Weekly Diary


After slowly getting up I stood for some time beside the lakeside swannery in my mind – each white swan a thought that I had and then forgot. June was downstairs wearing a mirror and I looked at my own face when talking to her. We went out alone and then together. Although we had planned not to we ended up in the same sepia landscape photograph, smiling in the approximate direction of the imaginary camera. The houses appeared to grin (although June thought it was closer to a grimace) and the trees had arms, then hands and finally fingers. I looked for a wedding ring while the dog looked for a fish flying out of a rabbit hole – we were both surprised when the rabbit itself emerged complete with aqualung and harpoon that only fired air bubbles in the shape of great white sharks.



I started the day sitting on the edge of a mountain eyrie that changed to a valley eyrie without me noticing. The lady next door took me and a family of large packages up the short and winding road – I thought the row of buildings looked like upturned shotgun cartridges and pretended to shoot myself in the foot. Like June and I she has been living in a vegetable patch and I left my packages in a fine stand of walking stick cabbages – I resolved to return when I am older and make a stick out of the tallest and a block of flats out of the others. June was washing the floor when I came in with dirty boots and we exchanged Brocken Spectre pleasantries before sitting down together to look at old photographs of another person’s childhood – it would have been nicer if we had actually known him.



I had to go to town with a list that I never looked at and followed a path that resembled the cochlea of the inner ear before coming home as a scrap of paper stuffed in someone else’s pocket. The old tree that looks like a witches face was applying its lipstick as I walked by. I reached in my pocket for a handkerchief and then a line of flags which I would drape over HMS Victory before going into battle. June, who I had earlier likened to the wild flower Enchanter’s Nightshade, was standing by the sink trying to push a small dinghy down the plug hole; the crew were lined up on the draining board like crockery. The old man who I like to think lives at the top of our garden was pulling down one edge of the sky as if it was bed clothes on a warm night; moving the quickening clouds out of line.



June went out holding a hilltop village in her arms; she said it was Spanish but I thought it was Portuguese. I tried to illustrate the difference with hand movements and then shut the front door with an insect from the Carboniferous buzzing round my head. I painted ropes as people I had once knew modelled bells, chiming down the catwalk before walking back to find the rainbow at the end of a pot of gold. I reflected on my inability to keep in touch before blaming the daydreams that throw themselves out of planes without a parachute. The cat who was using rhubarb stalks for stilts was standing almost chest high as bird song echoed from the radio instead of news. The news, which is invariably bad, was last seen flying into the ironclad distance.



I got up as early as an old fashioned coal fired boiler which someone had placed outside ages ago (it is still visible in very old photographs). I felt the out of town road’s pulse – it was still alive – and reached the house built like a Parliamentary forces helmet from the English Civil war without speaking to anyone save the bus driver. I met the Parliamentary king and he and I talked like a symphony orchestra tuning up. I told him of my plans and he carefully folded them up and placed them in his top pocket before leaving as the conductor looking for the orchestra (he didn’t know that the orchestra was simultaneously looking for him). I spent a little while in the garden and then came home with soil on my hands. June was washing down.



I went to the burning bush town dressed in a rain cloud – it rained as I watched shoppers leave dinosaur footprints on the fossilised flag stones. The crisp packet thunder lasted the time it took for a single decker omnibus to reach the end of the plant stem with June ringing from our desert home using a conch shell phone and the ice trees assembling in the type of time that pops bread out of a toaster before both sides are brown. I came home beneath marching clouds but remained dry and characteristically out of step. At the end of the day I locked myself in a suitcase and waited for a Statue of Liberty look alike to remember the combination – outside I wasn’t sure if the voices I heard were real or from a lingering memory (the best memories come before the event actually happened).



June and I left the house like consecutive smoke rings and followed a beware of the adders sign to the crust of bread coast. I looked around from the cockpit of an aeroplane that the air ministry had rejected because its landing speed was too high and its take off speed too low. I fancied the houses talked with the oldest having the deepest voices. Eventually there was no houses, only trees with voices that, as always, were too real to ridicule. We reached the haven changing to heaven place in the early afternoon and had a meal spread thinly on a microscope slide before the family parted and June, Poppy and I had the once shared cliff top to ourselves. We breathed in the view and then peeled off time instead of clothes (I stood as naked as the pre-Christian era).


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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