Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
Ten green bottles hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle should accidentally fall,
There’ll be nine green bottles hanging on the wall.
I have a vague childhood memory of singing that song sitting on a wall at my parents’ house with a friend – I can’t remember who. Every time we finished a verse we had to throw ourselves off the wall.
I woke up yesterday morning and there were nine bottles arranged on the kitchen floor slightly spread apart like skittles in a bowling alley, the labels slowly alliterating to me: Peroni, Punk IPA, Proper Job. Ooph, I made a Proper Job of it all right. It’s like Pringles: “Once you pop, you can’t stop.” There’s a tipping point after which sometimes – not always – I can’t make myself go to bed until the time seems right. I create the perfect storm of new music with the ability and time to get crazy. Well, hey, it happened. Let’s not make a drama out of it. Is it a problem? Relatively, no. It’s not that crazy – 9 bottles? It could have been far worse.And I’ve been good and I will continue to be good (hear it echo inside my head) but probably not right now. I said I’d be honest. The next few weekends are going to be raucous. Crazy H – the little sister I never had – the most determined, fearless girl I’ve ever met is having a house warming in Stoke Newington. It’ll go off. The following weekend Jamie’s having a wedding at a hippy festival in Oxfordshire. Posh hippies. And a hand fasting ceremony – whatever that is. Tim will be there – I love that guy – with his bro, my oldest friends. More a brother than a friend. There’ll be no holding back there either. Then the weekend after that my leaving party: 12 teachers in Taunton. That’ll probably be life threatening compared to the 2 previous.
No regrets. Only joy right now even if the tremors have come back (Let’s be honest – I wonder why!).
Enough about getting drunk. This weekend was really about walking. And swimming. And drifting. Every day at the moment is sun baked. Not slightly cloudy, put-on-a-jumper-at-7 O’Clock English sun, no, more like bright, relentless Mediterranean sun. I can never get enough of it. Saturday I wound along the curves of the Fleet Lagoon, Chesil Beach a rampart ever present across the water and the sea beyond. The SWCP heads inland to Abbotsbury and North of the Swannery. Abbotsbury busy with tourists and too twee for me. Funny how I want to avoid lots of people when I’m walking but always wanting to stop and have individual conversations.
I bumped into Simon near a stream on the hill below St Catherine’s Chapel which was also just above the hugest plane tree I’ve ever seen. Simon was a drinker – there were 4 empty bottles (Proper Job again) next to him and a pack of Paracetamol and rollie in hand. He had left a bunch of reeds which he was using to make wicker in the stream and we chatted about Roger Deakin and how I’d read that there was less wicker making in Somerset now and a lot of it was made in Holland. It’s probably incorrect. I’m always saying stuff confidently which might not actually be factually correct. I try and stop it but I can’t.
I arrived at Chesil Beach, hot and tired. For at least a mile along the beach fishermen were positioned, rods all at a similar angle, lines glinting in the sun like gossamer. I threw myself onto the pebbles (much smaller here – the size of marbles, unlike near Portland where I was 3 weeks ago where they’re the size of jacket potatoes). The sea shelves here, I remember, so you’re straight in – not much warning, unlike Weymouth that morning where I had to wade out 100 metres before I could start swimming. It was cold, almost bone-achingly but such relief. Always so good. A tonic. And wallowing in the shallows – the only one in the sea – I really started to drift – sun, wind, the sound of gentle waves and when my eyes were closed everything seemed reduced to the basics. Elements. I never, never can stop the buzz in my brain but here for once I was briefly taken away, literally lulled like a baby being gently rocked to sleep.
And the next phase. Along the beach to West Bexington and that’s where it ended for that day. Went back yesterday – hanging – and just swam and sunbathed and walked to Swyre. And that is all for now. The path is addictive. Always. Looking back on where I’ve been and looking forward to what’s next. Never knowing what’s around the corner. As a metaphor for life it’s just too obvious…