Lady Frost

It snowed on Sunday.

It was the most beautiful moment. The flakes floated down softly, yet vastly, and blanketed the world in white silence. It continued this way, muffling the earth and quieting the anxiety.

It settled in mounds, neatly covering surfaces, polite enough not to transgress corners too sharply.

Then the night set in. The skies were clear and bright, deceivingly normal. They told no secrets, and never whispered of the harsh frost that slid down over the snow, beads of icy diamond, crystal hand running smoothly over the world, leaving trails of black ice and hardening the surface of the globe.

Harsh.

Bitter.

Painful.

Treacherous.

Tendrils of bitter cold snaking through the streets, splaying over the pathways, freezing around the condensation on doors, cracking in the locks and stubbornly welding things together.

The world was so beautiful come morning. White and blue, a clear sky in stages of brightening colour, black, bare boughs against soft blues and yellows of a mellow sky.

The snow didn’t melt, it stayed in the same way in which it settled, untouched, with a dangerous glint to its surface.

And pavements were deadly, and cars crackled on the road as they inched oh so slowly around corners.

Frost is the most beautiful and majestic creature, she changes the world so marvellously, but to love her is to prick one’s finger on a flowering rose bush. She is deceiving and devious. She is only good in sips, the rest of the time one spends peering at her through heavy hoods or the cloudy window from the warmth of one’s home.

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Love Letters #41

Dear Hana,

Do you know what a wastrel is? I didn’t either, until Master Jeffman called me one today. A wastrel of a boy, he said, shaking his meaty fist at me. What is a boy to do, when called a wastrel? What did I do? I fed the pigeons with his share of the corn, that’s what I did. I fed the pigeons and thought of new ways to become a worse wastrel than I already am. He missed his corn, at supper, and blamed the cook, who was beside herself. I felt truly a wastrel, then, and owned up to it. Suffice it to say that my revenge was short-lived, and I must be more resourceful in future when I decide to carry out acts of subtle retaliation.

On Saturday Twig and I stole some bread from the kitchen. It was for the ducks by Het’s Pond – they seem a little on the waify side lately. Twig reckons it might be because the pond has frozen over, and they have nowhere to fly to. If you’re really quiet of a frosty dawn, you can hear all the manner of bird calls. Jenny wrens, jack daws, tom tits and robin redbreasts. The ducks are quiet, then. You can see them just about waking up, stretching their wings and giving their feathers a sleepy shake. The world is beautiful at dawn; we swing our legs over the side of the bridge and yearn to fish – only we can’t break that stubborn, thick surface of the water.

Twig reckons they should have called it ‘Het’s Lake’, on account of the pond being 40 acres wide. I told him quite dismissively that the idea had already been put to the Council, but to no avail. Twig reckons he is a visionary. He has started wearing those glasses he’d squirrelled away last year, and introduces himself now to the others, the new ones, as ‘Dr Blackadder’. Never to the Masters, of course, they would whip him to a pulp. A prime fellow is my brother, I say, in utmost sarcasm.

In the morning, sometimes, the folk at the House bring their skates down and have a capital time of it. We watch from the bridge, they shout eloquently at each other and have snowball fights on the ice, twirling about and making quite a show of it, their valets and servants bringing them hot cocoa on silver trays, traipsing down the side of the slope as though summoned by magic, floating over the snow like angels of warmth and luxury.

The dawn is our time, though. Our own time, away from the Masters, away from the drudgery, away from the relentless hours of physical exertion. We fall asleep at night as soon as our heads hit the pillows, but we always wake up just before the first light of dawn, when the stars, bright and twinkling in the winter sky, are just starting to fade. We wake up and drag ourselves down to the side of the lake, we listen to the birdsong and saturate our souls in the still atmosphere of a waking world.

And I think of you, Hana, and how I am not truly a wastrel, unless I have wronged you in some way. I am not a wastrel, if the world welcomes me at dawn, and allows me to live in the miraculous time when the skin kisses our part of the globe, and turns night into day. The air shifts, the songs start, and the day stretches, yawns, and slowly embraces the earth.

Yours, always,

Seb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Yawning of Spring.

Spring stepped delicately into the world today, folks.

Wanna know how I know? The birds are chirping songs that sound mysteriously like summer songs, and the wind is breezy, not biting. The sun popped in a few times to say hello, she is now snuggled behind some grey clouds but the atmosphere she has left behind is promising.

I am wearing a light t-shirt and all the windows in my house are open! I was also taken by a sudden urge to air the house out and do some thorough cleaning – that is a sign of waking from hibernation if any. I truly understand the term ‘spring cleaning’ now. In winter, one wants to bundle up and only cleans after weeks of dust settling, groaning because the water is too cold and getting wet means icy extremities.

In spring, however, one WANTS to clean.

Also, the last sign that spring has fluffed her frills today, is the tinkly, glorious sound of the ice cream van. A jolly summery jingle, flooding the streets and bringing back memories of sunshine and leaves. Oh, LEAVES. I haven’t seen leaves since October!

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Isn’t spring so beautiful?

Ode to Britain’s Sunshine

Today the sun woke up after a long and dreary hibernation. She warmed up the world with her rays. She flooded crystal light through nooks and crannies, brightening up what was once so dull. She ignited every blade of grass, and when you peered through the dry, wintry boughs, she set on emerald fire the bushes lurking between.

She set the fog ablaze, creating a mystic haze that was swarming with glittering fairies. She yawned, and her open mouth spilled gold onto window panes, shimmering starkly next to brilliant white and glorious red brick.

She brought colour into the world, is what she did. England without sunshine is a dreary grey slab. The cold sees fit to drape its frosty tentacles over the landscape, breathing air that is metal in its harshness, and making it so breathing is painful. England without sunshine is gum spots on pavements being too bright, and rubbish in the gutter claiming the centre of visual attention. England without sunlight is pink faces and rolling beer cans, its a world over which one has spilled dirty paint water, so all the colours have run together, merging into a desolate, muddy grey mix. England without sunshine is a dirty colourless filter over the world.

And the minute the sun beams down upon us, England is once again crowned in glory.

Oh, world, England is such a beautiful country. With her rolling hills, charming knotted trees and grass so green the emerald princesses are jealous. Even her little winding roads with the small wooden fences on the side, the fringes of grass over grown and the brambly hedges have a magical charm to them.

I had forgotten I lived somewhere so beautiful.

I hope the sun doesn’t wait so long again to show her face, less the desolation of winter seep back into life again. I know there is some rigorous scientific explanation behind happiness and sunshine, but I don’t want to think about that. I want to believe that the sunshine has magical powers, that it wields a paintbrush and a magic wand. That it turns squat houses huddled sombrely along an icy road in a grey stain into majestic, beautiful buildings with vibrant white trellises and bricks made from the finest clay and fired in the hottest ovens.

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They say only those descended from the elves can see the Dryads in this picture. Can you?

Notes

Notes.

Everyday, with a timestamp, and a small sentence or a quote that, frankly, meant nothing.

6.23PM – Sat 18th November

May this day beam you well, and the rest shine brighter.

What did that even mean?!

It was mid autumn, so the days were short and grey, flashes of red and brown and vibrant yellow swiftly dragging the winter ever closer. Soon even those colours would vanish, as the world settled in its dismal, bare armed huddle to wait the winter out.

I liked this time of year. I loved my jumpers and my thick red scarf aunty Mel had bought for me from Harrods three years ago. I wore it everywhere, and it still looked as delightfully new and pristine as it did the first day I unwrapped it from its cocoon of crispy tissue paper.  I loved the way leaves would pile up in soggy mounds on the wet pavements, and the way damp gravel scraped under my heel. I loved how the tip of my nose and my cheeks glowed with the warmth of my body, as the raging elements whipped around my outer garments. They had no way in, and I loved that.

And everyday, when I left home after giving my mother a toast-and-tea kiss, pulling on my stripy gloves, I would catch a note.

The first note was just lying on the ground. It drew attention to itself because it was so out of the ordinary. It certainly looked ordinary enough, but it had been raining all night, and the note, sitting atop the bush at the end of my front garden, was dry as a bone. It flapped a little, but it was wedged in between the twigs. I pulled it out,

6:10AM – Mon 26th September

I don’t know where pineapples come from, but I would sure love to see the apples my Pines produce.

Huh. I put the note in my pocket. Perhaps it was somebody’s and they dropped it and it got caught in that hedge. I went off and had my day.

The next morning there was another note.

7:23AM – Tue 27th September

Where the wild creatures roam, a sea of orchids will nod.

 This time it was folded neatly and slotted in between the wooden slats of my front gate. I slid it into my pocket again.

This one seemed intentional.

 

 

Love Letters #10

Dear Amelia,

One day, when I return, there will be summer and rain at the same time. There will be a rainbow over our apple tree, and we will watch the seasons merge into each other, the apples growing larger and sweeter. One day, there will be a future for us.  After the rot of the city has lifted. After the destruction has become a faint memory, we will live again. Life will sprout through the cracked crevices of what once was our solid foundation. It has been shattered, but we haven’t, dearest. We haven’t.

Yours truly,

Dean

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Time Soars

Just finished reading the Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon for my next assignment. When I logged onto the university website I realised it was due in five days, and my 4k word assignment in seven.

Where did time go? WHERE?

The book was mighty eye opening, and I didn’t understand why they didn’t go home even though they were lonely and unhappy. I mean, sure the money was an issue, but even those who raised it didn’t go home.

That is curious, see? It’s the idea of an illusion that they are still chasing, even after ten years (in the case of Moses). And I was suddenly gripped with the fear that what if I end up like that, always chasing my dreams but never quite getting there.

Well, the first step would be, of course, to ace this assignment, and then ace my exam.

‘Tis a sweltering day, folks, and the masses have left their humble abodes to parade about the city slowly peeling off their layers to reveal the pasty skin they have kept under wraps for the majority of this confusing season. But the temperatures have soared, and roofed places are stuffy, so sitting in this glass library which is acting like a green house is punishment enough.

Although I have to say I am enjoying dissecting Lonely Londoners.

Adieu, and happy Saturday, and Happy Mother’s Day to those celebrating today. We had ours back in March 🙂

 

School Trip

The week has come to an end, and so has my thunder cloud mood.

We went on a school trip today with Year 1 and 2, and despite going through four seasons of weather in one afternoon, it was an enjoyable trip. Kids are sweet, and they do come out with the funniest things.

We hiked through a forest, and mounted a summit. Some children were being blown away by the wind at the top of the hill, and their terror combined with the way they were reaching out to the teacher, but being pushed further and further away, was a pile of hilarity for me and my sister in law.

Obviously we kept our laughter in check at the time, but my oh my what laughs we had later.

I have to say, though, that I think the trip should have been cancelled, and it wasn’t such a good idea to take a bunch of six year olds on a hike because they aren’t going to appreciate that. They just want to play.

I did try to engage them by pointing out different kinds of trees and how you can tell an oak apart from a birch. We also examined animal droppings (once we got over the toilet humour!) to see which animal might have passed by before us.

All my knowledge of nature has come from books. I grew up in the desert, and walks like these were few and far between (every ten months when we came back to the UK for summer holidays and to see our family and grandparents, obviously), so I relished things like oak leaves and pine cones and rabbit poops. The kids in books did all the things I could only dream of. These kids sure are lucky, I tell you that much.

I think they were interested, because they kept bringing me dead leaves saying ‘Miss, this is an oak leaf, see, look at all its ridges!’

They are a bunch of cuties.

I have to say, though, that I didn’t get to sit down all day and am only just sitting down to catch up on internet stuff. In fact, I have been so busy all week that I haven’t been able to wash my clothes and I am travelling to Shropshire tomorrow to have a look at the place where they filmed Narnia (Hail C.S. Lewis!), and then to Birmingham to see the places where Tolkien grew up! Who knew he grew up in Birmingham? I don’t particularly like Birmingham but after finding out about that little Tolkien tidbit I might have to change my mind. We’ll see.

I hope those clothes dry overnight outside. You know, it’s too cold for April! We have been hailed upon and snowed down on, and the sky looks mighty troubled tonight, and breath is coming out thick and fast and hanging in the air as though it was too cold to dissipate.

Which it is.

Have a great weekend and bank holiday!

Love Letters #5

This love in tinged in darkness, I’m afraid.

I stand alone, in an empty bedroom. My clothes are strewn all over the floor. I can’t tell if I am in love, or if I am afraid.

A crumpled letter is gathering damp from my sweaty palms, clenched around it so tightly that I cease to feel where my clammy skin ends and the paper begins.

My hair is a black, scraggly mess, and my frame feels small under the weight of the large black hoody that shrouds my shoulders, several sizes too large for me. My feet are like lobsters, spread out flat on the varnished floorboards upon which they stand.

If I could go back in time, I would. I would change everything.

His face looms in front of me, long and hard, his nose so sharp it could slice cheese. His lips so thin they ceased to exist when he smiled, baring his teeth that were gapped and tinged in brown.

Dear Cecelia,

You broke my heart. You are an evil, horrible girl. How could you do this to me. How dare you. I won’t let you leave me, Cecelia. I will hunt you down. I will knock on your door and take you away. I will report you missing and find you that way, and drag you away with me, kicking and screaming I don’t care you will love it. You belong to me, only me. You hurt me so much I punched a man in the face for shouting at his girlfriend. How dare he shout at her, how dare he, when my girl left me. Come home, Cecelia, please. Come home to me, come home to where you belong.

I don’t belong to you. I belong to me. I don’t belong to anybody. And why should I stay with somebody who treated me so horribly for so many months? Somebody who forced me to do things I didn’t want to do, who preyed on my naivety and innocence, when you knew so much better. Somebody who lied to me and made me lie? Your girl? I am not your girl. I never was, you lying scumbag. Kidnap me? You think any sane person would be enticed to go to somebody who threatens to kidnap them, and who calls them a hundred times a day?

If this is your kind of love, I don’t want it. This is no love.

Come home? You aren’t home. You are cold and barren and terrifying, with your threats and your tempers and your blackmail. You are loneliness and depression. You are fear and hatred. You are misery and fury. You are not home. You could never be home.

I belong at home, yes, millions of miles from you. I wish you were dead. I wish your brain were ash, I wish you would get run over by a car and be mutilated by ten lions before I ever set eyes on you.

The sun is setting. The room is cloaked in dark twilight, the gentle light of street lamps  outside filtering in through the net curtains. My clothes are shadowy mounds on the floor. My heart palpitates as my breath becomes loud and shallow.

Stop writing to me.

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First World Problems

“I’m coolldd!” my sister chattered after a shower, as she walked into the bedroom we used to share, a towel draped around her shoulders and reaching her wet knees.

She carried on complaining as she got into her clothes, her movements rickety and exaggerated.

I rolled my eyes.

“First world problems” I murmured.

She didn’t like that.

“Ok but it’s a genuine problem” she argued, “and so what if I’m not starving to death, I’m cold and I’m allowed to express it!”

“So get into bed then,” I said meanly, “other people can’t just get into their nice comfy beds with clean sheets and get warm, but you can!”

“I don’t want to get into bed.”

“Then stop complaining.”

 

We carried on like this (as we do), back and forth, back and forth. It wasn’t serious. It was lighthearted with an underlay of years of sisterly resentment.

Later on, after I’d scrubbed a few things and my sister ceremoniously broomed the kitchen floor, she was sitting on her bed and me on mine.

“I have the worst headache,” I told her.

“First world problems.” she was quick to say, folding her legs and scrolling down her phone. She glanced smugly up at me, as I got up to go to the bathroom.

“I know, right?” I said, “Thank goodness that’s the heaviest of my problems today.”

“At least you have a head!” she called out, as I shut the bathroom door.

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