Weekly Diary



I woke up in stages, like shirt buttons being undone in turn (I usually wake like a t-shirt being pulled off and thrown onto the floor: June tidies it up later!). June went into the front garden and I went out into the back. To my left a short man had climbed a ladder but still couldn’t reach and on my right a much younger man had just swallowed his scooter – his girlfriend said it was an accident. June and I had a quick lunch of random words between slices of bread (white even though I would have preferred brown) before returning to the garden; this time we both occupied the same space despite time being transformed into colours which slowly changed hue and value. We both came in when the clock reached orange: with a very slight infusion of soft pink.



I went out with violin arms and cello legs to become a string quartet in a countryside garden. I made lines in the ground accompanied by a brass band of bird songs – an old lady played the congas before and after I had called a blank piece of wall by its christian name. I went home with Russian vine growing up my jumper and waited for June to arrive with a bird of prey hairstyle which I said I liked and then ruffled its feathers as a joke. After this I piled a number of books on top of each other and stood on them: I was able to see the lady next door walk inside out with her fingers stuck in a jam jar and then a man further down the street push his legs threw the bottom of a car and walk away with it – it was much later still when I suddenly wondered if it was actually his car.



I got up with my head in a cloud; it started off light grey and got darker as the day progressed, at the end of which I was threatening to rain. June got up in sunshine, grabbing a number of migrating cups of coffee as they went overhead. After this she went to stand in a wall instead of a window – I said I could see right through her. Neither of us went out although a man with a cardboard guitar wanted to sing a paper song for us and then another offered to cut down the row of caryatids holding up our very own piece of the Ancient Greek sky for a very small fee – I showed him a very small Matchbox toy; saying that if I had still got its box it would have been worth a lot of money, as would the petrified footprint of Joan of Arc and a sprig of lucky heather from the Battle of Bannockburn.



I painted a map of the world on my pillowcase before I pulled the bed clothes up to hide it. Athena was stood on the windowsill dressed in her work clothes; I touched the tip of her sword and then pushed a slice of toast through a pencil sharpener – I ate the shavings later while orbiting the Earth (this reminded me that June wanted to do her shopping on the dark side of the Moon today). A man with several pairs of reindeer antlers on his head was juggling apricots as I went out into the garden with the plans for a herbaceous plant house in my pocket. I didn’t stay outside too long as a pair of tug boats were trying to dock an ocean liner at the front of the house and June wanted me to collect the shopping bags before her parachute assisted touchdown.



The little star has finally gone out and our section of the universe is immeasurably darker. I imagined a world of interconnected boxes (some might say rooms) and saw a small light burning in one – with possibly other lights in other rooms. The invisible stranger sat behind saw beyond this to a world where the trees touch the sky and no one is ever really alone. Not being able to settle down to any meaningful work June and I went out for a meal on a lightship in the Solent in the Nineteen Sixties; we came back through the Fifties and I finally got round to hand cranking a car: the World War Two veterans who were staying in my childhood village gave a me a strand of light which they claimed they had plucked from a rainbow and I gave it to the little girl next door to tie in her very dark hair.



June and I looked down at the swirling vacuum which was pulling in dead leaves and strands of cobweb at the foot of the stairs. I thought it looked like a face desperately trying to find an expression and then turned round to put my jumper on back to front. The morning seemed to stretch out like discarded food packaging pushed into the waste bin – I always leave the emptying to the very last moment. I wrote the word hope on the exhumed body of a mealworm larva at almost the same time as June had scratched Richard the Third in the steam in the bathroom mirror. I joked that she might have to move the words to another place moments before a hand emerged from the cabinet holding a revolver – I marked the spot where I thought my appendix was and it shot itself in the head.



Our other cat drew a smiling face on the curtains as I pulled them back to look out – the morning had a sullen expression on its face. The people going down the road looked identical to those walking up. I left the window open a little even though coloured handkerchiefs from the magician’s last trick before he retired were still wafting in – June would collect them up later and turn them into a white rabbit: which went grey immediately after from playing in the dirt at the foot of a cross that had appeared in the middle of the lounge floor overnight. I was going to climb up and offer the occupant a cup of tea but my ladder was connecting up stars in a small constellation by the Great Bear. Later June would go up the road as I went down – we were hand in hand and a star was shining in the daytime sky.



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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