the sounds of 2018
operatic voices rising, my own included, then falling away
the whirr and grind of the sanding machine
the builder rolling paint onto the walls: up, down, up, down while I worked in the other room
the purr of an engine as I turned on the car and started to drive
screech and yank and bang of furniture moving and plumbing
floorboards giving a sharp loud smack as I pulled them up
beeping hospital machines (I thought I was done with those)
the murmur of danish tv shows
the blissful sound of silence
a finally tuned piano
my first strum of a guitar
and, towards the end, the new cat miaowing and galloping around.
the sights of 2018
florence in all its intricate beauty
the sun dazzling a secret river cove in the tuscan countryside
the eerie beauty of a louisiana swamp
finally, the ocean in south carolina again:
sharks and stingrays swimming beneath me as I stood on the pier
light dancing on the trunks of the sycamore trees in the park
and the wizened little tree next to my table at the garden centre:
I like to look at its wrinkles as I sit and write.
paint samples: no not that one, maybe, ideally a bit darker, almost – yes!
the deep blue of the living room and the leaf shadows cavorting across the walls
lit candles providing an evening contrast, and the green light from the ship’s lamp
a cascade of white fur, sloughing her fluffing in clouds as I’m brushing
and the seasons chasing each other across the green.
the smells of 2018
dog. dog in my house, then back to her family.
various incenses and oils: the aptly named Abysmal Depths, some pine resin for solstice, and palo santo to bid the year goodbye.
me in the kitchen cooking a bit more, having some food adventures
the weird underlying smell of evil in new orleans –
I never did get to the bottom of what that was –
various rainstorms, topping and tailing a long hot summer when the city smelled of dust and sweat and sunscreen
tantalising truffles in tuscany, and in the forest the scent of wild sage
damp in the downstairs hallway
and upstairs the scent of home: a mixture of all the things that make my life mine,
once the smell of paint on the walls had dried away.
the tastes of 2018
very good wine.
earthy, complex, bursting with berries; heavy, french and serious or joyful, chatty and italian.
a smoky peaty whisky coming out for christmas (now a tradition)
miso glazed aubergines and cayenne-paprika sweet potatoes
and brunches at the garden centre in the baking sun.
roast chickens and roast vegetables
terrible food in texas and south carolina
but better in providence – good seafood – and those po’boys in new orleans, well!
a couple of exciting new cocktails
truffled pizza takeaways from the new pizzeria
scrambled eggs on toast in amsterdam
a strong, perspiring roquefort: my first cheese of the year
and in florence, a whole meal based on truffles and wine.
the feel of 2018
fur on skin and claws as she pads my lap happily
a numbness, a lack of feeling really, a strange non-sensation all the more present for its absence
the weight of boxes of books and cats and assorted paraphernalia
a slick smooth pen and my hand brushing against paper as I write
a strange squeezy feeling in my chest, and a headache like a bright light
my arm resting on leather, and then velvet
the breeze running across the living room floor
and the pocket of heat over by the candles
bath water going cold around me while I finish reading a book
my fingertips flying over keyboards, computer and piano
and the slotting of a key into a lock: