Thursday, April 26, 2007


The builders haven't left yet, there's dust everywhere and a lot of work still to be done but I'm pleased to say that I've finally moved house .

I now live here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Until Next Time

In three hours time I will sign the legal documents for the sale of my flat. The exchange itself should take place within seven days. Yesterday I was in negotiation with the buyer to agree a date of completion of the sale, sometime in the middle of January. The pace of events is quickening by the day and over the next month I will need to be focussed as never before.

Today I will start the first of many to-do lists, and I have also reached the conclusion that I need to put blogging to one side until I am settled in my new home town.

For some time I have been aware that I want/need a fresh start in blogdom. A Breath of Air will not be therefore be moving with me and this will be its last substantive post.

I don't think I will be able to stop completely, so there will very likely be a new blog launch at some point. In the meantime I plan to do some private journalling; the coming weeks and months will be an opportunity to devote a little time and space to this aspect of my writing.

I will miss ABOA and above all I will miss its readers and commenters. You have given of yourselves so generously. Individually and collectively your words have cheered, warmed and encouraged me. You have made me smile and you have made me think. Your kindness has let me know that I am accepted. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Challenging, exhilarating, often frighteningly emotional, the blog has been a wild ride. At times it has seemed more like a gruelling course of therapy than the relaxing hobby I had imagined. But the opportunities for creativity that it has afforded have been a revelation.

I will be back, of course I will. How could I not return? The thought of a new blog for the new chapter in my life is tantalising and, besides that, I would miss it too much. In the meantime I hope to call in occasionally and visit you at your place ....

Wishing you a happy Christmas and a peaceful and joyous New Year. See you again sometime in 2007?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Light, then dark, then light. I never doubt that light is transitory but in the darkness I wonder if the sun will ever return.

It does. Always. But this is the season of the winter solstice when it shines mainly on the other side of the world. Today there is no avoiding the tempest and the cold. Better to find a thick, warm blanket and wait for the storm to blow itself out.

Or alternatively I could go outside, close the door behind me and walk into the dark eye of it.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Me and Him (Updated)



This is supposed to be an anonymous blog. But what's life about if you can't take a few risks?

Update: I posted this very early for a Sunday and omitted the credits. Go and see Zhoen's self-portraits too. They're wonderful and were in part the inspiration for this.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Full Moon

So the solicitor emails yesterday to say that if all goes well we could exchange in about ten days time. And that means completion sometime in January. Can I come in early next week and sign the paperwork?

I must find somewhere to live and soon. At lunchtime I call the main letting agency in Hereford. One flat only on their books which may be available sometime in January. Or not. They will send me a registration form. The flow of properties for rent has dried up because of Christmas.

My stomach does a free fall and the voices start. Why are you selling a perfectly good apartment when you have nowhere to go? You are making the worst mistake of your life. And so on. I begin to believe what they say.

Walking home from the Tube I summon up my defences and recite my mantra. You have had this dream a long time. It has been tested. All you have to do is the next right thing. That is all you have to do. The next right thing. Try not to dramatise. A lot of this anxiety is learned behaviour, habit, nothing more. I consciously slow my breathing which is by now very close to hyperventilation.

Once I get in I phone my sister who confirms that the cat and I can move in with her if we need to. She is instinctively kind and generous and I am grateful for her and for her offer, but she lives on the south coast, even further away than London from where I want to be. Okay then, put the furniture in storage. I can stay in the Hereford area with friends for a few days each week while I look for a new home.

I ring one of those friends. She sounds delighted at the news and says that if her current tenant moves on - a possibility - then I can take his place until I find somewhere to buy. In the meantime she will put the word out and look around for me. And, yes, I can stay at any time.

We hang up and I give the cat his supper, relieved but trying not to focus on the lingering lump of unease in my gut at what is implied here. Overwhelming, major change. Much of it beyond my control. For a period my suitcase may be my home.

When people tell me their worries I have no problem in trusting on their behalf that they are part of a bigger plan, that their road will open up one step at a time. I tell them this. You are in the flow of life I tell them. It will be all right. Just do the footwork and let yourself be carried forward.

When I speak these words to others I know them to be true.


The full moon accompanied me home yesterday evening. Infinitely beautiful and clear, framed by thin, transparent wisps of cloud she sailed above the roofs and chimneys, coolly impervious to the grinding roar of the traffic and the glare of headlights far below on the South Circular.

The air was damp and cold, still too mild for frost, but with a chill, wintry, smoky smell. A reminder of past Decembers, of the passage of the years.

Monday, December 04, 2006


I was thinking about the move and how I cope well in emergencies and that means I'll probably manage, and then I thought about my parents' funerals and how I organised them. I was glad to. It meant I had to be busy. No time to worry about why I wasn't crying.

I cry sometimes but not at the things I feel I ought to, and when other people do. Far too caught up in the adrenalin rush and the drama of the ceremony or the event, mentally ticking off the items on the to do list. And afterwards? Not really. I remember and get the lump in the throat, my eyes fill and my heart aches. That's where it stops. The physical sensations subside and diffuse and the feeling stays lodged or untapped.

I cry at the end of love affairs.

I cry when I'm frightened. I have never cried tears of happiness, don't understand that at all. I don't cry for other people. I want to help them, comfort them, put my arms around them and hold them, make it better. But I can't cry for them.

And yet I quite often want to cry. A storm of hot, salt tears. Shuddering sobs. They wash me clean. I feel reborn. Released. I wish I could cry more.

Friday, December 01, 2006


As far as the flat sale goes it is still a matter of waiting. And in my own head and heart there are unanswered questions, issues faced but unresolved. I'm also very busy with a demanding work assignment.

I've been gravitating to the water's edge in search of peace: the river, ornamental ponds, lakes. Not a conscious choice, something much more instinctual ....

... liquid silence.

And you, blog friends from all over the world that I haven't met. Whether you are a commenter or a silent visitor, I am grateful to you and I wonder about you, the man or woman behind the words. Particularly about your physical presence: how you enter a room, the expression in your eyes ...

These past weeks I've been contemplating blogging and what a profoundly obsessive, searching and emotional process it is for me at times. Thinking about how it intersects with my flesh-and-blood life.

No conclusions yet. If we were ever to meet we could talk about it over a cup of coffee.

And about so many other things.

Click photographs to enlarge.