All posts filed under: scrapbook

such small mercies

  It’s five a.m., and the skies have opened up. Once again. The rain pounds and thunders on the rooftops, on the cars parked outside, on the road and pavements. If I didn’t know better, I’d say St. Peter had sent us a deluge of, well, pebbles and gravel. That’s how it sounds. But no. I stare out of the window, looking for the day that somehow isn’t yet breaking, though only last week it could already be seen blushing above the eastern horizon — and all I see is water. Water. Liquid, determined, insistent, persistent, coming out in sheets after sheets, solid-looking curtains of silvery metal rods that somehow disintegrate on first contact. Pooling a bit everywhere. Hurrying down the street. Over the pavements. And if it goes on like this, everything will be waterlogged. Everything. Including my life. Which, right now, seems to be just about nose-above-surface. And it’s only just August. Still only August. Silently, I drag a chair over, the best I can, nearer to the window. Still gazing out of …

the pleasure of simple things

  Encircled with shading net, it is cooler on the patio than on the outside-outside, the rest of the garden. Through its dark green weave, I can still see the glare of the summery heat, blazing white, overwhelming. Outside the netting, it is almost too hot to breathe, almost too hot to live. Inside the netting, life still seems possible. It is only April; it should not be this hot, not yet. I wonder what the real summer will be like, come July and August. I went to the fishmongers this morning. So much fish. So much variety. While here, I always try to eat what I can’t get hold of in England: ‘carapau’, my firm favourite; how I’ve missed it all these years. And then the ‘fanecas’, so delicately flavoured; I could never understand why the Brits, as proud as they are of their ‘fish and chips”, can disdain such lovely fish as pout and horse mackerel. Silly, silly, silly people; they don’t know what they’re missing out on! And then… And then there is …

mal au cœur

      He sits by my side, his gaze seemingly stuck somewhere behind the computer screen. I talk to him, softly. Again. But still I get no reply. I stop what I am doing and I lean back, inconspicuously observing him somewhat more attentively than before, from the corner of my eye. Something is eating him up inside, I know him only too well. I just wish he’d talk to me. I’ve got everything sorted into neat piles on the bed, right there in front of us. We’ve stopped for a while, giving ourselves a little breather, alongside a cuppa and a biccie, and a wee little fluttering of wings around Twitter. Just to see if there are any new instalments in any of the sagas that have had our attention absorbed for the last few months — if not Brexit then May, if not May then Labour, if not Labour then Trump, if not either or each of them, or all of them combined in one great big heavy over-looming shadow, then this dismaying state …

Avranches

      We arrived in Avranches and at first it didn’t look like anything much. We had seen so many, so beautiful, rustic, historical villages on our way here! What’s happening? What’s going on? Is this it…?! We were a bit lost and confounded: where was the beautiful small town He-Herder remembered and had described to me? Where were all those beautiful buildings we had seen when we had googled the town? Where? And is that your school? No, wrong name. Ok. No worries. We’ll find it. (Erm… eventually, we would.) Following the “Centre Ville” sign, we find ourselves on a narrow one-way street, quite steep, going down the hill. On either side were two storey houses, many with shops and small restaurants or bistros on the ground floor, and two rows of neat paned windows on the two floors above. Compared to those we had first seen, these houses, clad in the beige-grey stone we were already getting accustomed to seeing all around us, already oozed character. And at the end of this road …

language café

We arrive five minutes past, and there’s only a man and a woman sitting at one of the tables. Apart from them, the whole place is quite deserted. ‘Do you think it’s them…?’ I ask Man, and he looks at me, the mere hint of a shrug in his eyes and his shoulders. ‘Could be.’ He finally answers. I walk all the way around the place, from one room to the other and back to the starting point again. ‘Well, there’s nobody else around, so it’s either them or nobody else… Shall we ask?’ ‘You want to ask?’ Oh no, not this time, mister, I tell myself. Not this time. I’m always the one doing the asking, and you the one wriggling out of it. But not this time. ‘You do it this time’ And I smile my best, most alluring smile at him. He grimaces, retraces his steps and approaches their table. By the time I get round the connecting tunnel and back into the main room, there’s laughter all around. But no, it …

absent muse

      words are hanging from everywhere, buried behind a blanket of milk and salt, an ocean of fog so dense you can almost taste it in every new gulp of air. we can barely see them, we can hardly grab them. words that are signposts. others that are masks, others veils, and others yet are lanterns. some are sea and sand, and some are sky. they dangle from the eaves and the windows and doors, from the wooden beams of ceilings and roofs, from the sills of carved stone, from porches and chimneys, from the roses and the geraniums, from the wisteria and the camellia trees, the fruit trees, the pines atop the hill, on the piled stone of the water spring, from the arches of the old stone bridge. they are like women of the life, festooned in deception and half nudity, and in the screaming powders of colour: they are in every corner. they linger and laugh out loud. they shall go with anyone, and belong to no one. they are …

autumn gold

the blessing of autumn after the torrid summer. the fresh drops of the still shy rain on the still bare skin. the scent of the earth, of the grass, of the streets after first rain. later, much later, almost an eternity gone by, or so it always seemed to the child, mom and dad and I shopping for Christmas presents, mom dragging me behind her in her hurried, fluttering step, dad purposefully lagging behind in his usual laid back, couldn’t care less way. suddenly, a wink of his blue eyes and a smile, and the little cone of hot newspaper would materialise in my hands. it’s all buried somewhere. not even the child has remained. only the chestnuts remain, but they no longer taste the same. they no longer smell of love, and of the smile of the simplest things.     12 October 2013   © Nina Light CC-BY-NC-ND      

life, unbound

    “I don´t know what beauty you can possibly find in any of that!” She throws at me in passing, her head slowly shaking from one side to the other. I suppose it is yet something else in which I am a disappointment to her. Heart on the sleeve. Head in the clouds. Always in dreamland. Always living a fantasy. “Life is not what you think it is, little missy!”, she used to scold me many, many years ago. “You imagine it´s all sweet words and poetry and everything like in the movies and all la-di-da, and it ain´t, it just ain´t!” I smile to myself and carry on shooting. I almost tell her that life turns out to be exactly as I imagined it. Every single blessed day. But I don´t. I just smile to Man, who´s crept up silently behind me, he too smiling. His hand is on my shoulder. In my hand, the camera whirrs and purrs. The macro is but the faintest whisper as it slides and locks. I don´t …

laying down the law

Upon my return, Marmalade ignored me for a whole day. It was bad enough, but not as bad as Mackerel: he took over two days to allow me to get near him. Between the two boys, I was feeling well and truly punished for my affront of having left them for so many weeks. Flower seemed the only one happy enough to see me back, and to allow me to hold her and fuss her as soon I set foot inside the house. Strange, and not the least because out of the three Flo is the decidedly and staunchly standoffish one. -“Have you forgiven me yet, Marmelade…?” I seem to have been. It’s very early morning on my second day back home, and I have just been pulled out of my sleep by a bomber engine crouched on my chest. He pats my cheek with his humongous paw, as if to reassert his claim on my time and attention. I smile at him: the damage that paw would make, if he’d set his mind to …

light, ghostly (2): under an electric moonlight

It’s only the middle of the afternoon, but the sky is laden heavy with storm and snow. It’s gone so dark I can no longer read, and I slowly leave the blanketed comfort of my corner by the window in search of this other, less subtle, harsher, more strident light. I don’t much care for this other light. In truth, I could almost say I resent it. This light, it changes things. It stands as a threshold past which day becomes night and what we thought was material and immutable and permanent suddenly becomes something else, but mostly shadows of itself. It gives different hues to colours, even different sizes to things. It makes the pages of my old, old, old Penguin copy of The Painted Veil seem even browner, even brittler, even older. Almost too fragile to bear. And it does the same to my hands, to the worn out brocade of the chair cover, even to the terracotta coloured walls, the white of the ceiling. It solidifies shadows into corners of rooms and under furniture, …