Fresh starts and sonnets

Saturday January 14, 2006

Today we drove along the road to Skegness and to Tesco’s through the soft, comfort blanket of a mid-winter day.

Interspersed with warnings to one another about the foolishness of counting a house sale as being done and dusted before contracts have been exchanged, we played fun games with planning the move, our stay in the caravan, and the kind of house we’re likely to find ourselves turning into a home once more.

“I think we should do a major de-clutter,” I said. “Ruthless. Not just stuff we’ve left unused in the boxes since we moved here but also things like furniture we don’t really like or need anymore.”

“Such as?”

“Oh, the dining chairs. I’ve always hated the things.”

“Good. I want a dining nook complete with corner bench seating in the next place.”

“Suits me. Just so’s I can have a captain’s chair.”

“It’s a deal. And there are still several boxes of unused kitchen stuff in the garage.”

“Get ’em down and I’ll eBay them.”

And so it went. We both of us rather hanker for as fresh a start as is both possible and sensible. I’ve already secured a Freecycle deal with a guy who wants our surplus tumble drier [clothes drier] and there are a number of similar perfectly sound and usable things we need to get rid of but for which there is no ready market. Between eBay, Freecyle, the charity shops and recyle bins at the supermarket, we hope to keep trips to the dump to a minimum.

Another aid to clearing out surplus and duplicated stuff is the caravan that is to be turned over permanently to Graham for his use in his new job. That will need furnishing and decorating just as much as our present and future homes. We have far too many art pots and pictures to keep on permanent display, for instance, and they can find their way into the caravan.

Providing we can keep sentiment and that old “it might come in handy one day” thinking under control we’ll arrive at the other end of the house move with a pretty clean slate. I find that an enticing prospect.

The trip to Skegness and our second visit to Tesco’s was at least as successful as the first. I doubt we’ll be seeing much of the Boston Tesco’s from now on.

Back home, sitting over a big mug of coffee and mulling over the winter landscape, I encountered one of those moments when a poetic trigger hits you, like an arthritic twinge and almost as painful. Working on it during the afternoon and evening it turned itself into sonnet form. I’ve got the sequence, argument and conclusion pretty much the way I want it and shall leave it now to moulder a bit until I can smooth the words out and uncover the musical flavour required of a sonnet. Meantime, I have a thought that there are three more waiting to be hatched. Sonnets almost always come in sets.


Mid winter
Summer is a world away. The fields, formless,
fall across a landscape far from fecundity.
Soft, though, and quietly comforting, like the
sky above, not cold, not wet, just winter.
Tomorrow the wind will come. Walking
along the lane I shall need to keep my head
down, following the path, avoiding the blast,
pacing the way from memory, far from vision.
Yesterday the sun shone. Charcoal sketch lines
hedged each field, swirling fever dreams
over the land, marking the limits of long
forgotten spit-palmed rural negotiations.
Today the sky, without bounds, held my eye.
     Not cold, not wet, just winter.
John Bailey
Lincolnshire, January 2006



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