Duty done and the smell of leathers

Wednesday April 2, 2008

I trod the damp, sticky Bridgwater pavements early this morning with the dreaded white envelope in my pocket, intent on sacking the present estate agent.

Mission accomplished with zero casualties on both sides I stepped out again, suffering sniper fire in the form of food smells from several breakfast stores and stalls, and came back home with only a short side-trip to Sainsbury’s.

The agent keeps the property on his books now for two weeks at which point it transfers to the new one.  I agreed to let the old guy continue to market the house for the period of notice, and to drop the price to the point I’ve agreed with the new one.  He did his best to impress me with his urgent intent to move heaven and earth to get the house sold in the next two weeks.  I fear that I’m no longer so easily impressed.  Not so much cynical as worldly-wise.

Now, home, and wondering what I ought to do for my breakfast.  A slice of dry toast and a large Spanish orange sounds good, and I’ll see if I can’t bribe Graham into making me an espresso to go with it.

I’m feeling I’ve done my duty already and yet the hours of the day still spread before me.  I shall settle in the sun with Thom Gunn and My Sad Captains, dreaming of shoulder-stretched leather and the distant laughter of younger times:

My Sad Captains

One by one they appear in
the darkness: a few friends, and
a few with historical
names. How late they start to shine!
but before they fade they stand
perfectly embodied, all

the past lapping them like a
cloak of chaos. They were men
who, I thought, lived only to
renew the wasteful force they
spent with each hot convulsion.
They remind me, distant now.

True, they are not at rest yet,
but now they are indeed
apart, winnowed from failures,
they withdraw to an orbit
and turn with disinterested
hard energy, like the stars.

–Thom Gunn


4 responses to “Duty done and the smell of leathers

  1. let’s hope the old guy’s pride pushes him to pull out all the stops, that’s not an anecdote he wants doing the roads in Bridgwater – how the other guy sold it when he couldn’t etc.

    Bravo on the breakfast dodging…

  2. “I fear that I’m no longer so easily impressed. Not so much cynical as worldly-wise”…

    I just might borrow that line, John, if you don’t mind. (A good one to toss at my 20 yr old son, ha!)

    Hey – my grass is GREEN!!! It’s a glorious Emerald Isle green! I looked out this morning and I swear I’ve never seen it this brilliant before. (Jim said I’ve just been waiting so long that it appears greener! hehe!)

  3. any chance he can make an espresso for me too? I like a little bit of lemon peel in there, please

  4. How long do agents generally sign on for?

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