Richard Pierce

Life, Politics, Writing

Day 194

The time table for today so far:

05:00 – wake up to go to loo; open garden door for cats; go back to bed.
07:00 – get up; Manuka honey; coffee; cigarette.
07:05 – work.
08:00 – breakfast; coffee; cigarette.
08:30 – work.
09:30 – backstretches.
09:45 – work.
13:00 – lunch.
13:30 – work.
14:00 – therapy by zoom.
14:50 – work.
15:10 – call from one of the children.
15:20 – work.
17:30 – walk.
18:15 – shower; back stretches.
19:00 – dinner; dry up.
19:50 – start blog

I just felt like writing it up for a day. It doesn’t actually look like much, and leaves me wondering why I’m so knackered. I know some of the reasons – day after acupuncture, therapy draining, brain working furiously all the time. But compared to a lot of people it’s nothing, really. And getting used still to being back from holiday and asking myself the whole time when I’ll get time to write up what I did on The Mortality Code which I wanted to have done by now, when I’ll get the time to finish the Agios Nikolaos short story (which really has to happen before all the characters fade too much to capture them despite all the pen pictures I wrote down of them).

Therapy was interesting – we hit the same theme of resilience as I’d struck with my acupuncturist yesterday, and the fact that we as parents live with guilt whether or not it’s necessary, and the conclusion actually being that most of the time it’s not, and that we just do what we can (even if it bankrupts us in one way or another). The final admission that, actually, M and I haven’t been bad parents (I also find that very difficult to say anyway, because most parents do feel they have been/are bad parents). I also had an email about exactly that which I’ve only skim-read so far because see above. My therapist said it seemed obvious to her that I was in a good place despite all the traumas since we got back from holiday. And that can’t be a bad thing. Plus a few realisations about my parents that, in the first two courses of therapy, I hadn’t actually reached, which are basically that I was brought up in an atmosphere of distrust/mistrust where even showing emotion was wrong (and where we were told not to play with kids of certain backgrounds because they were the wrong kind), and brought up in an environment where anything that happened in the family had to be kept secret. Little wonder my brain has been screwed for most of my adult life.

There’s not much to say about politics without blowing a fuse. The institutions our ancestors held sacred have proven, once again, that they are not fit for purpose. That this country has for always been based on the system that the landed gentry (ie the monarchy and the rich) make their own rules, and the rest (including the objective law if any such thing exists) has to obey. O said last night he wouldn’t be surprised if we were under martial law before the next six months are up, and I agree with him. And the country hasn’t risen against the oppressors because the country is too downtrodden and exhausted to do so. I am trying not to despair.

I remember the final irony of our holiday – M didn’t need a stamp in her passport entering or leaving Crete because she’s Norwegian, and Norway is part of the European Economic Area, contributes to the EU financially, and abides by all its laws and regulations, so she passed quite quickly through passport control in Greece. I, on the other hand, with the UK now an international pariah thanks to Brexit, needed to get my passport stamped, was subject to extra scrutiny, spent longer being stared at by the border control officer, and was dismissed without even a smile. That sums it all up.

Finally, the biggest disappointment of the day has been how cold it’s been all day. I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the heat to arrive. I’m still waiting, and M has changed back into tracksuit bottoms and cardigan, and I won’t be far behind. Such a shame. Winter is coming in more ways than one.

 

AGGIE’S ART OF HAPPINESS – CHAPTER 147

‘You’re impossible,’ Lilibet says.

‘I think I am,’ Aggie says, forces herself across to the door. ‘My blood?’ She’s looking at the handle.

Lilibet nods.

‘Difficult to open a door with slippery hands.’ She scratches her hair. ‘Why didn’t this open when I put them all back to sleep and got the virus to break his network?’

‘Should I know?’

Aggie shakes her head. ‘Just thinking out loud.’

”In the old days we’d just have used guns or a grenade,’ Lilibet says. ‘But there aren’t spare ones here.’

‘Ah.’ Aggie raises her hand. ‘You’re a genius.’

‘What?’

‘Wait.’ Aggie starts walking to the far end of the room, hardly visible from here, steps over and on the unconscious masses, Lilibet running in her wake, puzzled. Closer to the wall over there, the crowd thins out, and the bunk beds are replaced by ceiling-high metal cupboards, doors closed flat. Aggie reaches out, rips the door from one of the lockers with her right hand and drops it on the floor. The clatter sounds immense in the space. ‘I do believe we have found our spare armoury.’

‘How?’ Lilibet grabs a rifle.

‘When you mentioned guns, I wondered how they’d arm themselves, especially if Valentine just called up single humanoids to do some dirty job or another. It would be too much to get the man with the syringe to have to dispense weapons and everything else, so they had to be here.’

‘Why didn’t just a few of them attack us then, and with weapons?’

‘I think Valentine’s a particularly cruel man,’ Aggie says. ‘And he’s got a grudge against his old housemaid now, now that he realises she wasn’t just an ordinary maid after all. And a man like that hates very easily. He wanted to rip me apart so it hurt, so I’d be tortured before I died, so it would take a long time. He’ll not settle for a quick kill with me.’

‘Aren’t you afraid?’ Lilibet leans into Aggie.

‘Everyone dies.’ Aggie puts an arm round Lilibet. ‘Even though the mentor always said I couldn’t and wouldn’t die.’

‘And you’ve proved it.’

‘Perhaps.’ She kisses Lilibet’s bloody cheek. ‘Blood and tears; it’s like salted caramel.’

‘That’s sick.’

‘Not really. It was sort of a compliment.’

The two of them, rifles in hand, pick their way back through the bodies.

‘Stand back,’ Aggie says, and levels the rifle’s snout at the door. ‘I just hope it works.’

‘It will.’

Aggie fires off two quick successive rounds, and the door bursts open. ‘It did.’ She smiles. ‘Now let’s go before he blows the place up.’ She starts running.

‘I don’t think he will,’ Lilibet says. ‘He’ll probably try to re-establish connection and use them later. Against us. Against someone else.’

They’re out through the trapdoor in the hangar by now.

‘I’m not going to wait to find out,’ Aggie says. ‘And I don’t think this place has any more answers for us.’

‘So we do what?’ Lilibet leans against the inside of the door to the outside.

‘Back to your house to clean up? And then back to York?’

‘I’m not sure it’s a great idea for two women covered in blood and carrying guns to walk nonchalantly down one of the main roads in a city,’ Lilibet says.

‘Do you really think people would notice we’re a couple?’ Aggie says and winks.

Lilibet laughs. ‘That’s not what I meant, and you know it.’

‘Then we’ll just leave the guns here. And people will just think we’re two crazy gals who’ve been to a fancy dress party, or who’ve had a night out that went a bit wrong.’

‘I was right,’ Lilibet says. ‘You are seriously impossible.’

‘Just ain’t seen nothing yet.’

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2 Comments

  1. Marina Florance

    14th July 2022 at 17:56

    You ‘read’ so happy…
    Remember “change the world, it can only get better, take all the chances you get…”
    Your words Richard

  2. Marina Florance

    16th July 2022 at 07:48

    Oh blimey! I must read what I’ve written before posting, that should say
    “You ‘read’ so unhappy…”
    Oh well I suppose it doesn’t matter much now as the world has moved on since day 194 🙂

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