July 20, 2016

6.00 am. Distant thunder rumbled, neither nearing nor departing, for several hours in the early morning as I lay in bed. Bright white flashed, intermittently, against the dawn sky. (I recalled Walter de Maria’s Lightning Fields (1977).)  7.30 pm. Horizontally inclined, I looked to the sky as I performed my prescribed back exercises:

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8.00 am. I responded to email correspondence related to PhD matters before pressing on with the booklet. This has turned into factory-like production: page by page, image by image, caption by caption. 10.00 am. To town, and a shearing at the hairdressers. En route:

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Urban Dictionary: ‘Tander. A term only used by people that can handle the pressure of using it … it means like cool or steller .. .the oppisite [sic] of snarky’. That sounds about right. In Swedish, ‘tänder’ means ‘teeth’.

For the remainder of the morning and throughout the afternoon I pushed out more pages of the booklet. A tedium has crept in. Ideally, I should interrupt the workflow with a contrasting activity. This will be the policy next week, once the bulk of the booklet is behind me.

Plans are afoot to make a return trip to Abertillery in the near future. This was the bus stop on the High Street where, as a young boy, I’d catch either the 121, 122 or 152 Red & White bus to the High Street, Blaina:

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I passed — what seemed to me then — the interminable wait for the next scheduled arrival by pushing the stiff and cold metal buttons that illuminated lightbulbs on the Town Guide.

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On High Street, Blaina (c.1963)

In Greek, the word ‘nostalgia’ means the pain of homecoming. For me, returning to my place of origin is a sweet ache — like that of either a love lost, an intimacy remembered, or a friendship recovered.

I confront myself in a photograph taken at the outset of my life. He stares back at me, aware of being observed (by the lens and the photographer behind it). Frozen (like his ice cream) … as though arrested by some sudden inner realisation or consciousness. (Did he somehow know that I would look at him from this vantage point, so long after?) In photography, there is always someone other than the photographer, looking.

Evening. I determined to get up to page 50 in the booklet by the close of the day.

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