Weekly Diary



Not given to wearing a hat in bed I was surprised when I woke up with a small section of Italianate architecture on my head. June appeared to be favouring a Neo-Gothic look with castellated shoulders and a stone raven on her pillow. I pulled on a book instead of a jumper as I left her asleep in the Moorish bedroom. Later in the day I stood on the deck of a boat in lieu of the mast: who was visiting an old friend which had been struck by lightning. I spoke like thunder when he returned holding a sail – which when unfurled showed the footprints of a man who had just lost his way (I put it in my horse and cartographic drawers beside a tablecloth with hand prints of a woman who had just found hers again). Outside a cymbal silently clashed and an Eighteenth Century highwayman held himself up.



I woke up suddenly – June said I had hit the opposite wall with some force after being fired from a crossbow by a French archer during the siege of Calais in Thirteen Forty Six. She went out, her hands casting shade in the Death Valley desert while I waited for the start of the film in my head: a raindrop slowly parts company with a leaf and falls into the waiting arms of the ground. After which I followed her to town wearing a cloak I had borrowed from the Count of Monte Christo and shoes which were so well camouflaged that when I took them off I couldn’t find them again. We met at the turned over corner of a page; she talked without syllables and I talked without consonants although I came home again before either of us had reached a full stop.



I got up talking to myself via a microphone and loudspeaker and ran downstairs only to have to walk up them again holding a picture of myself as a child (I was pictured on stage watching the audience sing to me – a procedure I have sadly continued to this day). June came down the stairs a bit later, she was partially obscured by a sand storm as I took shelter in the tent of my Marco Polo mind; I meant to paint an igloo in someone else’s but was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a United States cavalry officer announcing the beginning of the Battle of the Little Big Horn; he promised to return to announce the end but didn’t, although I did find his hat which I subsequently plugged into a guitar amplifier to play my version of The Star Spangled Banner at my version of Woodstock.



Unusually for me and the middle of the week I got up very early. June following me downstairs with part of the New Forest spread across her front; William the Second was killed by an arrow just above her navel – Henry the First wasn’t implicated as he was still curled up on the dog’s bed – and I was searching for adders as a young boy in the hills above. Before my plastic breakfast I caught the cellophane omnibus and journeyed to the high fibre countryside. I met the rain king in the sunshine and we shared memories before he left me to work alone in the garden and share memories between myself. I could almost see where I used to play and look across the valley to the other side. It is not so good when you are now on the other side looking back.



June found members of the family in the intricate brickwork of the Tudor house we had received as a free gift in a magazine. After dancing round both a May and June pole they all went to town leaving me alone as the first line of a song that someone else was singing (although I would have sung along if they had asked). The morning emptied its contents while the barman served a half empty glass to a half empty figure and half full glass to a half full other – I suspected both figures were me and searched my trouser pockets for a door without any certainty it would fit the key. I strung a short story between my earlobes when an albatross flew overhead while writing an epic poem; unfortunately he was closely followed by an ancient mariner who was intent on scribbling it out again.



Just when I had thought that the Black Knight had put down his mace he raised it again with Poppy the black and white dog being ill this time. June and I are besieged during the English Civil War with the royalist forces growing in number outside. She changes into a teapot – even though she doesn’t drink tea – and I cover myself in cobwebs and balance a grand piano on my head; it isn’t very long before dark grey clouds sprouting more than the required number of legs and arms land on top (looking like cartoon thought bubbles in reverse – I decide to fight them with cartoon speech bubbles). The crocodile plays dominoes with its own teeth and I draw lots with myself – forgetting that at night I can fly (however I am still looking out in the morning).



June and I left the house with a rope bridge strung between us; words and nods of acknowledgement making the rather precarious trip across. A man with dove wings for ears said he was emblematic of the morning and I crumpled up a large part of my early childhood into a football (which I kicked into an own goal). June pulled a Victorian rocking horse out of her mobile phone and rode it to town – I followed with a lasso wound tightly round both legs. We came home again holding an island that had only recently emerged from the ocean depths and had (when observed through a magnifying culender) volcanoes like the horns of a wild beast. It smoked in joined up writing while June smoked in shorthand. I kept my own council and didn’t smoke at all.



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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