Nuts in May

TS Eliot was right. April was the cruelest month this year. It did something to time, from my angle. I could do a million things and then look at the clock and just an hour had passed. Somehow while everybody was shut in hard and unknowing, quantum made us all feel like it was going on for lifetimes. We have all aged. Have we grown wiser?

Now it’s May and the air is lighter, and time is suddenly shooting by. I bought 4 packets of mussels that expire tomorrow. I’m not sure I’m capable of eating them all in a day, but a moment over the expiry date is too long as far as mussels are concerned. How the hell was it the 16th so quickly dammit? That was forever away. I’m eating too little. But I always forget to eat.

Eating them late will probably help me slow time down again I guess. Some of the longest nights of my life were given to me by bad shellfish. I still go back to them, like you go back to an abusive partner. “Yes I thought I was going to die on the stone floor of that convent in Carrion de los Condos after clam spaghetti, but it was so very very tasty…”

Thinking about it I’m going against my own island boy rules by even buying shellfish when there isn’t an “r” in the month. Watch this space. I’ll either have a one man dodgy-mussel party tomorrow and see what happens, or I’ll quietly guiltily dispose of them and say no more about it. I hate the waste. But I doubt there are many homes where the kid is shouting “mummy why can’t we have some mussels!”

I crossed the Albert Bridge this evening at sunset. I went to the park tonight at along with everybody else in two boroughs.


Sat on a hill near to where we all sat for my birthday maybe two years ago. As the sun went down a little urban squirrel came close to hoover up some dropped nuts. A small and agile grey, with a shredded tail and what looked like long-healed claw marks in his side. Still brave and cheeky despite the wounds he carries so visibly. He watched me as he ate, but didn’t flinch when I shifted my weight. Experience has taught him he can be faster than something like me.

We have all taken a hit. Now it’s about how we recalibrate ourselves as time finds an equilibrium again. How are we going to move forward now if we feel that this thing has taken a chunk out of us?

I’ll take a hint from that squirrel. When the time comes I’ll be out looking for nuts… But May is rushing through to June. Wilderness Festival is finally officially cancelled today. That would have been ten consecutive years of my life doing lovely things in an August field in Oxford. Let The Light In was cancelled a while ago. I would have been leading some interesting sessions about science and philosophy via oranges alongside some Dutch artist collaborators I’ve picked up over the years. We thought about transferring the work to zoom, but even that’s unlikely now. Is summer cancelled? I’d best to gather some nuts now rather than wait for the right time…

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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