Weekly Diary



I woke to find myself covered with thick fur; I called myself a real animal and then dressed as a kind of anti-climax. June had got ready to stand like a bucket collecting drips in an empty field but the ceiling painting competition was called off when it came down: revealing the Egyptian god of the sky and goddess of the Earth in a tight embrace. I had planned to stay at home; making a living creature out of small blobs of colour – all approximately the same size and shining like newly minted coins (I started to write letters on each to make words that actually had value but had to stop when I spent all the vowels). I discovered that the creature I had created resembled me: with ears that hear everything and nothing and eyes that equally reflect both loss and gain.



After pulling paving slabs out of a packet of breakfast cereal I walked to town in the spaces between them; coming back via the bright yellow road markings that had somehow got detached from the road. I met a man with an axe (I imagined him having no head and we talked about the geometry of falling trees, which he likened to poetry although I considered it more like trying to count using an abacus without beads). June went out the back door as I came to the front; we made messages out of picture blocks and then chimeras out of pages torn from an old calendar. She became the out of date spider queen and I became the inveterate invertebrate messenger, with a centipede worth of arms all holding hope – annoyingly, only to drop it again when I tried to find my front door keys.



I woke up as a character from a play with my, rather insignificant, part written on the bedclothes; After I had washed in an April shower I discovered that I was then part of the audience with mirror image words written on my wrist which only mean something when I clapped. After the performance June and I went out for lunch in an unexploded mine washed up on the beach of our shared drive. Inside was more spacious than one would think with curtains that foretold the weather, windows that clean up when the sun isn’t shining and a table made from a rowing boat last used by a stand in for Grace Darling. Incidentally the tablecloth was made from twelve pound notes (apparently they are rarer than ten pound ones) and the cutlery from the cast off wooden limbs of ancient amputees.



A day like a jigsaw with missing pieces – although I wondered if I was possibly one of them. June had to go out to meet someone from in between the past and the present; leaving the house inside an ornamental gourd. I stayed outside part of the time like a rare orchid that a property developer had built a housing estate on and part of the time inside like the nose of a nuclear powered submarine that had accidentally just hit the jetty. As the afternoon had a quick change of clothes – same style, different colours – I settled down inside the giant skull I do most of my thinking in; although I spent a little while (too long probably) talking to a spider who was having cigarettes on the porch – the one disadvantage of having eight legs is that you smoke too many cigarettes at once.



I had to get up early; June waking up with me as synchronised swimmers corkscrewed themselves through the roof. I caught a beam of light at the top of our road and a wave of sound on a military hillside in the next County along. I met the small giant and we talked like water closets filling up before he showed me how to open envelopes using only the power of persuasion (and the recitation of the alphabet in reverse) and I revealed how you can coax secrets out of flint nodules piled round a stone sink. I succeeded after a bit of a struggle; making the man who speaks backwards smile and the lady who moves so fast she leaves her voice behind wince – I also got a nasty wet patch on the front of my T-shirt



I had to go to town quickly; returning even quicker with a spiral design on my forehead and concentric circles around my navel. I found June accidentally plugged into a light bulb socket and explained to her why energy saving bulbs some times flash after they are turned off. We both than had a dinner of sound pulled like carrots out of the bare earth before I went into the actual garden to tidy up and she went into the house to dig. When I came in I put sun screen on the soles of my feet and an Eighteenth century ladies bonnet on the computer monitor – interestingly the pixels on the screen were made from flint arrows purportedly shot into the sky at passing stars by ancestral archers – the stars are supposed to have then fired back at their descendants.



June and I went out for the day. She wanted to buy clothes for small children and I wanted to photograph the perpendicular thoughts of a high buildings from the old but thoughtless streets. As it turned out we couldn’t find any children’s clothes shops and even the shadows stayed silent. We had a meal of paper darts and beards scribbled on imperious photographed faces. We then took the green plant route to the railway station; passing a bridge that goes over a bridge and the too formal facade of a place of worship where a sign said “God is healthier than you” – I thought he probably had a better diet and less stress and idly pressed the button on the remote control to watch the scarecrow in a water meadow raise its hat as a small bird landed wearing only stockings and high heels.



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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