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:
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:
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:
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.
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.