Sunday, 16 June 2019

Time to break my magic spell of solitude...

The last four months of my life have been quite remarkable, in a very quiet way. 

At the end of January, when I moved into a house two miles outside a town where I know nobody, I felt neither the need nor desire to venture out and socialise.

When the landscape of your life fundamentally changes, the fallout is exhausting. 

I needed to withdraw; rebuild faith; repair my bewildered head; to live in my own space, where nobody could be offended when I jump in the air screeching with surprise as they enter the room, as nobody is going to enter the room.

I don’t know if this leaping and screaming is a characteristic of writers. 

Maybe it’s just me.

During waking hours my head wanders far far away, and loved-ones in the past have been justifiably upset when I shrieked with shock as they walked around their own their home.

My magic spell of solitude has not yet been broken.

Each day I sit and look down the driveway, loving the fact that apart from the farmer and the postwoman, nobody is going to come up it. 

...ain't nobody comin' up that...

For many of you, solitude of the intensity I’ve enjoyed over the last months would seem like hell on earth, but for me it has been perfect.

It’s how I make myself better, and although I’ve still far to go, this was never intended to be a permanent state of affairs.

I correctly suspected that by the time my spring Craft of Writing Course was finished, I’d feel more able to engage the town; to start building a life for myself here.

I’m ready now, but in no rush. Once the magic spell is broken it will be gone for good. Mind you, it’s not as if queues will suddenly start forming up the drive, for an audience with His Scribblership.

Save for calls to my wonderful mum, four or five days of absolute silence have been interspersed with intense social and work-related day trips to Galway.

We all need human contact, and I’ve enjoyed catching up with Whispering Blue, Soldier Boy and The Gillie, buying my Griffins bread (irreplaceable!), hanging out with The Body and Dalooney and then going off to teach, with croaky voice.

Back home here, after 12 hours of full-on social behaviour, my ears ring in the deep silence. 

In the meantime I’ve been getting to know my non-human neighbours.

There are now three robins that come to feed at my feet as I sit outside, while to my delight, a few weeks ago the baby bunnies on my lawn stopped running away. 

They must have been born since I arrived, so they’ve always known me, and happily bounce and munch, while I sit and watch.

Strangely, with all this verdant splendour, I spend a lot of time staring at the low breeze block wall opposite my kitchen window.

Shortly after I arrived here I noticed a yellow tit scouting around a hole in the grouting. His partner arrived, gave her approval and they were off, gathering seemingly endless tiny parcels of moss and white fluff, squeezing sideways into the teeny gap in the wall and flying off again.

After making thousands of these trips the nest inside the wall must’ve been huge. Then one morning Himself arrived back with a worm in his mouth, and I knew their chicks had hatched.

That was weeks ago and still, throughout every single minute of these extravagantly long days, the pair of them constantly squeeze in and out of their breeze block nest, delivering a constant conveyor belt of worms and grubs to their babies.

Now I’m looking forward to seeing cheeky beaks appear, and then watching those fluffy fledglings make their big leap!

Back in the human world I enjoy the time I spend in my nearby town. My face is known in the Post Office and electrical shop, as well as the wonderful ‘everything’ shop, and of course, the cafe where I have my Saturday breakfast.

When much suddenly changes in your life, you hang tight to the few things that stay the same: precious friendships, family support and personal rituals.

Working for myself, it’s important that one day a week I feel free from responsibility. That includes cooking, so one of the first things I did in my new town was check out all the pubs and cafes which served breakfast.

My needs are simple yet quite particular: I want two eggs without having to ask for an extra one, and I want to pay no more than €10 with healthy tip.

After a whirlwind tour that took in four establishments of varying poshness and one eggness, I found the venue for my Saturday ritual.

It’s a working class caff type place, with perfect menu and pricing, but on my first morning there I started to wonder if I’d made a booboo.

I was the only bloke around.
Ah but it was early yet.

Within 15 minutes the place was jammed with groups of local men, devouring huge breakfasts as they talked and laughed with each other.

Sound choice.

On my third visit the owner greeted me with words every human with testicles longs to hear:

“Good morning! The usual, sir?”

As things stand that’s the limit of my interaction with my new town, but that will change this summer. In the meantime I’ll enjoy these last few days of - Oh!


My hand involuntarily lifts itself to my mouth, as 5 metres away, outside my office window, the fox trots calmly across the lawn with one of the baby bunnies in his mouth.

Good news for fox cubs, and to be fair, there’s no shortage of rabbits around here.

But oh.

The French nailed that one:  

C’est la vie, c’est la guerre.

©Charlie Adley


Edi said...

Wish I were there.

Charlie Adley said...

Ye'd not thank me for the midges, Ed! Thanks for reading Double Vision. Hope all good with you.