I would not say it hangs, nor hovers; the former is too unpurposeful, the latter too predatory. Even when time seems completely still, as it appears out of the window this morning (is it morning?) it manages to pass anyway. How does it do that? Perhaps in the same unseen way I can stand quite still, silent, but my heart keeps beating; measuring out my unknown reckoning. I am still, but there is the counting down inside. One day, it will stop, the heart. For now, time is still, the heart beats some and I hear a new drop of rain fall. Or is it an old one?
On Christmas Night I opened the window of the back bedroom, fully. I looked at the Moon with the children and showed them Jupiter which was beyond bright, close to, at the Moon’s right hand. The clouds swirled around and over the pair, coming and going, creating that oil on water rainbow effect like a puddle at a petrol station. I thought about that book, The Moon’s a Balloon. *Robert Morley or *Derek Nimmo, some raconteur or wit at any rate. I’d never really understood the title before but it made sense looking out of the window with the children, watching Jupiter, and the Moon drift upwards in the clouds.
The window would not shut properly. In time, all the windows here will have to be replaced. Earlier on Christmas Day I had travelled past some fine windows that were once replaced: over twenty years ago, now. I knew the person that made the replacement frames. Those frames, the windows, have outlived their carpenter, by more than twenty years. Maybe that’s why some people have a Christian faith – to avoid that fate – the one of being outlived by inanimate objects. I can’t see it for myself, even if it is all wrapped up in a story about a carpenter called Jesus. One day I might change my mind about that, the greatest of all hedged bets. I hope not. In the meantime, perhaps I will outlive a balloon, at least.
*Turns out it was David Niven.
As I edited this I saw the odd phrase that would stand as evidence of the passage of time. One day modern people will laugh at the once prehistoric habits of filling our internal combustion conveyances with fossil fuels and Derek Nimmo will be, sadly, long forgotten…
That’s what yesterday ended up being; in punting terms. Picking a 100/1 winner (which was far in excess of the RP tissue price) means you can forgive yourself a lot of past near misses. A wiping of the slate clean. A starting of the flat season a bit up.
When Theredballoon went on in the last 2 furlongs at Huntingdon (having been the back marker for the previous 14) I was watching the in-running Betfair market. It had opened at 190 in the win market and almost from flag-fall contracted to 70. The lowest it seemed thereafter was 60. But then, in what seemed like the closing stages, it just tumbled. I could hardly believe my eyes when we entered the hallowed gubbing territory of 1.5s. Although I actually could. I had spent the race looking at the 70 thinking: how can this be? It’s got to run better than a 70 shot. Sometimes you have a strong feeling of great possibilities. I’ve had it on a train to Kempton for Akona Matata (sic) and I had it for Kicking King and War of Attrition. It doesn’t come round too often so I’m making sure to enjoy it. Of course (and if you read The Outliers you’ll know why) genius needs company, otherwise they are just another loser 😉 In this case the company was Stephen Foster and Old Stokie who are proper gents in an unkind world and for reasons best known to themselves had Nena’s Red Balloons on their minds last week.
I won’t be giving it all back mind. Just this bit.
And for a day that started so unpromisingly the best bit turned out to be: trees, about five of them. Last year I met a tree officer for the council at the Southend Film Festival. Yes, it rivals Cannes you know. Anyway, when I heard he was a tree lover and not just a bureaucrat I emailed him.
Please Sir, can I have some more?
You see we are an avenue, but most of the trees died leaving many years ago leaving us a bare street. Actually it reminds me of the Raggle Taggle’s cold open field. Anyway, yesterday, the council came along drilled holes and planted trees. On our avenue. Marvellous.