Weekly Diary


June and I were visited by caterpillar emissaries of the butterfly people with recently found sea shell smiles and recently purchased penguin socks. We talked of hideouts in multistorey gardening boots and then laughed out loud when a band of fish people swam by with paddles on their heads. On our way to a fairy tale castle we walked on a molten lava bridge and then along a crocodile teeth path before stopping for a meal in the cavernous eye socket of a very large skull – it was precariously balanced on the single hump of a stone camel and called us a sand storm. After a meal of moa eggs (they make an especially large omelette) the little ones enjoyed a space flight in an old shoe while the older ones stood and watched – I thought like saguaro cactuses remembering their lost loves.


I got up with a race track all the way down the front of my body; I couldn’t see what was down my back but I did occasionally hear engine noises. The dog and I flew to a house of books (mostly hardbacks although the shed was made of paper ones – mainly Mills and Boon); as usual I didn’t have time to read the masonry, however I did sign a pebble and give it to a Leyton Orient football fan – I don’t know why as I don’t support the club. I spent much of the afternoon painting my legs with black and white squares as I danced on the top of an Ionic column. June came back from work but couldn’t find the chess pieces even though our neighbour had called his home a castle and was wearing a full Samurai uniform of the Kamakura period.


I felt a bit down as I got out of the Juno Beach side of our Normandy landings bed. The dog was wearing a suit of armour and we went out for a joust before I walked to town with a shopping arcade on my back. I left it at the bottom of the High Street and came home with my shopping floating in the middle of my Tokamak haversack. I entered my studio with my head feeling like a slice of burnt toast and I had to scrape off several layers of dark thoughts before I could settle down to work. I painted a city of acoustic guitars with doors as the sound holes: it took me some time to tune the roofs – I could then play the music written by birds on the telephone lines (it proved to be a lament). I would have sung it to June when she came in if she hadn’t been holding a fragment of wing from a Junkers 88.


June walked up the road works to the house at the top of the hill while I simultaneously felt my aching tooth and put out traffic cones – a figure which as a little boy I called a skeleton tried in vain to stop the traffic (incidentally I had earlier seen another figure trapped inside a deodorant bottle; I pressed the top and spray issued out but when I checked later the figure was still there, nursing a miniature car with which it had previously made an attempt on the world land speed record). While I had the house to myself I collected my belongings into a bundle and called it art then, as various types of wading bird played a game of cricket on our neckerchief lawn, I unpacked them all again. June came in later wearing a crash helmet and carrying a motorcycle in a shopping bag.


June and I had a string quartet lay in (only for a few bars I hasten to add as I had lots to do): she as a cello and me as a violin. After the music had died down I pretended to be tree in the garden while she went to sleep on the back of a terrapin – I woke her with lotus blossom eyes and we went out as some one else’s memories, acknowledging the cardigan and hat on the sofa as we did so – from a distance it looked like a sleeping person (perhaps people from a distance look like sleeping chairs). I talked to the man with a moon in a bottle and then let June go on ahead, catching her up after I had checked the pockets in my bonsai reflection and then slid down the hill on my wallet. We had a pre-nationalisation railway style dinner as the train came in five minutes late to the station.


I had an early trip to the small country (it gets smaller as I get bigger although I know at some point the reverse will be true). I checked my phone before entering the house and saw the old man holding an empty bottle – neither of us had any messages. We talked softly about the bars we saw the world through before I went out and scattered old pictures on the recently dug ground: once covered with soil new images will issue forth. I consoled myself with this thought as the red bus alligator jaws snapped shut and the blind guitarist by the road side checked his cap for coins. I said hello to people I often think I know on the long journey home; measuring the radius of the big pond by the crossroads with my index finger and thumb as the probable descendants of Iron Age hill farmers walked by.


I felt like an almost two dimensional copy of myself as I got up moments after June had forced the front door closed. In some stories I would be folded up and placed in a back pocket but in this one I stepped into the bath like an unused cheque being fed into a cross cut shredder (while naked in the water I could hear clothed voices outside). The hedge was grinning as I counted the heads progressing along its uneven top, they merged with bodies and I then counted rain drops. The dog and I walked each other between showers and I then settled into my “Alas poor Yorick” study to write this: however I neither knew him or Richard Tarlton, Horatio! I was thinking about designing a jacket with two pairs of arms as a joke when June came in wearing several pairs of trousers at the same time.


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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