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The Old Sofa

Monday 12th July. Cloud and sun, cool but very humid.

Breathless weather. Last week our weather was almost Aegean, cloudless sky, warm sun, cool constant northerly breeze. Now we're sitting under a blanket of moist air, that thickens and curdles into a mat of grey and dissipates for a while into swirls of white on blue, but the breeze is from the south and somehow doesn't stir the breathless closeness. Just glad I'm not in London. At least it rained this morning.

What shall we do with the old sofa? It is ancient and made of rattan, and used to live in the basement swathed in shabby generations of wraps, rugs, the faux fur blanket known as The Wolf, until I had a suburban moment and insisted on buying a proper sofa bed with a proper folding out mattress from the Futon company. Then it was moved upstairs to Peter's room, where it has stayed, looking all bohemian and welcoming and concealing the 1901 aspirational gentility of his fireplace, with the inlaid panels of different coloured marble that are really transfers. . . But Peter already has to share his study with a grand piano (I'd have taken the piano, of course, except that sadly my own room is up two more flights of stairs and much smaller) & he is feeling cramped. It is too old and battered, and if it ever had a fire regs label it lost that long ago, so we can't give it to the YMCA. Shall we haul it up to Sheepcote, perhaps on rollers, and dump it? Shall we leave it out on the pavement, with the traditional notice "PLEASE TAKE", so that the Roundhill corner boys can use it as their outdoor HQ, West Baltimore style?

I'm afraid we may fall back on chopping it up for firewood, poor old sofa.

But not now, because now we're going away.

It's been a hectic week, what with my brother's birthday, the Sci-fi event at Manchester Oxfam Emporium (which worked extremely well, and I met such nice people, including hosts Emma and presenter Florence, and the other writers, Paul Magrs, Steve Lyons and Tom Fletcher); Gabriel's phonecalls from Switzerland, daunted at first by the magnitude of being piano soloist in front of a whole orchestra, and then triumphant and delighted with the whole experience; the final concert with the BYO at Hove town hall on Friday, which ended in a stage invasion by the livelier parts of the audience(encouraged by the conductor) and impromptu Celtic stepdance, and then there was the HGWells society, a beautiful long trainride to Canterbury for me and an intriguing walk from the station, following the footsteps of Ariel Manto (I then proceeded to ask everyone I met who worked or looked as if they worked at Kent to convey my appreciation of The End Of Mr Y to their colleague Scarlett Thomas) Anyway, thanks for inviting me, Andy, and dear H.G people, thank you for being so tolerant, friendly and informative. I could and should have worked out the Zoological Gardens connection for myself, and I think I did know about the gruesome goings on at the butcher's next door when HG was a child. But I'd never heard of the Old Brown Dog

After such a flurry of activity (and I've missed out all the developments in my family's Forever War, which still continues to devour so much of my time), it's strange to be packing, discovering I have no teeshirts fit to be worn, choosing paperbacks, changing euros. But so it is. The Frog Nursery has been disbanded, the last tiny frog set free, along with about 100 well-grown tadpoles from the Plasterers tub. The swifts have swarmed in the warm evening sky for the last time that I'll see them this summer, and the next time I write anything in this secret diary (kept in an unlocked drawer) it'll be Hungry Ghosts, my year will have reached its turning point, and 2010-11 will have begun.

So long.


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gwyneth jones on :

"west baltimore style" love it! and of course, your name! funny how you came up in a Twitter search - another brilliant Gwyneth (can there be too many? or enough?) now don't tell me you're a redhead, too! that kinda synchronicity would be freakin AWEsome!
ps. does it annoy you to be called Gwyn (or worse) Gwen as much as it does me?

Dori Costa on :

have a great trip/holiday

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