Squidbox : Homecoming

This week I embarked on a new project, writing a sequence of poems about the Brixham fishing industry, with the help of Torbay Culture and the Arts Council. Fishing is a major part of Brixham life and has been so for hundreds of years, and the town has the biggest fishing fleet in the UK. I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know exactly what it is that makes people want to go out on the high seas and risk their lives week after week.

This is the first poem from what, hopefully, will become a sequence. Homecoming is inspired by watching the trawlers come back home after a long stint at sea.

A lonely dot on a wild wild sea,

A nestle of rigs and beams, a mess

Of rust with nets slung low,

Giant spools and ropes slack dripping brine.

The hairpin concrete bend of jutted brick breakwater,

Of faded dead slow lettering, a test of time,

Scratched and blotched this tub sides a-slap

With the remnants of a sea bed scoured,

Hauled loads from sonar technology blips. At night

Each bunk holds dreams or high sea murmurs

As plastic macks drip dry, this metal tin

Of deckhand muscle, winches, graft, sweat.

They gain their sea legs, these sons and daughters.

A throb of diesel purrs the shuddering deck

And slantwise rain in a spotlight’s glare,

Bow break waves and quayside forklifts, home, home.

An Interview with Becky Nuttall

Becky Nuttall is a staunch supporter of the arts scene in Torbay. A painter whose work explores themes of religious iconography, relationships and memory, she’s also a poet whose work looks at similar themes. Her first collection, Nick’s Gift, has just been published. Becky lives in Brixham and organises the Stanza Extravaganza poetry nights at the Artizan Gallery in Torquay. She is also a member of various local cultural boards and committees and as such works tirelessly to promote local art.

It is a pleasure to know her and to listen to her poetry on a regular basis. Becky has often involved local poets in some of the events and exhibitions that she has curated at places such as Torquay Library, Torbay Hospital, and the Artizan Gallery.

I was glad that she met me ask her a few questions.

Hi Becky. How did you get in to writing poetry? Has it been something you’ve always done?

My dad was a playwright. He had his first play broadcast on television not long after I was born in the late Fifties. It starred Dame Flora Robson as Edith Cavell and its success enabled him to get an agent and become a professional writer. He worked from home. His studio at that time was downstairs and we could hear him tapping on the typewriter. It was his job and we absorbed it and its rules . I had access to an endless supply of paper. In those days everything was in duplicate and I had the thin paper for the carbon copy. I was my father’s child, I instinctively understood the importance of his work. He was a pioneer of television screenwriting in the Sixties. He was also a film screen writer and novelist. I wrote poetry and drew pictures constantly. I didn’t know any other child that was writing like I did, none of my local friends did. It was all solitary. Dad and some of his friends would read it and encourage me.

You came from a very artistic family. What kind of environment, artistically, did you grow up in?

My parents friends were artists and writers. Dad went to what is now The Royal West Academy in Bristol and came to Brixham after he married my mum, Jenny. They founded Milton Head Pottery in 1950 and sold it in 1959. Their friends were an enormous influence on me. They compounded my belief, that the creative life was hard and a mystery. However it is a vocation. My parents didn’t have much money when we were young children but the house was full of art by dad and the people we knew. My dad had links with Dartington because he was a founder member of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen with Marianne de Trey.

You are also a fantastic painter who uses lots of religious iconography, yet you’re not a religious person. How did this come about?

At nine years old I said I was going to go to art school. My parents took it seriously and that’s what I did when I left school. However I had a very traditional education from seven years old. We were taught the classics. Dickens was the author read out to us in class. We were taught the Greek myths and Roman culture, Shakespeare and Chaucer. It was very dry and closed. No discussion of modern social or world context. I loved it though. The problem was it was a convent. We stood out from other students because of our background, we were Church of England and I was seen as disrespectful for questioning the oddness of a religious life. I was scruffy because I wore my two older sisters’ hand down school uniform. I went on the bus to school from seven years old, I was bullied to and from school including by the bus conductors. I have no idea why my parents thought it was a good idea to send me there, I hated it. The alternative must have been worse. However religious art is the foundation for what follows in art history. I plunder it gleefully. It’s revenge for the emotional abuse I received from some particular nuns and Catholic teachers.

Your poetry is very autobiographical. What are your other influences?

All work is autobiographical and all art is a self-portrait – it’s just the different means we use to cover up or expose it.
As well as writing poetry from about seven years old, I starting reading it too, we were taught poetry in school and how to write it. My dad wrote poetry and my mum’s father wrote poetry in the Second World War. Rupert the Bear stories rhymed. There are obvious influences like Edward Lear, Hilaire Belloc, Christina Rossetti. Then I asked for Thom Gunn and Crow by Ted Hughes, for my 13th birthday. I made a leap, probably influenced by stuff lying around at home and some seriously good television programmes in the Sixties. I had The Poets Manual and Rhyming Dictionary for Christmas ( not a success). I wrote and drew equally, one influencing the other. I loved pop and rock music, for a while lyrics were my main influence. At art school , and for my degree, I studied Modernist art and writing and the work of Dada, the Surrealist artists and writers. I loved Gertrude Stein. I read Huysman’s Against Nature. I absorbed it all. What society saw as a counter culture seemed perfectly acceptable and natural to me. I’d given up children’s books at about eleven and raided my parent’s bookshelves. We weren’t censored.

You are a very stanch supporter of the local artistic scene. How would you describe the state of art and culture in Torbay at the moment?

I support the local art heritage because of my dad and his connection to Torbay. I wanted to honour our own heritage. Although growing up in such creative privilege was influential, it was a period of time that passed and became forgotten. It wasn’t idyllic growing up with an artist, it was messy and dysfunctional and I moved on and beyond. Gradually I came to understand the context of mid twentieth century culture and that my family had lived it. There is a move to recognise Torbay’s place in this and I wanted to help. It happened that the community, in Torbay and the South West, I first saw doing the most for the arts when I ventured out again was, and still is, poets. It was the kindness of poets that encouraged me to support the arts in any way I can. Contemporary art suffers because it is led by money and gate kept with value judgements. Torbay is slowly, I hope, starting to break this cycle by bringing back into the community.

How did it feel to read or perform for the first time?

I first read and performed poetry when I was at junior school, it was mandatory to stand on a stage and sight read. I think the school thought it was character building to make me perform as I had a lisp, a problem with Rs, a gap in my front teeth, naturally scruffy and a mild stammer. They under estimated how much I was a show off, entitled and a contrary pain in the neck so I loved it. I performed my own poetry at art school at student events. I was mentored by the creative writing tutor so the showing off was moderated. The next time I performed was in 2016 after sneaking in the back of poetry performances for a while. It was exhilarating and addictive, bouncing off the talent in the room.

Who are your favourite poets or artists?

I thinks is easier to come to my house and look at my bookshelves…

What is your process for writing a new poem?

Research and more research. I’m driven by the academic and art in equal measure. I treat every poem and every picture as a small thesis.
For instance, the poem ‘Spaceflight’ is essentially about the moon
I find the idea, most of mine are rooted in my past, a memorable occasion, a memorable person.
The influence of recent visits, The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Spellbound at the Ashmolean, Certaine Wytches at The Devon Guild of Craftsmen; another poem I’d written, Nick’s Gift.
Remembering fleeting friendships in gloomy bus stations. The isolation if you were different
Text my daughter about her thoughts on the themes as she visited Boscastle with me. Connect it subliminally to Robert, who asked me to perform with him.
Research symbols attached to the objects in the poem, cultural and religious influence on people, objects and places drafted in the poem.
Research the language and roots of words.
Print off all the research and collate it.
Type the beginning, print it and hand write on it mind maps, lists of a chronology of events, the message, the character in the poem who carries the message, the sadness, the universal at the core of the poem over it. Compose and type it.
Listen to rock music, David Bowie, research childhood stories on the theme of the moon and witches. Turn it on its head, change the title to change the perspective, music. Compose and type it. Edit and edit, read it out loud, change the punctuation, change the page format for reading.
Proof read it

How would you describe your book, Nick’s Gift?

I grew up as a teenager in the Seventies. Between 14 and 16 years old I absorbed everything I could out of the sight of my family. I was against the patriarchal authority and society that said what was acceptable for teenagers. Mostly it was wonderful, sometimes it was horrible. The stars aligned though and here I am. Nick’s Gift is mostly about those influences, now moderated by the love of good people.

What does the future hold for the poet and artist Becky Nuttall?

After my twenties I still thought my achievements had be validated by a third party, that acceptance by a ‘better’ person was a high achievement, that I had to be shown, repeat, copy. The negative experiences far outweighed anything positive, I didn’t respect the ones I chose to teach me. I had grown up with better artists and tutors whose influence could sustain me and I was more than capable of finding out the rest by osmosis. I had to get on with it, stop procrastinating and thinking there was some formula for success held by a snake-oil salesman, some power/status merry go round; find my own voice.
Now I’m much older I still don’t need validation. If you like it, great. If you don’t, I don’t care and I move on. I develop my craft on my own, like I did when I wrote poetry as a child. I’ll carry on because it’s in my genes. It’s my journey and my heritage I see reflected back and there’s some way to go yet.

You can find out more about a Becky and her work, and order her book Nick’s Gift, here http://www.beckynuttall.com

One week, two very different gigs!

I’ve been very lucky over the last few years and had some gigs with some very big audiences. This doesn’t always happen. Last weekend I did a gig in a florist in Brixham to eight people. It was a private affair so I knew what I was letting myself in for, and I did my usual routine. The demographic was, well, the youngest person there was seventy five and the oldest was eighty three. I’m not being ageist, as I work with older people and I know that they enjoy a laugh as much as the next person. However the fact that there was only eight of them made it very hard to elicit anything beyond a mild chuckle.

And then four days later, I performed to three hundred young people in a theatre in Bristol.

The whole dynamic was so different. I did the exact same poems and they were greeted so wonderfully that I felt kind of relieved, as if I had lost something along the way. The gig at the florist had made me wonder if I was just some weird bloke who had been dragged off the street into someone’s private function, which actually come to think of it, was pretty much near the truth. I’d been invited to perform after the owners of the venue had seen me walking with my family on Boxing Day and had asked me, on the spur of the moment, to come and do this private gig for them. So the whole set up was already a big weird!

To add to the weirdness, I was given my own dressing room at the florist, which was a small room filled with flowers. I’m certainly glad it wasn’t the allergy season. There was a stool in the middle of the room on which I could sit and prepare myself for the performance, and that’s where I spent most of the night, sitting on that stool going over my set and wondering how it would go. And as I say, eight people.

But Bristol. Wow. I was supporting the wonderful Dizraeli, a huge name on the Bristol scene, and as a result they had sold out and the theatre was packed. I was on near the start of the evening and I really felt that the night had a potential of going completely up the Spout. Would all these trendy young people find my work amusing? Would I cock it up completely, and forget my words? Would they not find my humour funny and start playing with their phones, or dabbing, or flossing, or fidget spinning, or whatever it is that young people are in to these days? But from the start of the set, it was completely magical. The room laughed. Indeed, they laughed a lot. They laughed at bits that audiences don’t normally laugh at. They were listening intently and with enthusiasm. The first poem usually takes two and a half minutes but it was almost a minute longer than normal because of all the laughing.

And what an amazing feeling it was to perform to so many people. The big stage, the space, the fact that all of these people were concentrating on me, made me think that anything if possible, and also that anything I wrote intending to be funny, actually was funny. Indeed, it made me feel invincible!

It was an amazing gig, and when I left the venue I was greeted by a group of these young people, who started quoting bits of my poetry at me. It was such a great moment. And then, because I’m so rock and roll, I decided to go to the local supermarket and get some groceries, only to meet some more young people next to the display of bagels, one of whom flung her arms around me and thanked me for making her laugh. I assume she had been to the gig!

So two amazing bookings in two very different places. And as I caught the train home the next day, I thought how amazing it would be if every gig were a sold out crowd of three hundred people, and how wonderful it would be if I could command such interest on my own.

Weird objects in the sky that I have seen.

Last night I watched a documentary about alien abductions. It was a terrible programme and it really did waste one hour of my life. However, it did remind me of the occasions in which I have seen weird objects in the sky which I’ve not been able to explain.

I am a logical person with an interest in science and aviation. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved aircraft and flying, and I grew up near Heathrow Airport. Because of this, I’d spend a lot of time looking at the planes flying over our house. I knew all the airlines and the different types of aircraft and could distinguish between, for example, the Boeing 747-200 and the Boeing 747-300.

In the late 1980s, my father and I both observed two bright lights in the sky to the west of our house. It was night time and the bright lights were stationery in the sky. They were brighter than the surrounding stars and perfectly parallel with each other. We observed these lights for a few minutes, and then, quick as a flash, they moved to a slightly different part of the sky, still to the west. Naturally, my scientific mind is eager to determine what these might have been. Geostationary satellites is my best guess, for they appeared to be a very long way up in the upper atmosphere. I’m sure that other people must have seen these, too.

The second weird thing I saw must have been also in the late 1980s. It was a beautiful sunny day and I was on the school playing field at break time, at the middle school I was attending. As normal I was doing a bit of plane spotting, when I saw an object floating directly above. It was metallic and reflected the sun from its sides, and triangular, slowly turning, so that the sun on its sides seemed to pulse. I watched it for quite a while, thinking, hmm, I bet they’ve got a good view from up there, and what a beautiful day to be flying, then thought no more of it. It was only when I grew up did I ponder in exactly what it might have been. My best and most boring guess is that it was some kind of helium filled balloon. But where would it have come from? It looked very solid.

The third thing that I saw already has a name and a catalogue of witness accounts. During a ferocious thunderstorm, again in suburban Surrey, a ball of lightning moved very slowly past my bedroom window. I remember it very distinctly, the way that the shadow of my window frame very slowly moved across the room, the way that my drawn curtains lit up with the light from the glowing ball very visible the other side of them. Indeed, this seems to run in our family, as my mother believes that she also saw ball lighting when she was a young adult, actually penetrating the walls of the room she was in at the time and passing right through as if it were a ghost.

And the last thing I saw was the weirdest. In the early 2000s I caught the passenger ferry from Torquay to Brixham across Torbay, again on a very clear, sunny day, only to see what can only be described as a thin sliver of metallic ribbon curling and floating through the sky across the bay, in a westerly direction. It seemed to curl and bend over itself as it moved and there were no obvious signs of propulsion, yet it was very clearly moving. My scientific mind pondered on what it could possibly have been, eventually settling on a Swarm Of Bees or some such insect, but it really did have solidity.

So these are the odd things I’ve seen during my life. I’m open minded as to what they might have been. I’m aware that some might assign them as being of alien origin, though I’m conscious that it might be almost impossible for anything to travel across the vast distances of space. I have never believed in aliens, or at least, in extra terrestrial entities.

A walk around rainy Brixham

Most weekends I come over to Brixham. You know, how Superman has his fortress of solitude, or the prime minister has Chequers. Or the president has Camp David. It’s a nice way of ending one week, beginning the next, catching up with The Olds, and catching up on reading.
Brixham feels like the end of the universe. It’s a town on a rocky escarpment which juts out into the sea ending with the sheer drop of Berry Head. It’s the end of the line. There’s nothing after Brixham except salt water and fishes.
Obviously the news the last two days has been depressing and the weather has been wet and windy, but today I decided to go for a walk and perhaps think of subjects to write poems about. The town centre was mostly closed due to the end of the tourist season, and sheets of rain could be seen blowing diagonally across the harbour where paint peeled row boats jiggled like shivering mice. In quick succession I saw:
1- A sign on a closed cafe which should’ve said ‘Closed due to our renovations being carried out’ which now read, having slumped down on its blue tack, ‘Closed due to our being carried out’.
2- A young teenaged man working in a themed restaurant, in an alleyway, dressed as a pirate, emptying a Hoover bag into a bin.
3- A sign on a shop which read, (rather inexplicably), ‘Due to staff illness, please use the other door’.
I went to a coffee shop to try and write an acrostic poem. I couldn’t think of anything to write an acrostic for. Normally a quite famous local poet is in there, holding court, and he once said to me, ‘I feel as if I ought to know you from somewhere’, but he wasn’t there today. I pondered on life and how lonely and cold Brixham felt, then stood up to leave.
Just then the door opened and my ex came in. He looked well. Sickeningly well. He looked fit and happy and for some reason was wearing tshirt and shorts. We exchanged pleasantries and I told him how weird it was to see him here, of all places. My fortress of solitude. He said that he was in a charity Zumba day at the social hall. Which was the last sort of thing I expected to be happening at a sleepy Autumn fishing port.
I walked home and wondered briefly what it was all about, and whether I should be doing something like Zumba, or whether it mattered at all, that such an ostensibly lonely walk around a shivering little town should leave me feeling strangely good about people. 

The Shivering House

Here’s a happy little short story I wrote a long, long time ago when I was a member of Paignton Writers’ Circle. I hope you enjoy it!

The house keeps on shivering.

I’ve called for a builder in order that he might assess the problem, and he recommends a doctor. The doctor didn’t know what to do himself, although he prescribed some pills because of a nasty rash in the kitchen near the microwave, and he also wondered why there was a patch of stubble in the hall.

‘Do you ever shave the floors?’, he asked, somewhat accusingly.

‘Of course not!’, I laughed. ‘Why would I do such a thing?’

‘I just thought you might be one of those house-rights activists. They have such weird beliefs. Shaving a house, they often say, gives it some dignity’.

I pointed to the floor of the living room where we were both standing and I indicated that the carpet had not yet had a chance to grow, though the previous house-doctor had stipulated a month’s wait at least until the shag pile had developed. ‘Would I have willingly ordered carpet’, I asked, ‘If I were in the habit of shaving the floors? Now I understand that stubble on the floor might be the next big thing in interior decoration, although I’ve heard that it can be quite painful on the feet. But I can assure you that the house, in all purposes, is allowed to follow its own developmental path’.

‘Hmm’, the house-doctor said. He wrote out his prescription and he passed it to me. ‘I’ll look into this’, he said, ‘But I’m not promising anything’.

The house kept on shivering all through the night. I wondered if it was anything to do with me. Bad luck seems to follow me around, or maybe it is that I take to heart anything that goes wrong in my life, that I take things so personally. I have, however, never been happy in my new home. There was a curious burping noise when I first moved in, which was revealed to be a build-up of installation gasses in the main bone structure, and a nasty lump had to be removed a few weeks later, under aesthetic, a process which meant that I had to stay with my parents until the house recovered. But now this constant shivering, which, eerily, occurs more often at night, seems to confirm that such matters are completely out of my control.

I go through the next few days with a grim determination that the problems of the house should not ruin my enjoyments of life. At work I am personable and polite and all conversations regarding the developments of my living space are answered with an airy grace, underscored by a ruthlessness in not inviting any of my colleagues home to view the place. I describe to them the exact colour of my carpet – when it finally grows – and they applaud me on the colour that I have chosen. ‘It is obvious’, I am told, ‘That you have a flair for decoration. Maybe you would like to work on our office, when the next budget comes through’. But I look around at the plain, glass and steel building, and the whole place gives me the creeps.

‘It just doesn’t seem alive’, I whisper. ‘How can one ever get a bond with an inanimate object? Who hasn’t fallen asleep at night lulled by the heartbeat of their own house? I’m sorry, but brick and mortar have nothing for me’.

I do not hear from the house-doctor for a while. Yet the shivering gets worse, a continual flexing and spasm evident in most of the inner walls. At last the rash on the kitchen wall clears up, although the house-doctor was correct, a path of stubble on the hallway floor would hint to me that a razor was being applied to it in a methodical fashion. One night on television I learned of a horrible disease affecting houses of a certain period, and a whole street in Basingstoke closed down and condemned, the houses coughing and spluttering, the walls braking out in cold sweats. The programme made me think and I wondered if my house, too, had caught such a disease, though it comes from a healthy stock and good breeding and is the result, I was informed at the time of its purchase, of a natural, free-range house-to-house courtship. The only problem I could see is that there was, in its heritage, a quarter bungalow, that its grandfather was a seaside shack by designation, and by their nature, single-storey houses have long been prone to infection.

One night the shivering became so bad that I could not sleep. The bed kept on moving with each involuntary shudder, and I found myself walking the neighbourhood. The night sky was clear and I could see the stars above, and even the Coca-cola moon shining bright with its red neon laser glow. I could see beauty in the world, and for the first time I wondered if this beauty came from nature. Could it be possible? I remembered the years of my youth when I once saw a squirrel, and as my mother hurried me away from it in case I caught its diseases, I was entranced that another creature could also exist on this planet without having been designed or tested for usefulness. I remembered how wonderful this squirrel had looked, how sure of itself it was, and how there were once trees and the squirrels had lived in the trees. Heavens, they had even eaten nuts and still survived without succumbing to some allergy! But the stars, despite everything, were still there.

I returned to my house. I could see it convulsing at the end of the driveway. As I reached out to open the front door, it seemed to shrink back from me. When I breathed out a sigh of relief in the hallway, the walls broke out with chicken flesh bumps, and I thought to myself, ‘It’s almost as if the house is repulsed by me . . . ‘ . It was only when I got to the kitchen that the moaning started.

A deep, deep throated yawn. Which was most strange, because the house was not installed with a throat. I clung on to the furniture as the house swayed from side to side. Ohhhh, it said, ohhhh. It was as if there was an ache somewhere within it, and I thought about applying a paracetamol to its bloodstream, but then thought better because it would invalidate my warranty. Ohhhh, the house said. Ohhhh. The swaying got worse, as if the house were drunk, and I started to slide down a wall. Such a stench! Of stale sweat, and I could feel a clammy odour seep from the skirting boards. Then the heart beat started accelerating. No problem, I thought. Houses often suffer cardiac arrest. My Uncle’s house had three bypasses before it finally expired. But this was a pounding, a rushing of blood, and I could see veins underneath the wallpaper. The house was rocking from side to side, now, as if in the throes of some primeval dance. I wondered if its bungalow ancestry was coming to the fore, or the impetuosity of the maisonette. But this was worse, much worse. At last I fought my way back into the hallway to see something horrific, something so tremendously appalling that I have never set foot in such a house again.

A pair of arms had sprouted from the walls. The house-doctor told me later that in just two generations – and no doubt accelerated by the chemicals used to speed up the growing process – the houses had evolved, and grown inner arms by which they could amend themselves for maximum personal comfort. And what were these inner arms doing? They were shaving the floor, right where I had decided to grow my new carpet. Scrape, scrape, scrape. I ran into the night and I hid until morning in the shade of my garden shed, my only comfort coming from the red neon glare of the Coca-cola moon.

Sodding time travel doesn’t sodding work

Sodding time travel doesn’t sodding work. 

Earlier today I posted this message as a blog:

“I shall be having coffee in the coffee shop on the harbour in Brixham. I will be the one with the notebook.

But you already know that. “

 The reasons for this weren’t that I’d lost my mind. In fact, it’s quite simple. It was a message to the future, to future generations who might be looking at my various writings and journals and trying to decide on a good moment to go back in time and meet up with me.

Indeed, going to the coffee shop this morning might have been the start of something big. An experiment combing poetry and literature with physics and science, logistics, perhaps even religion. Time travelers from future generations would come in, in their tens, perhaps hundreds, and I’d buy them all a decaf cappuccino and chat about life in general. And then perhaps they’d let me pop back with them a bit further and go disco dancing with Dorothy Parker. How fun it would be! So when I left for the coffee shop this morning down to the harbour in this strange little fishing town, I took a bag with me and an extra pair of pants, just in case.

And do you know what happened? Absolutely nothing. Nobody turned up. I even ordered an extra flapjack in case at least one person arrived, but there was nobody. The only other people in the coffee shop were Welsh holiday makers, and nobody was wearing bright space clothes or futuristic fashions. Unless the Welsh holiday makers were from the future, in which case it looks like flat caps are making a come back in the year 2525.

Nothing.

The only thing I can deduce from this is that in the future I become so well known that people don’t want to meddle in my time line to ensure that I really do stand over the world with my arms folded, omnipotent, wise and celebratory.

If there are any time travelers reading this, you mucked it all up. I will be lingering in the car park at work tomorrow for five minutes but I’m not holding my breath. And if you want a flapjack when you arrive, well, you can just bring your own.

While I was at the coffee shop, I wrote a poem.


Poem


In a rocky cove,

With a bonfire,

The surfers have one of their

All night sex driven drug fueled raves.


Alright, lads?

Mind if I just

Squeeze myself in here.

No joint, thanks,

But I wouldn’t say no

To a nice cup of tea.


Orange quivering light

And silhouetted dancing

On rock formation outcrops.

Beach-bronzed, board-weary,

They fumble in the rucksacks

For PG Tips

And one of them confides to me

That he likes the way I think.


I retune their radio,

Blotting out their techno pump

And we listen to Bed At Bedtime.

He soft burr of Richard Wilson

Reading Graham Greene’s

Travels With My Aunt

Wisping out across the

Flat calm sea.