BY tea

06/01 Direct Link
IRC convo, a fortnight ago:

Me: "I've been fired."
Friend:"So ... duz this mean yer gonna be online more often???"

Haven't noticed the May smell so much this year: the sweet fragrance of blossom from a thousand trees on quiet warm midnight avenues.

Never mind. Change. Time out. Possible missions trip. Adventure. Dead dreams coming back to life.

Baked soda farl this afternoon. For the first time in forever. With olive oil and honey. Like Roman Army bread. They made theirs with spelt flour. Spelt makes grand soda bread too. But for now, Sainsbury's Low Price plain flour will do.
06/02 Direct Link
So ... oil workers get shot in Saudi and the stockmarkets panic, petrol prices go screaming up. Al-Quaida know exactly where to strike the West: in the stomach. We'd have terrorists begging for mercy if only we didn't love our money so much.

Union caseworker emailed yesterday. I may be able to appeal against dismissal after all ... on grounds of breach of probation policy.

Body clock is running five hours ahead. EDT, not BST. Not good for making the most of free sunny days.

Tonight, online, ten thirty pm:

Me: i have to write 100 words before midnight
06/03 Direct Link

The 'phone has been unplugged from the wall for two days. Last night, during those few hours of rest I turned off the chattering radio by my pillow, and sleep was good.

Traffic skooshes by my window and the laptop fan hums.

Landlord came over today to pick up rent and mend the shower head and regrout the tiles. The money was half there, like my head, so I had a rare morning excursion to the cashtill.

I'm out of routine, in limbo, but it's kind of nice.

Finding it hard to get into rhythm of this writing thing.
06/04 Direct Link
Away, offline, writing longhand instead of typing into Notepad. Showered this evening to the sound of happy voices in next room. We're on a hill. Takes ten minutes to shower properly because of low water pressure.

The house - a barn, rebuilt - looks like a hobbit hole. Writing this in a "cell": this small bedroom's name is "St Dewi". Door has handle and latch carved like bread and fish. Window tilts into quiet garden, mountain line, cloud, moon. I'm not afraid here.

Learning importance of writing 100 Words on the day. Not after.

Rhythm of writing beats me. Can't count 100.
06/05 Direct Link
Sitting on a rock, by a field, above a valley. Skyline is mountains and cloud shadows as far as eye can see. Five o'clock sun is burning my right cheek. Longhorn cattle munch long meadow grass. Somebody's asleep on the lawn. Three of us walked 3 miles to the coast, came back in car. Cup of tea cooling here on rock. Bees buzz. Swallows twitter. Sheep and scraggy trees blossom on the distant fields. This place is extraordinary.

Last night's question: How did Jesus develop community, on the road with his disciples?

Answer: Belonging came before belief. Not vice versa.
06/06 Direct Link
Midnight: "Let's get ready to RAMBLE!!"

Nightwalk down mountain passes off with no fatalities and only one ambush in the rear.

1am: The hobbit house loses a glass, thanks to me tipping over pilsner bottle during game of Anaconda.

2:30am: Compact, whitewashed, eaved, this room feels so organic it could be a cave. On the cocooning white surface roosts a single speckled moth. I've just showered and am waiting for my hair to dry. Alarm clock ticks loudly; my pen scratches softly, restlessly.

9:30am: Mountains obscured by mass of white cloud. Midday before hot sun pushes through.

We go home.

06/07 Direct Link
Feeling frustrated. Sense of inertia. Think the dismissal is finally getting to me. Felt myself starting to "go" a little bit at the hobbit house. But today, back home, I couldn't go out for bursting into tears.

Tonight a friend ended up praying for me over the 'phone. She said something quite interesting.

Wasn't 'til 3 hours later, after putting out the rubbish, walking down the warm twilight access lane, that the word picture clicked.

Boat. Standing still, until somebody comes along to make it move. That's "where I am" right now. Floating on something mobile: water. Going somewhere, sometime.

06/08 Direct Link
Through the arcade this afternoon, a passing figure flickering in reflected repetition in plate glass windows.

I considered the glimpses of me in those passing windows. She didn't look like somebody going through a crisis of confidence.

This morning I overslept and missed a small dark planet crossing the Sun.

This evening: a party for friends who are getting married. Won't tell exactly what we made them do ... but he complained more about his task than she did about hers. Fair do's: not many blokes are used to the sensation of having full makeup (and mascara) applied to their face.

06/09 Direct Link
You don't look like someone in crisis
With your insides turned to mush
Don't let this thing crush you ('cos)
You're coming out on the other side

Dream dreams, let them rise up
See visions, sing them out
Don't stop the tears, let them well up
Let the new things flow - here and now

Why shouldn't good come from pain and sorrow
Why not the new when you've crashed the old
Don't let this thing hold you back (from)
Running along a brand new road

... Don't quench the hope, let it rise up
Let your spirit flow - here and now

06/10 Direct Link
Missing the people interaction of work. Spending days squirrelled away. I'm less sharp, less confident when meeting people on the street.

"Super Thursday". Elections for local council seats and European Parliament. Local polling station had seen only 200 voters (plus 200 postal) out of 1000 when I voted at 7:30pm.

Lads who play cricket in a local car park have switched pitch to the disused Texaco forecourt. Petrol station closed last year - couldn't compete with cheap supermarket petrol. Can't be redeveloped (cheaply) because of fuel tanks. Miss the bread and newspapers. Watched forecourt come alive again with youth and motion.

06/11 Direct Link
Today = horrible. Screw it up, bin it and start again.

Mentioned lack of motivation to a friend. "Oh I get that," she said. Me: incredulous. She's self-employed. Has to go out and find work for herself regardless of mood. Felt better.

Good antidepressants: beer, Buffy, Later with Jools Holland. And Labour losing control of the city council. ('Bout time too.)

Somebody I know prayer-walked northern California. Wrote of the rhythm [paraphrase]:

"Miles and miles of nothing ........ then something. Miles and more miles of nothing ........ then another something!"

Right now, middle of nothing.

But spaces between somethings are ok.

06/12 Direct Link
Up 'til last year, I didn't know very much about Johnny Cash. Except that he once did a track on a U2 album.

This afternoon I picked up a secondhand copy of American Recordings (1994). "C'mon, Mr Cash, teach me guitar!" I thought as I walked out of the shop.

Basically it's just him and his guitar.

Cash's voice is so big, it's hard to do anything else while the tracks are playing.

"Redemption" made me cry.

I thought the tracks would be dark (the "Man In Black" reputation). But it's the gigantic humanity in his voice which strikes me.

06/13 Direct Link
Wondering why I'm having difficulty writing 100 Words entries when I can generate weblog content without any significant problem.

I'm more of a weblogger than a journaller. My blog is a page to bookmark links, a way of indulging a love of research, a means of documenting daily travels through the web.

But links don't need much more effort than writing the anchor tags. I need to practise writing more text-only entries.

I'm not going to give up on this month's batch. I need the discipline of entering these words. And the sense of achievement that completion will bring.

06/14 Direct Link
Last night I went downstairs to collect some washing from the back yard. Unfazed by the stairs in the dark, I didn't put the landing light on. I arrived at the front door just as someone else reached it from the outside. Startled my neighbour out of his skull. Embarrassment central.

Went to bed before midnight for first time in ages. Kept awake by story and song going through my head. Tried to get lyrics out of head, down on paper. Ha. They'll come back tomorrow if they want to. Inspiration comes so easy ... should I take it for granted?

06/15 Direct Link
Last night I "worked" for the first time in a month. Doing the doors at a friend's gig. Saying "hello", taking the money. Great fun. Unpaid but free entry to the gig. Invaluable experience - for the music and for the sense of "doing something".

Another friend is graduating, interview for an internship tomorrow. Her "normal" summer job has come to an end. She could see a parallel between our situations: scary time but potentially bright things, new beginnings, just round the corner.

Tonight, listened for two hours to two friends recounting their visit to southern India. Photos, stories, anecdotes, hilarity.

06/16 Direct Link
I did you wrong
I hit and run
I cut you up
The wrong is done

You did me wrong
You hit and run
You cut me off
The wrong is done

Where is the mercy
Where is your grace?
Will you shout at me again
when I show my face?

I can show you the b*tches in this world
but you ain't one
'Cos I still believe in you ...

Pain deep inside
This guilt in here
Won't wash away
Won't disappear

Your words last time
Made me think again
Made me face the facts
Made me feel ashamed ...

06/17 Direct Link
Went with a friend to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Got back in at midnight. Browsed and IRCeed and listened to the wind skooshing through the trees until 7am. Went to bed. Woke up midday. Felt depressed. Cried. Got dressed. Switched computer back on (ha). Went downstairs for post. Envelope from ex-employer, containing P45, dated today. I am now, officially, a free woman. *wink*

3:30pm. The soda farls are cooling snug in their checkered teatowel (softens the crust). I'm thinking of Portugal and the tv sets switching on everywhere for the England v Switzerland game at 5pm.

06/18 Direct Link
Tired, headachey, periodish. Fed up and drained of things to say. So I think. Doesn't mean I am that way. Easy to generate content. Just type, girl.

Packing for the weekend wedding beside the sea. Black dress with the sparkles in it, the celtic necklace and earrings my cousin gave me and the black ballet shoes that I wore with the bridesmaid dress at her wedding. When I last wore those, I still had a job.

The one thing I hate about these entries is counting the words. Anyone know of a Notepad-type package which incorporates a word counter?

06/19 Direct Link
Another Friday night, another strange room, another weekend away with friends: another reminder that relocation brings refreshment. How easy it is to pick up the pad and write. Because I have no choice. Well - not so wide a choice. In this hotel room I'm outside routine, undistracted by domestic clutter. (No computer!!)

Bathroom tap drips annoyingly, melodically. Seagulls chunter in the dark.

12 hours' time - another wedding. Hope they're both ok. Please let it all go well, Lord.

- My cousin's wedding, glorious weekend, a month ago. Fitting her into her dress. Watching them, five minutes married, caressing each other's hands.

06/20 Direct Link

Lying underneath this monkey puzzle tree
So strange (awesome/hilarious) in its monkey complexity
And I'm thinking ...
"I can think larger!"


Something hasn't been discovered
Someone's waiting to be met
Searching for the answer
To that single question mark

On the beach, in the park, with friends, outside routine
There's something ... adventure, a journey, a dream

and I'm yearning for it, chasing it ...
The question is me?

What am I here for?
What's hidden?
What's buried?
What's missing?

Lord, You can see the tapestry,
you can see the complexity
and you can make sense of it.

"... living more ..."

06/21 Direct Link
Fasted. Well ... I forget to eat anyway so I fasted by switching off the computer and the radio.

The Lord's Prayer song from the wedding kept going through my head.

A quote from Jerry Dyer in Dirt downhilling magazine: "Follow your dreams, people."

Sometime in the afternoon I felt I should switch on the 'puter again. Waiting in the inbox was a message from HR re: my appeal. Their decision was still final.

Fretted to a friend about applying for work with an apparently abysmal sickness absence record. She went: "hey - it's a distraction - it's a red herring." Great girl.

06/22 Direct Link
The friends who married at the weekend are now on a five-week honeymoon exploring Thailand and Cambodia.

The musician friends who played at their wedding are also away for the next five weeks, touring the US.

Other friends have just come back from being in India for two weeks.

Sunday: a family I know tell me they're moving to India for a year.

I wanna get on my bike and go somewhere.

Worst that can happen is that my bank manager will give me stern looks re: loan repayments and mum will keep telling me how worried she is.

06/23 Direct Link
The most unJunelike day. Grey. Gales. Bright green clumps of leaves scattered across tarmac. So strange to see full-clad trees in full blow.

June 23rd. Seven days until the end of this batch. Seven days until the handover of Iraq.

Stuck for words, I look out of the window and watch green branches swirl and thrash. Mums and dads in blustery coats gather towards the school gates. It's half-past three. Hometime. The little ones are coming out now.

Apathetic, watching bright happy figures, big and small, milling in the schoolyard, I long for routine and companionship. It'll come.

06/24 Direct Link
Pending departure of those friends to the subcontinent has brought sharp regret for the wrongs I did against them. This afternoon, honest remorse. Sign of healing up, moving on, leaning into God.

Sun and breezes blew me and the bike late into town, around 6pm. Kelly's advert for temp industrial workers appealed. Will investigate tomorrow ... sign up for housing benefit if no go.

Work for six months, then ditch job, flat, go travel. Provisional plan. Meantime, ditch telephone/cable too? Save money.

England were robbed of that semifinal place this evening. Campbell's 90th-minute goal should have stood. STUPID ref.

06/25 Direct Link
Listening to Glastonbury, live. Glad I didn't go to Reading the other weekend. Spent LOT of money at the wedding.

Sunny but didn't go to town. 'Phoned temp agency. Need CV. Argh. Pigeonhole time.

Yesterday, pondered depending on God even if the money runs out. Need to sign on soon but ... job soon? How about activating that word "sabbatical" ... taking time out with God? "walking on water"?

Responding to my wanderlust, an online friend wrote:

Just get on that bike
And go where the wild geese go.
Don't stand in the line.


"needs more wild goose"

Need the loo.

06/26 Direct Link
Two years ago, sensing my frustration, somebody said God was taking me "from A to D via B and C".

Yahweh's a God of movement. Religion misses it: same old, same old ... stone dead. But he's like a butterfly floating behind a bush. Chase it, wonder where it's gone, see it floating off somewhere unexpected. You have to relocate yourself to find it, him, you.

"Truly a God who hides himself!" Asking "What am I here for?", finding no pat answer, I'm learning his absence isn't rejection, abandonment, so much as "Dad" playing hide and seek.

Come and find me.

06/27 Direct Link
The thing I regret the most, is in the past.

Yes, the pain is deep. But pain is temporary.

There's a time to mourn. A time also to move on.

This place I can go to:
in your shadow
under your cloak
hidden away
close to you.

Been watching Glastonbury coverage all weekend. Highlight has to be the Scissor Sisters. (Jake Shears. And his funky dungarees.) Macca was surprisingly good. Wish they wouldn't move the camera around so much on the dance acts. No fun with analogue black and white TV. Could barely see Orbital on stage. Muse were scary.

06/28 Direct Link
I'm completely out of synch. And I completely want to forget ever working for my former employer.

Unconstructive, I know. But it's where I'm at.

Iraq has been handed over two days early. Welsh journalist Stu Hughes broke the news on his blog before anyone else did. He's out in Istanbul covering the NATO summit ... for the BBC, I think. Hope he still has a job.

Just chewed my nails to pieces watching Henman v Philippoussis. Camera kept cutting to Lucy Henman during the last set. Commentator: "Isn't this bad for her health?"

I really need an early night. Going.

06/29 Direct Link
The most pathetic excuse yet for initiating a Jobseeker's Allowance claim: I was bored.

This morning I pressed the Escape key. Met with friend in town at Cafe E. Took 2 large cups of Traditional English to make me sociable. By 2pm I'd 'phoned up re: Jobseeker's, sorted out new Housing Benefit claim, transferred old credit card balance. Reward for all that uncharacteristic industry: a visit to the city library. Good to be able to go back into the world of information as an anonymous punter. But ten-year-old work habits die hard. Caught myself resequencing books on shelves.

06/30 Direct Link
Soundtracks lift memories out of neural grooves. Headphones: trance beat of motion. Retina: speeding landscape. The train spat itself out of Kings Cross, hurtling through sunny fields, cloud shadows, electric catenary, toward my cousin's wedding. Toward unemployment. Friday hope rarely anticipates Monday disaster.

Mum's had a car crash. Four hours of motorway, hail, rain, no problem. Mile from her destination, old guy shoots out of a driveway, ploughs her sideways. Bruises. Apologies. Car undriveable.

I thought she was taking the train.

She's just asked if I'm doing anything "constructive" with my dole time.

Sitting still. Speeding towards adventure. Or something.