Where it all began… chimney pots…

I’m getting the hang of this now, I like it.  It’s not that writing is new to me, far from it, it’s all but sewn into my very being, but like this, it’s all new to me.  I’ve kept a journal since shortly after my parents parted ways when I was 9.  It’s what triggered my love for the written word.  Everything in my life changed, like the very earth I stood on shifted and moved everything I knew around.  I was observing, taking notice.  That’s what writers do.  I guess I’d an urge to document those changes, probably because it all happened so fast, and my diary was the one place I could get it all out.  From there it was poetry.  It began with maudlin poetry.  Juvenile stuff – naturally, I was 10 years of age.  My first ever that I remember writing was about that which continues to haunt me.  The rain. It began…

‘Plip plop, Rain drops,  Dropping into the chimney pots…’

The thing is, writing things down clues you into a certain time and place.  A weightless presence that most often comes back when you recant the words you strung together at that time.  The essence of time capture.  I remember writing that poem so vividly.  As I said, everything was new and different.  I was seeing things from a completely different prospective.  My parent’s separation had divided my family in two, and from living in the heart of the country, I found myself in town, across the road from my school. It was only 5 miles from town, but it was living in ‘the sticks’ back then.  The silence of the country life, the smell of the dewy mornings, the fresh water spring across the road, the acres of forestry to the back of us, a coup full of chickens, Suzie my pony, Thomas our Tortoise, our dog Boy, a bulging greenhouse and a half acre of my mother’s vegetables, and a view to kill for of the whole of Wexford town and the coast.  Serene, wholesome and fresh.

Now here I was looking across the road in town.  Of course, it was raining and so I wasn’t going out to play with my school friends, who were now local to me.  I was looking over at our neighbours’ houses.  I don’t think I’d ever stood to observe something so mundane for so long.  Considering the colour of their houses, how they had different windows, their tv antennae, noticing they all had net curtains because unlike where I used to live, people walked past your door here.  We never had nets or anything like it.  At night, the backdrop of the lights of the town hung like twinkly, sequined voiles through every window.  Net curtains were little things that came to mean ‘cosy townhouse’ to me.

Although it was a remarkably bright day, with the faint glow of shrouded sunlight trying to break through from my right (the south), I can still see the rain plummeting from the skies, hammering off mini-puddles around the various sites from my window.  I watched as the sun caught the rain as it reached the roofs.  Each drop around the pot illuminated and twinkled for a mere jiffy-second, then gone.  Like diamonds being dropped into a magician’s hat.  I watched silently in awe as if I’d never seen such a thing before.  But then I hadn’t seen such a thing as that before, the nearest ‘functional’ chimney pots apart from our own ones before that, had been behind our neighbours’ trees, a 5 minute walk up our road in either direction. I say ‘functional’ as there were chimney pots at the back of our house, that I remember from when I was four and half, five-ish.  My father had a building construction firm back then and he often had materials stored at home.  My best friend at the time, and the person whom all my dolls were named after, was Susan.  She was allergic to my pony so we couldn’t go too far from the house when she was over.  From the day my Dad brought home the chimney pots, Myself and Sue had dragged a plank across one of the chimney pots and see-sawed for hours.  We loved that chimney-pot see-saw, it was the biz. One of those memories that will never fade, I hope…

And here I was hypnotised by the different scope and purpose of several other pots across the road.  Not the kind of thing one would take a walk to go and observe.  I’m pretty sure the thought would never have entered my head, only for there it was in front of me, up close and personal.  Actually thinking about it, I’d have had perfect vision back then, so things would have had a more naturally crystal-clear appearance.  Right enough, I hadn’t thought of that.

Anyway yeah, so that’s pretty much where my writing began.  The quality of my work improved drastically the older I became needless to say, and for the purposes of writing anyway, I had a rapid maturity in my favour, given everything that had happened in my life up to that point.

So you might understand that it’s difficult for me to not write here as I would in a journal, given that it’s me ‘talking’ to no-one scenario.  I can pretty much say what I like here, and if ever anyone reads it, then they can just toddle off into the sunset and it won’t matter, I guess.  Or maybe they’ll start looking at things differently, in a new light…



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