Thursday, November 18, 1982


It's strange coming home. In one sense I feel as if I’ve never been away. I came down this morning and it could have been September all over again, the radio playing strange sad modern Radio 3 classics, Dad writing quietly at the table (reams of pages now), wind and scudding skies outside, the garden torn by gales. Yet in another way—I can’t explain—I feel as though I’m not really here somehow, that I don’t properly belong. . . . It’s just a feeling of impermanence somehow.

For a while I tried to do some work, reading Berkeley’s Dialogues (not all that bad), but mostly I just enjoyed being home. Dad continued writing, occasionally reading me little incidents, and at 2.30 he ran me on to the bank, then Easterby where I bought some more pumps. It was good to be back in the old place.

I feel wiser to human nature now. I carry Watermouth with me and feel I have it to fall back on, a reassuring and comforting factor in the back of my mind . . . I have difficulty writing what I really mean.

In the evening I went up to Grant’s. How easily I fall back into my niches and ruts of life! I sat at the same table listening to music, the light low over me like a pool room light as though the last month and fifteen days have never been. Grant donned a small felt trilby and we went out into the slick city wetness of Lodgehill to call round on Lee. It was good to see him again and he showed us his Foundation course photos; they’re really very good and I think that maybe one day he’ll be a superb artist, for he’s got real talent and a fine compositional eye.

We strode out through torrential downpours of rain and hail to the Oakdale, and Lee lit up a pipe full of mixed seasoning herbs like oregano, which smelled so suspicious and generated thick oily smoke. The Oakdale was cheap, ordinary and unpretentious. It felt uncomplicated. From there we walked on to The Barge on Three Locks Road: laughter at pulp fiction Richard Blade adventures. “An incredible time-space journey to Dimension X!” promised the cover, and inside was a badly written saga of Bond-style macho man Blade’s encounters with Amazonian huntresses who use apemen for sport, sex and food. Hilarious prose: “Her hands plunged down into Blade’s groin as though she was plunging them into a basket of fruit,” and so on for pages.

We ended the night chewing on fish and chips in wet and windy Moxthorpe. I bid Grant and Lee goodbye till Christmas, which looms so near (trees and Santas up already). I got a last sight of ‘em disappearing along Ashgate Terrace, Grant in his pork-pie hat on the left taking long ungainly strides, his face turned in attentive conversation, Lee in his long grey overcoat and silky scarf, both destined for separate unknown and distant situations, faces and scenarios I will never be a party to.

And I for mine. . . . Lee says he may try for Art College in Watermouth next year. It has a good reputation. That would be really great.

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