Thursday, January 19, 2006
I lie in bed listening to shot guns firing off at random intervals in the distance. Are they people attempting to kill themselves every five or ten minutes as you imagine people doing if you believe what the papers say, or even sometimes in unison, missing each other just by seconds, the noise coming from various directions. Either that or city types visiting to register their country squire credentials, taking pot shots at the astoundingly numerous, strangely doped, awkwardly moving wildlife that are kept in stock throughout the year by locals, regardless of the season, changing the landscape into one gigantic firing range.
I open the curtains and the cool afternoon light brightens the pages of my book and catches the side of my head when it stoops to read the first paragraph. I am of course instantly spotted by a resident through a window across there up the hill opposite, on Crown Crescent; he is frowning at the irritating sight "What's that man doing up there lazing in bed looking at a book, he's reading of all things, struth!" rushing straight out to flick the safety catch off his Kawasaki two thousand hedge trimmer and pointing it up at me. I see no hedge to be trimmed. I have to lie down and wait untill the drilling sound stops.
Post drops like rubble down a hillside and through the letter box onto the hall carpet, triggering my movement across and into the hallway to sift through it, sorting the fifty percent junk from the bills and chucking them in a box next to the heater. After the drilling has stopped I get down once more on my bed and resume reading, more tentatively this time. I think it is OK, I have escaped notice.
The light streams through the gap in the curtains once again. Somebody is out there in the fields creeping between the weathered old trees; no dog on a leash so he must be wandering, enjoying the country smells of pesticide and the strange dung droppings that you can find here abouts. The shapes of modern estate homes with their jigsaw of angular roofs contrast sharply with the industrially scoured hillside rising above. What is left of the trees look like rows of old used mops thrown into the ground upside down with some of them having missed and fallen out. The grey clouds drift towards the right side of the sky as if burning oil wells were sending smoke up from behind the horizon. Telephone posts are stuck in like pins and spun with a web of wires linking the numerous towns, villages and cities.
A waste land, seeming empty and open, is in fact clogged with artificial manure and glutted with rows of irrigation channels, the wildlife being stocked as if it were a free range larder of meat ready for the chopping and the packing.
A wandering deer, lost in between two forests that are now as small as country home back yards, rips its hide over a thorny hedge; its hooves scrape across a road, narrowly avoiding a passing car, headlights reflecting in the animals uncomprehending stare.
The white frame of my window gets whiter and the cold hillside opposite darker, under the shadow of a now smoke filled sky. I close the curtains and turn the light on, picking up the book once again, the continuous mad cries of the birds effecting my concentration; I fear they could crash into my room at any moment.