There is a persistent sound of the ignition on the cooker going on in the kitchen and it cannot be stopped. It is clicking away, lighting up each time, waiting for the gas to set it aglow. Why has it suddenly decided to start up when it wasn’t being used, I wonder. Like creaking floorboards or things that go thud only at night. It’s as if the inanimate objects have woken up to remind you that they too will miss our presence, as we get ready to leave Bristol. A bit like the silliest short film they used to show on Doordarshan years ago where the artist is at his easel painting and each of the paint-brushes start talking to him, “Stephen, Stephen, it’s because of me you drew the picture,” in a most annoying attention-seeking voice. Stephen would keep grunting as the brushes went on repeating this, jiggling about in their mug until he finished the picture.
So as I shed four hefty printed versions of my novel into the recycling bin, cleared out all redundant material from files and folders, I experienced a release of the most subtle kind – I can feel it even now, days after.There is sadness in leaving my little paradise near the Downs with the noisy birds outside my bedroom window, but as I pare down and de-clutter and the bags for charity shops get loaded in the boot of the car, I feel there’s cause for cautious optimism ahead. There is also real pleasure in saving the precious memories into a keepsake box and letting the rest go. Letters and cards from long-lost friends, for example, who don’t play any role in my life now – I even feel happy thoughts about them and have laid those ghosts to rest.
There is a turbulent feel to my life and I’ve decided to draw strength from it. Life right now resembles a long-haul flight through an electric storm. “The captain has switched on the seat-belt sign…,” drones the voice as the plane plunges and rises through the clouds, mimicking my stomach’s movements. But, like tuning the valve radio of my youth, I aim for the right tweak that will click my favourite programme into clarity, wiping out all external noise. I’ve decided to embrace the hysteria, melodrama and the maniacal shrieks and convert them into a discordant backtrack for my life. A bit like the title track from Inspector Montalbano, the original version. Click on the above video and see if you agree with me. Ciao!