Weekly Diary

This is last week’s diary – I am sorry it is so late!  I do hope it is of some interest anyway.


June had to weekend work, at first in a sniffy nose and then in a half closed eye. I walked with Poppy along the top deck of a Royal Navy ship at the Battle of Cadiz before writing my shopping list on a rogue cannon ball and throwing a Polaroid photograph of a water drop into the emerald green of our garden pool. As the wind blew with a lisp I spoke to old clothes about their departed wearers and then hid an empty notebook under a rock – as a precaution I hid a pencil under another and then lined up plants like seaweed messages on a Sargasso page. I noticed that the people next door use what looks like withered arms for fence posts. I had this in my head when I spread my pterodactyl wings like a table cloth on the crinkled chip ground just moments before June returned from work.


Poppy and I went for an early walk before the Victorian sewer system we were ambling along changed (for reasons that cannot be satisfactorily explained) into the intestines of a Paraceratherium – neither of us wanted to be associated with anything extinct; although there is a school of thought that suggests life is just data and data can never be lost. After dipping my brush in a mug of hot tea I started to paint with the whole of my childhood spread evenly between the three back pockets of my work jeans. As the clouds slowly faded from semicolons to full stops I thought of creating buildings from sound and then of searching in vain for the silence of an empty room. A little later June came in very tired and I dutifully changed the bulbs in her bedside lamp earrings.


I got up very early, although June was already trying on a costume from the Jacobean era and then walked to work with an unashamedly Scottish shadow to her side. I took my own Transylvanian shadow up the road moments later to find a double decker bus as a giant mouth and myself as a filter tip cigarette – I didn’t know at the time that I would be unceremoniously put out on a derelict brick wall where the black and white cinema once stood – the lichen on top reminding me of a pork pie on a galloping horse (I have no idea how it stayed on). I was sucked up again soon after and met the home made king sitting on his sofa watching artificial heads falling off artificial bodies; I pulled a spare arm out of my woodlice haversack and we watched it scurry across the land crustacean floor.


I had to trace a line to the machine gun town, ricocheting off the stone fortifications by the bridge: very near the monument put up by the wasp queen in memory of the bee hive people – I dropped a fish hook instead of a coin and made a wish. I flew home as a king bee and made art into honey. As the candle shortened a voice echoed round my ancient burial mound studio and I imagined a cave mouth with stalactites and stalagmites as teeth; someone changed the channel and large yellow balls rebounded around an otherwise empty space (it was while attempting to follow these that all horizons suddenly became diagonal and neither I or the strange being still stalking me could stand upright). I would have never found my feet if June hadn’t changed channel again to watch the late news.


As we both got out of bed at the same time, June and I chose to act as opposing pages in a picture book: she was a golden bird in a tree with a sand clock in its mouth while I was a fish pulled out of water by a donkey’s tail only just stuck on its head. An unseen stranger shut the book and June went to work holding a yacht instead of her handbag and I walked the coffee percolator instead of the dog. I had to frame two views of a sacred grove photographed from space (apparently the space craft was chasing nymphs at the time) and then laid out the pipes for my latest hot and cold running water sculpture; only stopping when June entered the front door as a fountain – I didn’t mention that the stranger had only just left by the back door disguised as a famous quotation by Winston Churchill.


A blue, red and white morning and June and I suddenly became part of an RAF display team: she walked to work and I read the last lines of Virgil’s Aeneid to the cat. We were supposed to go out to a pixie ball in the evening but June had come in from a black sheep shearing contest feeling unwell. We both blamed the heat from the Roman baths that had unexpectedly appeared in our penny black lawn and decided to spend the evening putting large ticks in small boxes and watching a flotilla of motorised swordfish sail by – I stood at the spot where old men in Rhode Island Red chicken suits cross the road (when asked why, they say to get to the other side). I celebrated this fact by wearing a bobble hat on my nose and calling the random movements of my thumb and index finger a dance.


It was blistering hot as I learnt my little boy lines on the burning deck. I rode a chariot around a Ben Hur desert before parking it in a Charlton Heston oasis. After all the choral singing plants were watered June and walked to town with large wheels on our heads to speed our way through the underpass – it has been said all miracles now occur in underpasses and I recalled being spoken to by a stand in for Mary Magdalene. June and I parked our tandem ladder and had a lunch of reconditioned sofas and easy chairs: as usual she chose a plain suite and I went for a floral pattern. June stayed in town to question the meaning of multiple existences while I came home to answer the phone to a cold caller – when June got in some time later I was found talking to myself in the fridge.


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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