Weekly Diary


I got out of a suitcase instead of a bed and tied the shoelaces in the carpet; June went out with her shoes undone. I listened to light music as I did heavy work in the house. Poppy and I put a girdle round the Earth in forty minutes before June came back from standing as a tent pole on a hillside all morning; she mentioned that hordes of strange people milled round with the heads of horses and the bodies of men – I laughed as everyone knows it is actually the other way round. I worked in the secret garden all afternoon before following a fairy tale trail to dinner. Exotic birds set the table as the silver plated cutlery told stories about the salt and pepper shakers. In a brown study the up-lighting foretold the end of the world.


I woke from a dream about the marriage of two Egyptian mummies – after their vows they exchanged bindings. June had rode to work on a mechanical ostrich which I had found going cheap in the local ironmonger. Incidentally, he also gave me a shrunken head for my torch and a rhubarb stalk made from a down-pipe (June wouldn’t touch it without sugar). After our walk Poppy and I explored a submarine which had risen in the lounge with the conning tower protruding through a vase of flowers (a bee hovered round its periscope). Covering myself in string I remained in my studio for the rest of the day waiting for a hand to emerge from the ceiling to untie me.


June had grown two extra heads during the night and said goodbye three times as I turned over to wrestle with a chimera which had just emerged from a dream the dog was having – sadly the chimera won and I had to throw myself into a bath of cold porridge before going to town in a costume made from various sizes of elastic band. I purchased a handful of meadows and came home pursued by a man holding a sickle – when he held it up to the sun it made the smile in a golden face. As an experiment I tried to paint the rain as it fell over the pond but all I managed to do was extinguish the candles of a procession of hooded figures who went by singing a lament to a great auk’s egg.


I was waiting for the Japanese warrior tied to a kite to come down all morning; in the end I gave up and went and worked in an upturned hat until forced out by a speeding wagon train pulled by rabbits – I then waited for a pack of Siberian hamsters dressed like Red Indians to exit screaming only to find they were having a barn dance in the lichen covered exoskeleton of a Marsh Dalek. June flew in mid morning standing on a scrap of paper, she held out her hand to the animal headed figures roped off in the Nevada desert side of the kitchen and then walked out like a fashion model in a mangrove swamp. I practiced my patented death valley smile before making a model of a pterodactyl fibula out of balsa wood.


I had to go to town with a small collection of houses squat round the brim of my Lord Nelson hat; I sunk a number of ships on the way down and rescued drowning sailors on the way back. In between I rolled in hay painted in primary colours with a robot just landed from a Martian ship (the poisonous snakes hiding in my beard fell to the ground like fire works found to be invisible under a glaring sun). I later found that the sea serpent I confronted at the giant centipede station was a typographical error in my page of reality. I had quickly turned over the page anyway and sat on a grassy hillside like a rock. A small bird landed on my rock head holding a kaleidoscopic worm in its beak.


I got up so early all the ghosts down the street were still flying kites. I threw my clown face sceptre up into the milky morning and ran for the bus before it came back down to land. On the anteater omnibus I was manacled by lights as the Harlequinade went wild on both decks. I changed buses and showed the pantomime horse my ticket twice. I was puzzled by the cardboard smiles elastically held in place across the corn dolly faces and allowed my three eyed card to slide like a paper hat falling over the face of a mannikin in a New Year shop window – outside the shoppers went home with several lumps of coal in each pocket. I saw the old man at the hill top and we both blew seeds into the air.


A disconcerting start to the day as I found a steam ship had sailed into the house during the night. June went to town out of the bow to get new eyes for her starfish tentacles while I climbed out of the stern into the washing up cloth garden. I pulled out all the half cleaned plates and put them on the drainer just as an eagle went overhead in search of a small child to transport. I then pulled a long length of cloth from under the hand printed slabs; putting it in my pocket I reflected on the number of bodies it had previously been wound round. Resting in the cold grey submarine at the end of the day I pulled down the periscope and saw my own face much smaller than usual – a small hand reached across a newly harrowed field.


About Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd is a painter, graphic artist, sculptor, digital/multimedia artist, photographer, writer, curator and arts administrator. He has also been involved with science art, performance art, conceptual art, installations and environments (as well as peripheral creative pursuits such as garden design).
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