My computer is malfunctioning and may have a virus. A damp cold morning, roads and fields wet with mist. There is a falcon circling the oaks at the far end of the field, leisurely but watchful movements.
My neighbour Tienie brought round a copper samovar he found at an auction sale in some warehouse near Cape Town docks. It is dented and ugly. Tienie loves collecting old unloved objects he calls antiques. He has a pink and yellow rose-patterned chamber pot he insists is genuine Limoges. It may well be Limoges, he paid a fortune for the damn thing, but it is hideous. I looked at the samovar and pointed out that it is non-functional because there is nowhere to put hot coals and no cylinder for heating water, no electrical connection point. It is a copper-plated ornament designed to look like a Russian samovar. Tienie ignored me and said it looks very old to him and he intends to hammer out the dents and burnish the copper. Nice teapot but no tea.
On Wednesday I shall be leaving for my 10-day retreat. Before I go I would like to write something decent for the third chapter of my fiction manuscript, but ‘decent’ needs inspiration. Nevertheless, I labour on.
My housemate wants a supper of tandoori chicken, grilled, with poppadums and chopped coriander and creamy yoghurt and spicy potatoes. That will take care of the afternoon. While I was away she lived on fried eggs, ketchup and toasted sndwiches, gave herself heartburn and didn’t look at a vegetable or make a fresh salad, not once.
This morning I woke from an odd dream about trying to fix up a farm belonging to my former editor, to find a glass of just-squeezed orange juice on my bedside table. Sweet and delicious, such a wake-up alert. Then I sat up and read some John Banville (The Sea) and some passages from the BB, hokey and earnest, but true. Mention of the still suffering alcoholic and I said a silent prayer of thanks that I am not still there, arguing with myself and scheming about finding ways to drink secretly, needing to pour drink down me and in denial of that needing it, lying to myself and others, using up all the time and energy available to me in the day on thoughts about drinking or not drinking or trying to stop drinking or not being able to stop drinking. Addiction is so tiring and monotonous and takes up so much time.
Hard work is tiring, but in a different way. Boredom is just boredom. And if I am lucky, there will be new opportunities and a phrase or two that makes the writing worthwhile. I might even get to see the falcon swoop down through the branches of the oak, that precise, deadly, but beautiful pounce.
The hard durable beauty of the unanaesthetised life.