Bristol

It is 11.54 am on a Thursday and as always I am alone. I have a bottle of Magnesium Citrate next to me to stave off the tremors. Other distractions are strewn across the table: maps for the walks that I want to do, an unpaid bill reminder, bundles of marking, my tuition book, an mp3 player and a file with evidence for my court hearing tomorrow. I often see each minute go by and think which thing must I think of next? What is the foremost priority in my mind? Sometimes I think of it as a continuously fluctuating list – a rack of thoughts where the order keeps changing, all thoughts vying for position at the top.

As I write, I’m wondering about getting ready for lessons I have to give to students this afternoon but I’m also thinking about and planning lessons for Monday, which is crazy. What was Lennon’s quote again? “Life is what happens when..” Try and stay in the present. I’ve just had a thought about booking a flight to Scotland in September. Why?

Tomorrow I am due at court in Bath at 10.30 am to try and avoid a driving ban after totting up 12 points for various speeding offences. It might be bad; it might not. If I get banned for 6 months it’s going to change things radically, especially with work. I’ve been pulling out all the stops to provide letters from my deputy head, head of department, parents of tutees, Agus – anyone who can say that they will be negatively affected by the outcome. I don’t think the tremors are to do with it. I only have visions of myself walking the beautiful streets of Bath in the sun afterwards immersing myself in the Bath Festival, either a newly baptised cyclist or a reformed motorist.

The sun is shining and it’s the best time of year: Not July nor August. Now, when there is new life. It always bowls me over, the newness and greenness and lushness of it all and it feels like being in love. God, I want to be in love so much sometimes it hurts. It’s been so long but now is not the time. Me. Me. Me.

The regime of abstinence is still holding strong although with minor indiscretions that are in no way on a par with how it was last year and all the years previous. I don’t think I could actually go to the levels where I was at or could I go?

Just one more. One for the road.

No, I have the foresight to know that the gloom of the following day will far outweigh the sparkle of the night bubble. Diminishing returns, old boy. This I must congratulate myself on.

Company is great. The bachelor house over 3 floors has provided a microcosm of life that is inexplicably invaluable to me. Glauber continues to pore over microscopic lifeforms ever hopeful of making a discovery never made before. Imagine the excitement. Nick is in and out and often in the garden tending to his plants and flowers complaining about the green fly and always delivering another historical fact about the buildings of Bristol. Agus is still here. He’s staying for the moment. We’re cool and I can’t bring myself to look for a new cohabitant what with everything else. He says he’ll visit me in prison. I laughed and immediately told him he could stay another month.

The interviews have taken a backseat for the moment but it WILL continue. So far I have 12 – the dirty dozen – a Scottish tramp, a Jamaican ex teddy boy, a wonderful lady who lived as a hermit for years, an 89 year old ex minister of the church and his overly defensive and wary Iranian carer, an Italian who sings terribly, an ex alcoholic, a man who sits every day outside the Victoria Rooms, a kora player from Mali and a Tibetan man with one of the most beautiful faces I’ve ever seen.

Recording in whatever form it takes has become my addiction. Wish me luck…

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