evening.

I feel very unsettled, but that's my fault. My phone has run out of battery, but I don't care about that.

I made chicken vindaloo and asparagus belacan for lunch. The asparagus won't keep (it is hugely popular and there was too little of it) but the chicken will, For a bit, anyway.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

I Want To Go Home

Do we ever really let go of the ones we love? Today is a day for memories. I am being assailed. I think I have got over them, the ones I loved, the ones I lost, but something rises up to remind me and the pain is sharp and deep.

Even if it was right for them to go and there is no way I would want them back in the condition they were in.

Even then, I miss them.

Because I am no longer sure I believe in an Afterlife. I am no longer sure that is not some comforting fairy tale we tell ourselves so we feel less desolate, less overtaken by loss.

Mum, where are you now?

Arnold, where are you now?

Do you know I love you? Do you know how much I still miss you? Do you know that I am still lost and I haven't been able to find my way? Do you know most days I am tired and disorganised and I wish so much, so much, that I could just go home and lay my head on a  comfortable pillow and feel safe, secure and that all was right in the world?

When do we lose our certainties?

I am glad neither of you are still alive and suffering. But I am not so sure about me. Is there something else I am supposed to do? I can't think what.

I really can't.