71 is a number which has often popped up in my life since birth, not quite the very minute of my birth but a few days after, being born when my parents lived at 71 Westcott Place. My father’s works number at the cigarette factory was SM 71 and he used this number to advertise his ownership on tools, pens, rulers and so many other items around the home that the number, subconsciously perhaps, took on a vaguely mystical character so that when it popped up later in life its mythological status immediately earned it the right to be my lucky number for ever.
It is day 71 of the lockdown and it has not been the luckiest day on the face of it but such is the power of this 71 that I am filled with optimism that today marks the start of something wonderful. Credo in LXXI.
The picture shows my work area, the open top of my crowded desk, which is also near the dining room table so please, no pity for my working conditions, I can spread out if needed.
I love it here. Right now I can hear, through the french doors, blackbirds rapping into the night without a trace of self indulgent misery and, turned down quite low, some Franz Lizst which has Ouzels of self-indulgent misery. I could have taken self-indulgence in birdsong down the Messiaen road but we will not go there tonight. Here at my desk there are stories, such wonderful stories, spinning the memory and enlightening the nerves. Not tingly but they set up gentle vibrations of re-assurance. Everything is now calm, crepuscular, quiescent and all will be well in the end. A bonfire has been lit in the garden next door and the smell and the evening are serene.
The screen saver you can see is of the harbour in Porthleven, a much loved Cornish fishing port, now a tourist port where two policemen lost their lives washed from the harbour wall by a freak wave and into a stormy sea. I took this picture on holiday, we rented a little fisherman’s house nearby, and to get free wifi for the two weeks we bought a meal in the harbour side pub, took their wifi code and parked outside the pub most nights to catch up on the internet from the car. We did eat in their restaurant again to be fair. The holiday itself was just perfect. It takes just a quick flash of this one memory, one picture, to recall the whole of our time there and practically relive it.
The brightly radiant picture of tulips on the right was painted by Patricia Bastiaanse. The artist painted this by mouth, she does not have any use of hands. I support only two charities, Land of Hope in Nigeria and the society of hand, foot and mouth artists. These people are inspirational.
The book to the left, Fowler’s The Kings English, a 1951 reprint, I bought on holiday in Ilfracombe, a good many years ago now. I am not that good at English Grammar as you might have noticed but as bad as it is without Fowler’s I can assure you it would be a lot worse (although possibly more up to date than 1951). That holiday saw us riding bikes on the Tarka Trail, smashing an expensive camera by falling off the said bikes, discovering Instow, Barnstaple and sampling what must be the nation’s most prize winning fish and chips at Squires in Braunton.
Fountain pens are definately my thing but more of that tomorrow.
In the meantime I wish my diary goodnight, a night where aside from other issues, the whole world seems to be at war with itself, leaderless, directionless and falling into a quagmire of the most inhuman of behaviours whipped up by those in power who should be leading by their example but who are in reality stoking up, knowingly and deliberately fomenting, the very divisions in society which created it.
George LLoyd’s murder has struck a raw seam of justifiable unrest caused by poverty, degradation, inequality and suppression aggravated by death and disease in The Covid which affects poor, deprived communities more than any others. Let us hope that a new era can begin for the US in November.
ALL lives matter.