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All my worldly goods

  Mon 21st October 2019

To Lancaster for a couple of days. Wendy has been ill for some time and was in hospital. I was surprised to see she was in one of her close-fitting dresses. "I thought I'd make an effort for you." She's home now and has a supply of morphine for the pain, but is still badly debilitated, and it's a condition which will need lifelong management. I didn't want to come back to Bristol. I just wanted to hold her hand and do what I could.

My mum was over too. Easy company, easily pleased, with charity shops and the big flea market. Lancaster was small, drab, and loveable. Settling back into my accent; the laconic enquiries after me which turn immediately into an indifference I find restful. Nothing is expected of me.

Tuesday afternoon was set aside for Fitbit. The night before, a couple of messages saying how much she's looking forward to seeing me; another similar one at 9.40 on Tuesday morning. An hour-and-a-half before we're meeting, she cancels, saying she feels rough.

I keep my enquiries after her health polite and distant, but in the evening, she asked about the people in The Shipbuilder's Arms, and I couldn't keep it up any longer. "They're fine, same as usual. I don't like how you keep on cancelling on me, Fitbit. You've done it over and over again. It's shoddy and disrespectful, and not how you treat a friend."

"I knew I would get this, you selfish prick, fuck off then." I didn't reply, but have acted on her suggestion.

At work on Wednesday, Brenda said "it's nice to have you back looby," which made me feel lovely. I'm not much good even at the simple tasks I'm allocated, but I'm friendly and hardworking.


The storage company write to say that they're auctioning off all the stuff I have in storage with them, on the flimsy excuse that I am £900 in arrears with them. Everything of mine from the past forty years, sold and gone. I won't miss the furniture, but the books, records and clothes were harder to part with. I have become sanguine about it now. Bristol's a new beginning, starting with four shirts.


Hayley rings. After the multiple hellos on the street every day in Lancaster, I had a forlorn moment looking at my phone: this is my only friend in Bristol. It's turned sour with the boyfriend. Lacking any other options, she moved into his flat, but he has started telling her to shut up, and I got a sad little text from her the other night when he'd told her that he was spending Christmas with his ex.

"I am literally, sleeping with the enemy," she said, aware that she's prostituting herself for accomodation.

6 comments »

6 comments

Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Re the storage - Sometimes I wish a lot of my stuff would just go away. Maybe I will bung it in storage and then they can deal with it. Belongings are often emotional baggage.
Sx

Mon 21st October 2019 @ 12:10 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Mine’s not emotional baggage, Well maybe – it’s vanity, my story of myself, but looking round my bookshelves and records was really rooting, and I won’t have that any more. It all comes down to housing really. I’m wotried about where I’ll live, all the time. Living with only what’s most immediate isn’t a liberation to me.

Then I think, STFU, you’ve chosen this life :)

Mon 21st October 2019 @ 18:27 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

I know i’m supposed to be free of the longing of all worldly possessions (as per my stoned philosophical readings and shite) but let’s face it, the LPs and books are our personal history, in the perusing of them there is a story to be told, one with words and music that help define the people we are, if feel for your loss good Sir and though i know some will say “they’re just things” they are more than that… i will raise the bong high in hopes that they find a good home and the possibility that they may find there way into some hands that value them, that may spark thinking or creativity and that they’ll be loved as you had loved them.

and i know a bit how Hayley feels, i don’t sleep with the enemy i sleep on the couch downstairs but i know what it’s like a bit to whore yourself out for accomodation, i of course remind myself who and why i’m here but that only lessens the sting not remove it.

Wed 23rd October 2019 @ 19:53 Reply to this comment
Comment from: [Member]

Yes – I don’t go along with this idea that things like records and books are just material things. They’re far more than that. I’d love to know where everything ends up too (although if that’s a tip in China perhaps I’d prefer not to know).

It’s a difficult situation you’re in and I know the feeling having done a similar thing in the past myself.

I wish Hayley could save up for a whle and get her own place. She spent £400 the other day on getting some tiles done for her an artwork she’s been working on. Artists eh? :)

Fri 25th October 2019 @ 09:02 Reply to this comment

Surprised to see Wendy’s name appear. Hope she’s well. Do not discount friendly and hard working. That’s a premium. The teacher whip around caught me off guard and made me inexplicably sad. That’s a Tuesday morning for you.

Tue 29th October 2019 @ 11:54 You are currently replying to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Wendy’s really going through it. She will always be here. I just didn’t want to say too much because not sure if I should be talking too much about her when she’s so ill, with a consuming, draining condition.

Yes, I was astonished when Jenny told me about the teachers helping her and her sisters. If I could, I’d get in touch with all of them and thanks them with the depths of gratitude that that act deserves.

Tue 29th October 2019 @ 16:25 Reply to this comment


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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person


M / 55 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.


There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

I am here to change my life. I am here to force myself to change my life.
Chinese man I met during Freshers Week at Lancaster University, 2008

The more democratised art becomes, the more we recognise in it our own mediocrity.
James Meek

Tell me, why is it that even when we are enjoying music, for instance, or a beautiful evening, or a conversation in agreeable company, it all seems no more than a hint of some infinite felicity existing apart somewhere, rather than actual happiness – such, I mean, as we ourselves can really possess?
Turgenev, Fathers and Sons

I hate the iPod; I hate the idea that music is such a personal thing that you can just stick some earplugs in your ears and have an experience with music. Music is a social phenomenon.
Jeremy Wagner

La vie poetique has its pleasures, and readings--ideally a long way from home--are one of them. I can pretend to be George Szirtes.
George Szirtes

Using words well is a social virtue. Use 'fortuitous' once more to mean 'fortunate' and you move an English word another step towards the dustbin. If your mistake took hold, no-one who valued clarity would be able to use the word again.
John Whale

One good thing about being a Marxist is that you don't have to pretend to like work.
Terry Eagleton, What Is A Novel?, Lancaster University, 1 Feb 2010

The working man is a fucking loser.
Mick, The Golden Lion, Lancaster, 21 Mar 2011

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