“Yeah, I used to read your blog. But there are so many of them.” I’m sitting with my nephew in a pub. I chose it. Sam Smith’s. Cheap.

He’s bought the round anyway. My card got declined. I first met Sasha something over fifteen years ago when he was far too young to be playing Grand Theft Auto in my bedroom but he’d sneak in and do it anyway when I was out. Adopted nephew if you’re being technical. But nephew. Although now, after a Science degree at Oxford, he’s working in money. He tries to tell me about his work. It’s predicting schlumflam blurmers with the hurmburm flism. He’s glad of the weekend. I tell him I frequently don’t notice when it’s a weekend. I just work when I’m working and not when I’m not.

Today I was pretending to be a mini-golf pro in Clerkenwell once again. Only a couple of hours work, and then seeing friends and family. There was a hailstorm just before I started, and another one just as I finished. Miraculously for the two hours I was exposed with nowhere to hide it held off. I packed up in a rush as the clouds got ready to open and made it to within two minutes of the pub before the Gods dumped ice on me.

Sasha and I grabbed Mexican food and beer and I burnt my lip on a jalapeno popper. It’s been way too long since I’ve seen my nephew though. Great to catch up. It’s funny to experience that – people you first met when they were children buying the round when your card gets declined, which of course mine did. Dammit.

Then a rush across town to catch one of my dearest old friends. She had to go to the theatre for work and I arranged to catch her before. She’s teaching at one of the old drama schools and the kids all have to watch a particular show at the Trafalgar Studios for £30 cheapest ticket restricted view. “Do you want to come with me?” “Not for £30.” “I don’t blame you.” We spend a bit of time buying a sticker book and catching up. It’s been ages. Her presence is like a tonic.

Then it’s back home to bleach ceramics. I’ve left an experimental broken bust overnight in a bucket of Domestos. My fingers stink of chlorine, and feel very dry. I’ve bought some rubber gloves now, but I’m feeling pretty weird after a few hours of inhaling the stuff while trying to get smoke out of these figurines and busts. On the plus side it seems mould spray with chlorine and bleach can get pretty nasty smokemess out of some ceramics, but not all. It’s a lottery as to whether the smoke got cooked in under the glaze. All this stuff was in such a fire and much of it got to a very high temperature.


Time and application lets me restore some of the beauty, and just now I had a message on my eBay – “Thank you so much! The ceramic ballet shoes are just like the ones my grandmother had. I missed them.”

I’ll know more tomorrow morning about what can be saved out of the really fucked stuff, and about whether or not bleaching busts mean that they forever stink of chlorine like I think my fingers might. Right now I’m fading towards bed, with Pickle asleep on my leg.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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