28 January 2005
A lovely thing in the post this morning, from a friend: the newsletter of the Friends of Buxton Festival, with a half-page obituary of my father. He was their treasurer for a decade, after he and my stepmother retired there (she was secretary, I think), and they clearly have very fond memories of him. He left home when I was very young, so Iíve never had the chance to see him through other eyes than the familyís, I know none of his friends; itís unexpectedly charming to discover how much one group of strangers valued him. [I was going to put a link in here, soís you could go and read the obit; the newsletter claims that itís available online. Trouble is, I canít actually find it. Maybe later...]
And then I went to see my doctor, with very genuine physical concerns - and ended up spending twenty minutes talking about my dad, and coming out with no other treatment necessary. Hey-ho. We are odd creatures, inside our bodies and otherwise. I wrote a poem twenty-odd years ago, where the theme and the first line were ĎThe dead donít go awayí; thereís truth in them thar words.
I do wish all the kipple would go away. Kipple is that stuff that accumulates around you as you go, that fills your attics and the dusty corners of your rooms. In my case, of course, it spills across half the floors; my bedroom would disgrace a teenager, and this office is a joke. Worse than the physical stuff, though, is the life-kipple. I spent most of Wednesday in a university double-marking meeting, agreeing with my colleagues that their grades were fair; most of yesterday I spent drawing up funding applications, because without support from somewhere I will not survive this year. Itís all necessary work, all part of the job of being a writer, but none of it is writing.
So this morning, coming out of the doctorís with family stuff - another kind of kipple: lived-kipple, I suppose - on my mind, I did just have to shop. I very carefully and scrupulously persuaded myself that I did not need to spend thirty quid on an unnecessary duvet cover, even in the end-of-sale sale - and then moved one rack over and spent eighty quid on a whole suite of bed linens. I shall have the best-dressed bed in town, but even so, I despair. Look, mum, more stuff...
Iím supposed to be writing reports on all my studentsí portfolios, now weíve agreed their grades. Instead of which, demonstrably, I have frittered much time away in feeling unwell, in shopping, in musing, and in cooking too. I was going to give you my recipes for Lancashire hotpot and two different kinds of cabbage to go with, but this is enough for tonight. Tomorrow, maybe. If you ask nicely.
© Chaz Brenchley 2005
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.