7.00 am: I awoke. (I’ve enjoyed my lie-in over the past few days.) Having packed my belongings, I took breakfast:
The landlady told me all about the plans to refurbish the rooms, her regular customers and their unwavering drinking habits (for some, the pub is a second home), and her husband’s battle with severe health problems. She struck me as being a very resourceful woman. 8.20 am: I headed for the railway station to take the train for Cardiff:
The city is far more savvy and prosperous than in those years when I lived here (1981-2, 84-5). I’d not returned since November 29, 2017 (the day when things began to unravel). My suitcase followed me like a faithful dog as I coursed the network of arcades, shopping centres (all of which looked identically soulless), and aisles of the market, took respite in cafes, and wandered without purpose and direction:
I remember too much, too often. The past can rarely be put to right. I contributed to what it was; it, in turn, has made me what I am (for better and for worse). Some ‘ghosts’ no longer haunt me; either I’ve put them to rest, or else they’ve been superceded by others. But the associations of a place contribute greatly to its significance, on a personal level. Memory is melancholy’s breath.
Wah! And about time. A more than half-decent music store had opened on St Mary’s Street. I was like a kid in a toy shop:
1.00 pm: Back at the railway station, I ate a light lunch and prepared for the voyage home:
On route, I caught up with some of the incoming emails and my diary. (I said ‘Hello’ to Shrewsbury.)
It’s too early to process the salutary effects of my away days. Tomorrow will mark the beginning of another year. Nothing else will change. Gradually, new resolutions and awareness will emerge as old and redundant ways of thinking begin to decay. Other features of the landscape will remain unchanged – uncannily so. (The box that was opened cannot be closed. ‘He who has ears to hear’.) The calamities and griefs that are to come, will still advance steadily. And yet hope remaineth, against all reason and better judgement. Having failed to move on, I’m learning to abide contentedly in silence.
5.20 pm: The return:
5.30 pm: An unpacking and preparations for the ‘morrow.