15 April 2003
Ah, it never rains but it pours...
Actually, at the moment, it just never rains. This is not a complaint. Sunday I let some friends take me shopping, round the garden centres of Durham; I'm generous like that. Yesterday I was in the back yard much of the day, potting and repotting and planting seeds for what is absolutely not going to be known as the Sophonisba Memorial Garden; this weekend I have plans to paint all the high walls white. Only trouble is I have entirely knackered my shoulder; I saw Karen-the-physio yesterday, and she says I have given myself a compression injury, through injudicious use of the sledge-hammer. Just when all my bad neural symptoms were in full retreat, he sighed. I'm not sure she'd approve of my sploshing gallons of paint around, but the forecast is for continued dryness, so it may just have to be done.
Today, I could do nothing. It's probably just tiredness on account of the not-sleeping I'm so good at these days, but I've felt like a man on the edge of a virus all day, cold and shaky and aching all over. Hottest day of the year, and I've had the gas-fire on all afternoon. If I tell anyone (apart from you, dear diary, the only one I trust...), they'll either say 'Chaz, that's called grief, pull yourself together,' or else 'Omigod, you've got SARS,' and frankly I don't need either one of these diagnoses. One is absurd (I haven't been to Taiwan for two years, two long years, I haven't even spoken to anyone from Taiwan for a month or more and I'm sure that e-mail is not a vector, but I have friends who will advance it none the less) and the other is just banal and not useful. I shall spent the day spread out on my gorgeous green sofas watching Angel videos, as I haven't yet claimed the early Buffys from Gail (my friends are most usefully exchanging their vids for DVDs, which is a technology too far for me, but it means that I get custody of the redundant tapes) and the later stuff is too harrowing. It's gone so grim & gloomy, I'm almost not enjoying series six. Sigh.
Still, I have just been asked to contribute to an anthology of Grand Guignol; that brings its own little brightness. I thought I was being such a subtle writer these days, left all the thunder-and-lightnings behind me with my youth and now I danced on the point of a pin. But hey, they want sex and blood and gore, I guess I can still oblige. I just looked up 'gore', to be sure I wasn't committing a tautology (you can get flung out of the Bloggers' Union for that, you know), and it derives from the Old English for filth or dung, the Old Norse cud or slime. Those meanings are technically obsolete, but hey, so let's recover 'em. Interesting to know how the word made that shift, from filth to clotted blood to blood in general; I do have the soul of a philologist, just not the academic patience. But apparently there's a thing called gory dew, 'a dark-red slimy film sometimes seen on damp walls, etc, a simple form of vegetable life'. Now that is worth recovering. [Definitions here, herebefore and hereinafter are courtesy of Chambers, if not otherwise credited. The only dictionary, apart from one or two of the others...]
© Chaz Brenchley 2003
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.