Weekly Diary



It was raining inside the shoe June and I live in and we had to move to a boot before breakfast. I looked out a window near the brass buckle as the god of worms went by, closely followed by the god of blackbirds. Both June and I stayed indoors all day: she was cooking a pair of lips for a far away face and I was waiting for pictures of me to arrive even though they were pretending to be pictures of somebody else. They eventually materialised in a posh car and wearing high rise apartments for clothes – to pass the time I counted the number of window boxes and replaced half with eagle eyries. After the people had left, following a trail made by an old fashioned hay bailer, I went back into my own private past; secure from the tentacular memories of others.



It was another wet day (if anything worse than the one before) and I was unable to follow the rainbow herds across the silver haired meadows again. Outside syncopated sirens were washing their hair in footprints of puddles – it was impossible to hear their songs after a clash of automobile parts on the Renaissance battlefield lawn. I put on my rainbow hat to walk the dog (she was wearing her mackintosh bat wings and goggles she borrowed from Toad of Toad Hall) and we followed the mercury veins along the languid arm of a fair weather god. Some time ago I had discovered a ninth corner in my work room and I sat alone in it as the high kicking chorus line of clouds moved in front of the windows and doors of my Dance of the Seven Veils imagination.



The weather improved in a world I am convinced is sat on another person’s dining room table (It would be put away when the owners were expecting guests). June and I hid ourselves in a haystack reflecting the possible existence of a universal spirit. She was holding a fibre glass model of a sailfish, which she used to scratch concentric circles on the ceiling of a Middle Period Egyptian tomb, and I made myself a replica of the South Downs out of plaster of Paris and a vegetarian fish paste. For some time now I have had the strange feeling that either I was getting larger or the world was shrinking – points of light like a shoal of fish had entered one side of the room and would have left the other if the shadow of a giant mouth hadn’t suddenly appeared and swallowed them.



I woke on a rapidly moving lava flow, in a split second I was in the kitchen and in another I was orbiting Venus with a force field made from the collective spirits of a Roman legion which had camped nearby. I had found the tree they told their secrets to when walking a family of wooly mammoths from one cartoon adventure to another. When I had returned to Earth – or a close approximation (I have never been that fussy) I found June on the sofa which she christened the rim of an active volcano. The dog, incidentally, had crash landed on the spare bed after an adventure of her own gathering up words that don’t mean anything from the far side of the universe. June and I then decided to start a conversation while we both clung to the top of adjacent telephone poles.



As usual I got up very early; the morning had a strange smile on its face as if it had seen something it shouldn’t have. I didn’t smile myself but spread a large panoramic image of England in the late Pleistocene across the lower part of my head. The subversive version of me (I keep it in a box by the back door) recommended using a fish for a tie but didn’t persevere with the idea when I showed him my sea anemone cravat. I travelled out into the wood planed countryside with an effigy of Mozart’s father tied to me like a mast. The great sea god showed me a picture of Noah shaped like an ark and I then dug a hole in the garden and put all of last week’s news in it – some of it tried to escape in the guise of an early model of the Morris minor but I managed to catch it by the gate.



Unusually June got up before me, floating towards the horizon in a coffee cup with the cats pretending to be icebergs and the dog pretending to be a ship – as it was close to the equator the game didn’t last very long. I got up moments later wearing a giraffe jumper and okapi trousers. While Poppy and I walked one iambic pentameter after another June went out with young children to feed young animals; coming back in the late afternoon to discover I had turned our particular patch of urban landscape into a strip of canvas which drifted off towards the horizon like Gypsy Rose Lee. I could still make out figures in a house a long way from ours; I noticed their mouths opened but I couldn’t hear any speech, just the flutter of bird wings from within a row of goldfish bowls.



I had planned to spend the morning as dust on the mantelpiece (although June had threatened to come along with a feather duster) but decided to take the dog for a walk across a well known music score; typically we missed the coda and the conductor was drunk. We both came back with wings made from aluminium sheets – she fashioned hers into a bulkhead on a Type 45 Destroyer and I perfunctorily made a set of saucepans and a toaster. June and I then went out: we had a drink in the aisle of a flying church and a meal in an unused section of the London Underground – the trains could still be heard in the humpback whale distance. I came back with the charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava in my shopping bags while June stayed in town with the Russian artillery.



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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