The first cup of tea of the day


This crawling out of bed with only an hour of daylight left is going to have to stop. This switching the computer on as the first thing I do, before I've even wiped the sleep from my eyes, is going to have to stop.

A muted autumnal wet-without-it-raining mood to the light at this time, mellow and welcoming, but I know it'll soon be gone and probably before I even rise from this chair it will be time to draw the curtains closed on the day and skulk into the tungsten zone.

A person walking by outside with the collar of their red Goretex jacket pulled up to their chin, sunk into her coat and saying 'brrrr' to herself but liking that it's cold, you can isolate yourself away in your coat. Two laughing couples pass the window while I am still in my first twenty minutes of the day and still haven't wiped the sleep from my eyes, they look like they've had a full day, probably been round a friend's for Sunday lunch, took a few bottles of wine, popped out to the pub for a quick pint, and now going back to watch a bit of TV before going out to see a show. The kind of couples you might describe as 'canoodling', very nice, very attractive, but very ordinary. On Monday they'll be talking about soaps and sport in the office, doing boring jobs but laughing, life and soul of the area of carpet worn away around the photocopier. And still the light falls like a heavy curtain on the day, which I've mostly experienced so far as a long dark night, because I love the night. My day thus far, besides sleep from morning till late afternoon, has been defined by the total lunar eclipse, and now, with the sleep still in my eyes, my first highpoint of the day is my first pot of tea, which I'm rising from this chair to make now.

So the tea is brewing and the light is failing fast now. Keyboard lit by the glow from the screen. Looked from the kitchen window on the two trees distant over the playing field on the edge of the water, that always in autumn and leafless remind me of two lungs dissected and dried, their branches looking like hardened blue and red blood vessels enclosing a lung, or as I imagine it from a picture in a book of anatomy as a child, or something seen in a biology lab long ago. Just before I went to bed I peeped out the drapes over at them and saw in the late dawn ten or so swans flying over them, not Canada geese, which are common round here, swans. And did I dream? Nothing comes to mind. I'll ponder it while walking to the kitchen to pour that first cup of tea, the sleep now wiped from my eyes, a brief rinse with cold water in the bathroom before putting the tea in the pot.

The first cup of tea of the day, after waking, is always the best. Though the others are okay, perhaps they will be combined with having the back door open to the cold night air and going out to look at the stars in the clear sky, as I heard the kettle click off, boiled, from the garden as the penumbra came cascading down onto the Moon's surface last night.

My life is mostly set away from that of many people, those who pass my window.


Just went out to buy part-baked baguettes, beer, and other essential provisions before settling down to eat and then write further. It's very dark, there's the smell of fireworks in the air, and a most wonderful misty still drizzle of not-quite-falling rain walking under the London planes that still have leaves and the sodium street-lights. It's a picture, I walked very slow to relish it. In the Highlands they have a word for this type of soaking rain that almost isn't there, they call it a 'smirr' – a smoky smirr o' rain.